Sliding glass doors provide light, air, and access to your deck. If they slide easily. In many cases, sliding doors are difficult to open because of lack of maintenance–specifically lubrication. Here is a list of 6 of the best patio door lubricants available. Most will work on all types of sliding doors–vinyl framed, aluminum framed, wood framed, and hybrid combinations of 3 or more materials.
Before Lubricating Sliding Glass Doors
Although virtually every sliding glass door I have seen could use lubrication, there are a few other things to consider before blaming all of the noise and struggle on a lack of lube.
- Rollers. Almost all sliding glass doors run on rollers that can be adjusted individually. If you are not checking the roller adjustment regularly, they should be looked at as soon as the door gets harder to move. Vibration of the door can cause rollers to wind down making the door drag on the track. Doors can come off the track when lifted or shaken. This can damage both the tracks and rollers. Some rollers are plastic and can break.
- Track. Scratched, dented, or damaged track makes opening and closing the sliding glass door much more difficult and noisy.
- Installation. Proper sliding glass door installation starts with a level sill. Off-level sills, or sills with a hump in the middle will not work properly, and will wear out sooner.
Personal Observation: Many people never lubricate, clean, or adjust their sliding glass doors, any other doors, or their windows. The venting panel of even a small 5′ wide dual glazed sliding glass door weighs around 100 lbs. The rollers and tracks take a fair beating and need attention more often than every 10 years when something quits working.
6 Lubricants for Sliding Glass Doors
All of these lubricants will make your glass doors slide better, easier, and quieter. A clean, well lubricated, and well adjusted patio door should operate smoothly without needing two hands and a foot braced against the wall to move it.
1) 3M 08897 Silicone Lubricant (Dry Type)
3M 08897 Silicone Lubricant (Dry Type) will do everything to eliminate squeaky, sticking sliding glass doors. It sprays on wet because of the accelerant, which quickly evaporates leaving a slick film of dry silicone on any surface you use it on. Although the aerosol has an odor when it is wet, the end product is odorless. It will not stain anything and leaves no residue.
This spray is easy to use–either with or without the included precision spraying straw. Any overspray on glass or walls can just be wiped off. Make sure you do not get it on the floor. or leave it on the floor. It will make laminate, tile, or linoleum as slick as goose poop.
Dry silicone lube is excellent for almost anything that requires lubrication including sliding doors and windows, drawers, hinges, locks, sticking wood swing doors, automotive applications, and more. It is also a great lubricant for sliding door weatherstrip–mohair, rubber, vinyl, or compression. Contains no petroleum to stain fabrics.
This is a weather hardy formulation that will do its job at temperatures between -28 degrees F and 350 degrees F.
Note: I admit to a certain amount of prejudice. I have been using dry silicone lubricant on windows and doors and many other sticky squeaky things for years. In my opinion, it is the best all purpose lubricant available.
- Best all purpose lubricant available
- Eliminates squeaking and sticking
- Wide spray or pin point straw
- No stains
- No residue
- Lubricates almost anything including wood, metal, PVC vinyl
- Will not damage rubber, vinyl, or mohair weatherstrip
The Not so Good
- Some people have trouble using the straw and some lose it
2) CRC 5037 White Lithium Grease
CRC 5037 White Lithium Grease was developed for the automotive industry. When the manufacturer found a way to put it into a spray can, it became a go-to product around the home. It is used for hinges, garage doors, latches, and many other squeaky sticky applications including sliding glass door tracks, frames, rollers, and sashes. This grease works extremely well in all types of temperatures and weather conditions and provides high performance water resistance.
Because it is a grease that does not dry, the best way to use it on a door is to spray it on thin, then wipe it down to barely a film. Although it works on almost any surface including wood and vinyl, it is particularly effective on metals and aluminum.
- Excellent grease lubricant
- Easy application from spray can
- Works in wide temperature range
- High performance water resistance
- Very effective on metals
- USA company based in Pennsylvania
The Not so Good
- Remains wet and could transfer to hands and clothing
3) AGS DEK3H Dry Stick Lubricant
AGS DEK3H Dry Stick Lubricant is the original no mess stick lubricant. It is perfect for making sliding glass doors actually slide again. Eliminates squeaking and sticking on multiple types of surfaces such as wood, metal, vinyl, plastic or rubber. It can be used on sliding door and window frames, zippers, latches, sticking wood swing door frames, drawers, and many other noisy and sticky surfaces.
Clean and convenient, it is also weatherproof to protect sliding doors and windows from the elements. It is just like using a crayon and the manufacturer says it is impossible to over-apply. Because it is white, it blends in perfectly with white vinyl doors.
- Quick and easy application
- No mess
- Eliminates sticking and squeaking
- Use on wood, PVC vinyl, metal, and most other surfaces
- USA company since 1931
The Not so Good
- Cannot be applied to sliding door rollers unless door sash is removed
4) B’laster 16 TDL Advanced Dry Lube with Teflon
B’laster 16 TDL Advanced Dry Lube with Teflon reduces friction and wear, enhances sliding glass door performance, and protects surfaces. It goes on wet and when the accelerant dries, it leaves a clear clean coating on the door frames, sash, and track. Great product for aluminum, PVC vinyl, and wood. It is also safe for rubber, plastic or vinyl, and mohair weatherstrip.
The Teflon Fluoropolymer helps the product bond with whatever surface it comes in contact with to provide a longer lasting friction free coating. This product works very well on almost anything that requires lubrication such as tools, throttle cables, hinges, locks, rubber seals, gaskets, and more. The quick drying formula ensures that dust and dirt will not adhere to the surface.
- Quick dry formula to prevent dust and dirt accumulation
- Reduces friction and wear
- Works well on aluminum, wood, and vinyl
- Will not stain
- Teflon formula helps bond to all surfaces for longer lasting lubrication
- USA based company
The Not so Good
5) 3-in-1 RVcare Window and Track Dry Lube
3-in-1 RVcare Window and Track Dry Lube sprays on wet because of the accelerant and dries quickly, leaving a film of silicone lubricant to reduce friction. It will not attract dirt and dust and provides long-lasting corrosion protection. Safe to use on almost all types of material including aluminum, wood, plastic, and vinyl. (Not for use on clear polycarbonate or polystyrene.)
Although manufactured for RV windows and doors, it is an excellent product for sliding glass doors and windows in your house. Keeps all sliding doors and windows operating smoothly and virtually friction-free. The can is equipped with a permanent flip up smart straw for precision spraying.
It protects sliding glass door frames from moisture, extends the life of windows and doors, and reduces maintenance.
- Dry silicone lube leaves permanent slick film
- Wide spray or precision straw spray options
- Safe on almost all surfaces
- Will not stain
- Resists moisture
The Not so Good
6) Danco 888693 Silicone Faucet Grease
Danco 888693 Silicone Faucet Grease is not only for plumbing fixture repairs. It has many other applications such as sliding patio doors, door hinges, and many other household items needing silicone lubrication. One of the biggest advantages of using this silicone grease is that it is odorless, making it the perfect option for someone wanting silicone lube without the accelerant odor.
It retains its consistency in temperatures from -40 degrees F to 400 degrees F. Danco Faucet Grease is NSF 61 approved–meaning it is safe for drinking water. There is no chemical contamination, making it safe if children and/or pets happen to lick it. (Click on NSF 61 for more information.) Odorless and colorless.
This grease can be rubbed onto all parts of a clean sliding glass door by hand, with a clean cloth or even a Q-tip for hard to reach areas. A very little goes a long way. Just a thin layer will make your door sun smoothly and quietly.
- Odorless and colorless
- NSF 61 approved as safe if ingested
- Continues to work in all temperatures between -40 degrees F and 400 degrees F
- Easy to apply
- USA company headquartered in Texas
The Not so Good
- Can be a little messy to apply
Buying Guide for Sliding Door Lubricants
Types of Sliding Door Lubricant
- Silicone Based. Dry silicone based lubricant is by far the most popular sliding door lubricant. It will not stain. It is quick and easy to apply. It can be used on virtually any surface. Including vinyl, metal, and wood door frames and sashes. It will not damage mohair, vinyl covered, or rubber weatherstrip. It is also safe for use on all of the hardware components of the door including locks and rollers. (Note: The accelerant used to spray dry silicone is wet and often has a strong odor. It evaporates quickly, leaving the silicone on whatever surface it was applied to.
- Petroleum Based. Petroleum based lubricants are generally thicker, and slower (or never) drying products. Although they are very effective at making the door slide better, they also attract more dust and dirt.
- Wax Based. Wax based lubricants are the least popular option. They are usually more difficult to apply, and can be messier if they do not dry quickly. Also, some of the less intelligent pets have been known to lick them which could add to the messiness.
Sliding Door Lube Temperature Range
Sliding glass doors are exposed to a wide temperature range–from 50 degrees below zero Fahrenheit to 150 degrees above zero Fahrenheit. (In direct sunlight.) Make sure that the lubrication you choose will not gum up or run off the door when temperatures get a little extreme.
Non-Toxic Sliding Door Lubricants
Most of the lubricants themselves are not very toxic. But the accelerant used to spray the lube out of the cans and onto the surface where it is needed can be a little toxic. Some of it is certainly vile smelling. The good news is that most of it evaporates quickly, so leaving the door and windows open while applying it can be beneficial. If in doubt, or if someone in your home is very sensitive to odors, download “Material Safety Sheets” about the product you intend to use.
The Danco Silicone Grease listed above is the perfect answer. Odorless and very slick, it can be applied to almost all areas with fingers, a cloth, or a Q-tip. A little messier, but no odor.
Sliding Glass Door Lubrication Tips
Just grabbing your can of silicone and lubricating the dust, fingerprints, and leaves on your door frame, sash, and track is not the most beneficial choice you can make.
Get the Best Out of Door Lubrication
Before lubricating the sliding glass door, make sure it is clean.
- Vacuum out the track
- Wash the track, sash, and frame including weatherstrip and seals with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution. This removes dirt, dust, oils, and oxidation. Rinse with clean water and let everything dry thoroughly. And for really tough to remove marks a little Goof Off should do the trick. Other cleaners like TSP will also do the trick. Vinegar is just less expensive.
- Spray every surface that interacts with another surface. Make sure you spray tracks, the entire frame, the entire sash, all of the weatherstrip, rollers, and latches. (Note: The rollers may be difficult to get at without a straw to attach to the lubricant can or lifting out the door. And not many people are too excited about lifting out a 150 lb. sliding door sash.)
- Don’t forget to lubricate the interlock (location where the sash meets the fixed panel when closed). Open the sash 2 or 3 inches and using the straw on the can, get behind the open panel and spray the fixed interlock. (You may want to use lubricant on your finger to rub the back side of the sash interlock.)
Note: If your sliding glass door has vinyl wrapped foam weather strip, do not use a wet type of lubricant. The weatherstrip will absorb the liquid and turn the foam hard. The accelerant used in dry silicone spray evaporates quickly enough that it will not be absorbed.
Sliding Glass Door Screen
Make sure you lubricate the screen rollers, track, and frame at the same time. Take time to adjust the rollers properly. Most patio door screens are the next thing to junk. I have spent more time, effort, and cussing on the screens than on the doors. Use lots of dry silicone spray.
There is no point making your sliding glass door work perfectly, and have to struggle with a stupid sliding screen.
A few questions people ask about sliding glass door lubrication.
1) Is WD-40 a good lubricant for sliding glass doors?
Some formulations like their dry silicone spray will work well. But not the original formula. WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, Formula 40. It is great to eliminate water from an area, but it tends to dry out and will make the door sticky.
2) What is the best lubricant for sliding glass doors?
Dry silicone spray. Period.
3) What do I do if lubrication does not work?
If lubrication does not make your sliding glass door work smoother, the next most likely problem will be a roller issue. They can be bent, broken, seized up, off the track, or in need of adjustment. Other than adjusting them with the adjustment screw, you will probably have to remove the door slab, and lay it down to get a look at them, then potentially order new rollers. Before starting on this program, make sure you are capable of removing the door. Otherwise it might be best to call a professional.