How to Fix A Closet Door That Always Falls Off Its Track

What to do when things go off the rails—literally

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated June 23, 2022
A view of a closet interior
Photo: New Africa/Adobe Stock


Saturday skill builder.

Time to complete

2 hours



You might need a thing or two

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What you'll need:


  • Hammer
  • Hand vacuum
  • Toothbrush or other small brush
  • Rubber mallet (optional)
  • Wrench (optional—for pocket doors)


  • A silicone lubricant, such as WD-40
  • Sandpaper
  • Solid wood strip

Sliding closet doors are wonderful space-savers, allowing you to throw open your closet door to see your shoe collection without requiring the additional floor space. 

However, the roller wheels of these closet doors can occasionally jump off the track, knocked out of place by anything from excess dirt to worn-down nails. Get your closet door rolling effortlessly again with this guide to fixing a closet door that’s jumped off its track.

Prepping to Fix an Off-Track Closet Door 

Before you start removing the hardware from your closet door and get it off its track, take a step back and assess the situation to troubleshoot the problem. Does one side of the closet door look higher than the other? You may need to tighten some screws to get the door back into its original place. If you’ve had new flooring installed, try raising the rollers so they don’t rub against the ground. While you’ll still need to remove the door and place it back on track, it’s important to understand the root cause of the problem so the door doesn’t come off track again.

In addition, if you are preparing to fix a pocket door, you will need to remove one or both of the wood panels that disguise the door’s track. This task is different from removing the guide, which we detail below; the panels are solely decorative but you’ll need to remove them to gain access to the roller wheels and other hardware. They can be removed by taking out the screws.

9 Steps to Fix a Closet Door That’s Off Its Track

  1. Check the Screws

    Inspect all the screws on your sliding door’s hardware to ensure none have come loose. Tighten as needed. If any of the screws look old or worse-for-wear, replace them.

  2. Raise the Rollers

    Have you recently had new flooring installed? Your closet door may have come off its tracks due to the friction of rubbing against the new flooring. 

    There are screws on the back of the door that adjust the height of the rollers; turn them to the right to raise the rollers so the door can move freely without scraping the floor. For pocket doors, you should use a wrench to tighten any nuts that have come loose, which are likely causing one side of the door to drop closer to the ground.

  3. Unscrew the Guide

    A man unscrews a closet door guide
    Photo: Serenethos/iStock/Getty Images

    The closet door’s hardware set up varies by type. Sliding bypass doors hang off rollers in the top jamb of the door’s frame, with a hinged guide on the floor that holds the door in its place. Pocket doors usually have guides where the door “folds” into the wall. Bifold doors, which create an accordion-fold look, typically have guides that pivot on pins. The pins are placed in both the top and the bottom of a door panel, with the guide located on the opposite top corner of the second panel. This guide sits on a track to stop this panel from swinging in or out. 

    Once you find the guide in your closet door, remove the screws in the guide, and then the guide itself so you can easily remove the door for further inspection and repair.

  4. Remove the Door

    Now that you’ve dismantled the hardware keeping the door in place, it’s time to remove the doors. Place a large blanket or rug on the floor nearby where the door can lay while you continue the repair. Lift the door off of its track by lifting it up at a 30-degree angle, raising the wheels out of the track with the bottom closest to you. Then, gingerly place it on the rug or blanket while you troubleshoot the situation.

  5. Check for Debris

    The solution for the off-track door could be as simple as a quick cleaning session. When dirt and debris is trapped in the closet track, it can build up and cause the door to become off-kilter, with stuck objects throwing it off its track. 

    Grab a toothbrush or other small brush and scrub out any caked-on grime, and then vacuum the area to clean it up. Finish by spraying the track with WD-40 or a silicone lubricant. It’s a good idea to repeat this task seasonally to prevent build-up.

  6. Inspect the Track

    With the door off the track, you can give it a once-over to see if there’s anything amiss. Look for any bends in the track which could be causing the door to slide uneasily and ultimately allow it to jump off the track. 

    If you notice a bend, place a piece of wood inside the track and use a mallet to tap the track back into alignment while standing on the piece of wood to keep it steady. If this doesn’t work because the bend is too extreme, consult a closet maker or installation professional; you may need ro replace the track entirely.

  7. Sand the Door

    Remove any tack nails on the bottom of the door with a hammer. Now you can use sandpaper to sand the bottom of the door, which should remove the tension between the door and the track that’s preventing it from moving properly. You can also attach a strip of wood to the bottom of the door to ensure that it’s level.

  8. Replace Damaged Roller Wheels

    The doors will stick in the track if your roller wheels have flat spots. Replace any roller wheels that appear damaged or worn down.

  9. Reattach the Door

    A view of an open closet door
    Photo: Mariakray/Adobe Stock

    The final step is to put the door back in as you took it out. For a bypass door, hold it at a 30-degree angle, with the bottom closest to you, and push the top roller into the top track. Straighten the door and then pull it down slightly to hook the door into the track. 

    Return all hardware to the guides to secure the door back into place. With a bifold door, you’ll need to place the door’s pivot pin into the top-right bracket, and then lift the door slightly to lower the bottom pin into its bracket.

DIY Fixing an Off-Track Closet Door vs. Hiring a Pro

You can likely fix off-kilter closet doors without any professional assistance, but if you have a very heavy door—made of solid wood or glass—it’s a good idea to call a local handyperson or a professional closet installation and design company. The weight of the door can make removing and replacing it too risky, so consult a local closet pro for expert assistance.

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