How to replace the door gasket
Photo 1: Take off the old gasket
Remove the old refrigerator door gasket by grabbing the inside flange of the gasket and pulling it back to reveal the metal gasket retainer. Using a properly sized hex head nut driver, loosen—but don’t remove—the retainer screws around the perimeter of the door and pull the old gasket off.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
Photo 2: Install the new gasket
Install the new gasket. Starting at one of the top corners, work the gasket lip behind the metal retainer, then continue around the entire perimeter of the door. Use the hex nut driver to “snug up” but not fully tighten the gasket retainer screws. Close the door and check whether it has warped during the repair. If necessary, straighten it by gripping both the top and the bottom. Push and pull the door, then close it and recheck for proper alignment. Repeat as necessary, then finish tightening the retainer screws.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
Photo 3: Rub petroleum jelly on the gasket
Prevent gasket drag by lubricating the hinge side of the door gasket with a thin film of petroleum jelly.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
Each door of your refrigerator has a molded rubber gasket to keep the cold in and the heat out. When this gasket gets old and brittle, it leaks. If your refrigerator is running more frequently and you suspect it’s losing cold air, conduct these simple tests.
First, inspect the door gasket. Is there condensation or even blackish mold anywhere around it? If so, leaking cold air is probably causing warmer kitchen air to condense. Next, close the refrigerator door on a dollar bill. Pull the bill out slowly. If there is a slight drag on the bill, your door gasket is OK. If the bill slips out easily and moisture and/or mold are present, it’s time to invest about $50 to $75 (depending on the appliance brand and door size) and 30 minutes to replace the door gasket.
Find the refrigerator make, model and other identification information in the owner’s manual. If you don’t have a manual, look on the inside edge of the refrigerator door or inside either compartment, near the door, for the manufacturer’s identification plate. Search online or check the yellow pages under “Appliances, Major, Parts” for stores or manufacturer service centers that stock your door gasket. You may also be able to find a parts source by visiting your manufacturer’s Web site.
While you’re removing the old door gasket, lay the new one in warm water for a few minutes to make it easier to install. Some gaskets (like ours) are held in place by a metal retainer attached around the door perimeter. Lift the inside edge of the old gasket to reveal the screws locking the gasket into the retainer, then loosen them (Photo 1).
Remove the old gasket from the retainer. Starting at one of the top door corners and working out to each side, slip the lip of the new gasket behind the retainer (Photo 2). The gasket fits only the one correct way. Complete the gasket installation and “snug up” but don’t fully tighten the retainer screws.
Study the position of the door relative to the other door and the refrigerator cabinet. If either the refrigerator or freezer door is sagging or too high, loosen its hinges and align it. Finally, reduce gasket drag by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly only along the hinge side of the gasket (Photo 3).
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Allen wrench
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- New gasket
- petroleum jelly