How to Keep Your Sliding Door Track Clean and Opening Smoothly

Get back on track by making sure your door's tracks are clean and smooth

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated September 8, 2022
A man opening a sliding glass door leading to the patio
Photo: Olesia Bilkei / Adobe Stock


Simple project; big impact.

Time to complete

1 hour

Including drying time.


Up to $25

You might need a thing or two.

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What you'll need:


  • Sponge or rag
  • Small towel
  • Toothbrush
  • Spray bottle


  • Dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Silicone lubricant

Opening the sliding door to your back patio shouldn't incite an epic game of tug-of-war. Patio sliding doors get stuck for many reasons, but a dirty or debris-filled track is one of the most common culprits. But rest assured, a sticky sliding door track doesn't mean you need to repair or replace the door. Cleaning your patio door tracks may be all that's needed to run smoothly once again.

Prepping to Clean Sliding Door Tracks

If it's been a minute since you've cleaned your patio door track, take a moment to assess how dirty the area is. Basic cleaning with soap and water will do for just a bit of dirt and grime. For deeper cleans, you may use something more abrasive like baking soda and vinegar.

Either way, begin by sliding the door all the way open to one side and inspect the track for dents, loose screws, or misaligned wheels. Close your door and inspect the other side of the track for the same red flags. Also take note if you recently had leaks through your sliding doors or issues with the locking mechanisms. Each of these could be signs you need to perform a deeper clean or call your local door specialist.

  1. Vacuum Loose Debris

    Break out the handheld vacuum or the thin attachment for your regular vacuum. Begin by vacuuming up any loose debris in both the open section of the track and the area around the stationary side of your door. Be sure to vacuum on both sides of the stationary door since dirt, rocks, and stones can easily build up over time outdoors.

    "Vacuuming the track is the most efficient way to remove the larger loose debris before wiping down the track with your preferred solution," says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters, a family-owned and operated janitorial company in Williamsport, PA.

  2. Start With Soap and Water

    A woman’s hand cleaning the tracks using a microfiber cloth
    Photo: bonnontawat / Adobe Stock

    Wipe the inside and outside of your track with a sponge damp with water and dish soap. You can even score the inside of your sponge so it fits perfectly over the multiple tracks and into the small crevices. Remember to get into the track around the stationary side of the track as well. If your tracks are relatively clean, this may be all you need to do before skipping to step eight.

  3. Let It Dry

    Let the area dry thoroughly before adding more cleaning solution or jumping to the silicone lubricant. This is also a good time to determine if you need a deeper clean. While it’s drying, examine the door track to see if there are any spots you missed or stubborn areas of grime.

  4. Dust With Baking Soda

    If you spot any particularly dirty areas still lingering, no worries. You simply need to tackle those spots with a tougher cleaning solution. You can break up harder-to-reach grime with a coating of baking soda and vinegar solution. For this step, begin by sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda into the track on both sides of the door.

  5. Spray With Vinegar Solution

    Next, combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a clean spray bottle. Spray a light layer on the baking soda and let the reaction do its thing for about a minute. You’ll see some white fizzing action at the site where you sprayed. These bubbles will break up any stubborn grime hiding in the track and under the stationary door.

  6. Give It a Good Scrub

    A hand cleaning the door track with a brush
    Photo: jaojormami / Adobe Stock

    Now, use your sponge or a toothbrush to get into the small dirty spaces revealed by the baking soda and vinegar. If you get inspired, you can use the small toothbrush bristles for grime on the base of the door and the closing and locking mechanisms as well. Take your time with this step, as it’s easy to miss a few spots here and there. Be thorough with your scrubbing, and go over stubborn areas a few times.

  7. Rinse and Dry

    Now for the satisfying part—the rinse. Use clean cold water to rinse the track and door to remove the cleaning solution. Keep your door open to allow it to fully air dry. Use your towel to dry off the water, and clean up any wet areas around the door.

  8. Spray a Silicone Lubricant

    You'll find a range of brands that sell silicone lubricants specifically for sliding glass door tracks. Be sure to read the instructions on how to choose the best type for your door's material and structure. The bottle will also note how and when to apply the lubricant for safe use.

  9. Test the Door

    Close-up of a sliding glass door’s tracks
    Photo: pbombaert / Adobe Stock

    Slide the door back and forth over the newly cleaned door and note if it catches in a specific spot. The clean track should allow you to spot any larger issues getting in the way and may inspire you to clean your sliding glass doors while you're at it.

DIY Door Track Cleaning vs. Hiring a Pro

Door repairs cost between $40 and $120 an hour depending on the extent of the issue. In this case, a simple cleaning may not be worth the price of professional help unless you need other repairs. You can also call in a professional cleaner for deep-cleaning services, or for the door itself. Keep in mind that cleaning services cost between $30 and $50 an hour, and the company may charge a minimum fee for the visit.

The best way to clean a sliding door track is likely the DIY route. You have nearly all you need under the sink or in the pantry and it only takes about 30 minutes of elbow grease and another 30 minutes of dry time to get it done.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sliding doors shouldn't require a trip to the gym to open. Since the doors themselves are quite heavy, they can become stuck when:

  • The track is dirty

  • The track becomes dented

  • The door comes off its track

  • The door's rollers break or wear down

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