How to Clean Sliding Glass Doors So They Sparkle

On a sliding scale, this cleaning chore is a cinch

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated June 27, 2022
A mother and child stand in front of a sliding glass door
Photo: SDI Productions/E+/Getty Images


Saturday skill builder.

Time to complete

3 hours



You might need a few supplies.

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What you'll need:


  • Large blanket
  • Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment
  • Screwdriver
  • Toothbrush
  • Terry cloth towel
  • Rags
  • Clean cloths
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Sponge
  • Squeegee
  • Bucket
  • Scouring pad


  • Acetone or nail polish remover
  • Lubricating grease
  • Paper towels
  • Mild dish soap
  • Water
  • Window washing solution

Sliding glass doors are a gorgeous addition to any room. But they can turn into an eyesore when they start to get dirty from fingerprints, dust, and day-to-day buildup. Here's how to thoroughly clean your sliding glass doors—the glass, tracks, and hardware.

Prepping to Clean Your Sliding Glass Doors

There are three essential parts to cleaning your sliding glass doors:

  • Cleaning the track and rails

  • Cleaning the doors

  • Cleaning the hardware and door frame

We've broken each part down into steps so you can easily get your doors sparkling in no time.

  1. Remove the Door

    Removing your sliding glass door is not a task for one person, so make sure you have someone who can help you lift the door out. Get all your furniture out of the way and lay down a large blanket. 

    Your door may simply lift out, or you may have to use a screwdriver to loosen the screws on the bottom and lift it off the track. You and your partner should stand across from each other and pull the door inwards after lifting it out. Once you've safely detached the door, place it down on your blanket.

  2. Vacuum the Track

    Using your vacuum's hose attachment, thoroughly vacuum the track area. If you have a brush attachment available, you can use that to scrape out some of the loose dirt and dust. Then continue vacuuming up the side and on the top of the track. Starting the cleaning process with vacuuming will remove a good chunk of the dirt and leave less work for you to do in the following steps.

  3. Clean Out the Grime

    With regular use, grime and grease formed by oil buildup on your door tracks and rails are inevitable. To get everything sparkling clean, dip your toothbrush in acetone or an acetone nail polish remover and use the brush to scrub the tracks and rails. You'll likely never get these areas completely clean, but each cleaning should get more manageable if you regularly go over them.

  4. Wipe

    Once you've finished brushing the tracks and rails, wipe everything down with a terry cloth towel to remove any leftover residue. Don't forget to work along the sides and the top to ensure you get all the grime that could cause the door to malfunction later.

  5. Grease the Tracks

    When you're confident that you've wiped away all the dirt, take a small amount of lubricating solution and spray it along the rails. A little bit goes a long way, so don't go crazy; you can always add more later if the door is sticking.

  6. Replace the Door

    You'll want to put the door back in place before you clean the glass; otherwise, you risk getting fingerprints on it and having to clean it again. 

    Gently lift the door and fit it back into the track with your partner's assistance. You'll probably have to push it up into the top part first, then set it down so the rollers fall on either side of the track. If you used a screwdriver to loosen screws, don't forget to re-tighten those. Slide the door back and forth a few times to distribute the lubricating fluid you sprayed on, and add more if the door is sticking.

  7. Clean the Glass

    A man wipes a sliding glass door
    Photo: Serenethos/iStock/Getty Images

    Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with water in your bucket. Dip your clean rag in the soapy water and wet the glass on your door, both inside and out. Wait a few minutes for the soap to dissolve any stuck-on dirt, then wipe off the soapy water from the top of the door to the bottom with either a clean cloth or paper towels.

  8. Polish the Glass

    Either spray or apply your window washing solution all over the door’s interior glass surface. If you don't spray the solution, apply it using a sponge or non-abrasive microfiber cloth. Once you've coated the surface thoroughly, use your squeegee to remove the solution. Don't leave it on too long, or it will dry and cause streaks. 

    Repeat on the exterior of the door. If there are problem spots that won't come off, resist the urge to scrub at them because you could damage the glass. Instead, repeat this process until the stubborn areas come off.

  9. Scrub the Frame

    Sliding glass door frames often get neglected, so they're a breeding ground for dirt and germs. With a damp cloth, go over the door frame and bottom of the door. If there are areas where dirt is stuck, use a scouring pad or sponge to scrub until the dirt comes off. Then wipe down the frame with a damp cloth.

  10. Clean the Hardware and Dry Off

    Using a rag and soapy water, clean the hardware and door handles inside and outside. To finish, take a clean, dry cloth and wipe off any wet spots on the hardware or frame, being careful not to smudge the glass as you go.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional to Clean Sliding Glass Doors

Cleaning your sliding glass doors is a task you can easily DIY. However, if you’re uncomfortable lifting your doors out or don’t have time, the cost to hire a window cleaner averages around $215.

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