A Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning A Sliding Glass Door

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Sliding glass doors can breathe beauty, convenience, and efficiency into your home. But glass is also notorious for showing every bit of dust, smudges, and grime if it’s not cleaned and maintained properly. So, how do you clean a sliding glass door?

To clean a sliding glass door, start by carefully removing the door from its sliding tracks and blowing out debris from the track with a vacuum. Next, remove rust and dried grease, then clean the glass surface. Clean the door frame, handles, and threshold before putting the door back in place.

That’s the general idea, but always check the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions for specific tips regarding care for your sliding door. Now let’s take a closer look at the full process so that you can keep your door in tip-top shape.

Supplies You’ll Need

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Before you get started, you’ll need to gather the following supplies:

How to Clean a Sliding Glass Door

To clean your sliding glass door, start by making a DIY cleaning solution for removing smudges and grime. You’ll need to use the distilled white vinegar, distilled water, and essential oils. In order to apply the product more efficiently, be sure to grab a clean spray bottle.

Here’s how to mix the ingredients in the right proportions to make this DIY cleaner:

  1. Mix a cup of distilled white vinegar with two cups of warm distilled water.
  2. Add 5 drops of your favorite essential oil to mask the sharp smell of vinegar.
  3. Put the solution in a clean, well-labeled spray bottle.
  4. Shake the bottle well to mix its contents and keep it in a safe place.

Now that your cleaning solution is ready, it’s time to start cleaning your glass door. Let’s look at how to do it in easy-to-follow steps. 

1. Remove the Sliding Glass Door From Its Tracks

Removing your sliding glass door from its tracks is super easy, but you’ll likely need a helping hand.

Carefully guide the rollers onto the metal tip of a flathead screwdriver or putty knife and lift them off the sliding track. Let another person gently pull the door upwards and outwards to remove it.

2. Use a Vacuum to Clean and Remove Debris From the Tracks

It’s easy to neglect the tracks of your sliding glass door during cleaning, but they tend to collect the most dirt and grime. Here’s how to give them a thorough cleaning:

  1. Use a vacuum to blow out dust, sand, gravel, bits of leaves, and other debris from the tracks.
  2. Check for any signs of rust and scrub it off with steel wool and acetone.
  3. Wipe the tracks with a tack cloth to remove metal particles.
  4. Dip a toothbrush in acetone and use it to rub off the dried lubricant from the tracks.
  5. Wipe the tracks again with a tack cloth to remove the grime and dried grease.
  6. Grease the tracks and carefully glide the door several times to spread lubricant along the wheels and track.

Clean the Glass Surface

Once you’ve cleaned the sliding track, it’s time to deal with the actual glass pane. This part may get messy, so if you live in a condo or an apartment building, it’s good practice to lay some old rugs below the glass. After all, you don’t want stuff dripping into your neighbors’ spaces.

Follow these steps:

  1. Add a reasonable amount of dishwashing liquid into a small bucket of warm water and mix.
  2. Soak a clean microfiber cloth in the soapy water and use it to wet the glass.
  3. Let the glass sit for 10-15 minutes to loosen stubborn dirt.
  4. Wipe the glass clean from top to bottom.
  5. Spray the DIY cleaning solution you made onto a clean microfiber cloth.
  6. Wipe both sides of the glass in a top-to-bottom fashion.
  7. Wipe off the solution immediately to prevent blotchy spots and streaks.

If you notice stuck-on debris, sprinkle the affected areas with baking soda and spray with a vinegar solution. Let the paste sit for 30 minutes, then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth soaked in hot (not boiling) water. 

Rinse off the paste and dry with a clean microfiber cloth. Don’t use a scraping tool to dislodge the debris.

Since you don’t want blotchy spots and streaks on your sliding glass door, follow these tips to avoid them:

Clean From Top to Bottom

Experts recommend you clean your sliding glass doors from top to bottom in order to avoid streaks. Remember, the cleaning solution can drip, and it often leaves noticeable streaks if you don’t wipe it off immediately.

However, if you wipe from top to bottom, it will more likely drip down to areas you’ve not cleaned rather than going sideways.

Use a Squeegee

Cute housewife cleaning the windows

The first wipe may not always rinse off the cleaning solution, even if you use a microfiber cloth. And even if you re-wipe certain areas of the glass door, it’s no guarantee you’ll get rid of streaks.

But a squeegee is as effective on your sliding glass door as the wipers on your car windshield. You’ll be surprised at how effortless it is to rinse the glass without leaving streaks. Just be sure to get one with a long-enough handle.

Wipe With a Microfiber Cloth

Microfiber cloths are ideal for cleaning glass surfaces because they won’t leave behind any lint. They’re also absorbent enough and will get your glass door sparkling and shiny like the day you bought it.

If you have old t-shirts that won’t have lint residue, feel free to use them as well. 

Clean the Hardware

The door frame and handles get heavy usage, making them more prone to dust, smudges, and smears. That said, you don’t want to neglect them while cleaning.

Follow these tips:

  1. Wipe the frame around the glass and the edge of the sliding panel with a damp tack cloth.
  2. Use a damp scouring pad to clean the bottom of the door frame and threshold. They’re more likely to be ingrained with dust and grime due to heavy traffic.
  3. Rinse the tack cloth and use it to wipe off dust at the top of the frame.
  4. Wipe down the entire frame with a clean, damp microfiber cloth.
  5. Soak the microfiber cloth in warm soapy water to clean difficult spots, including stains on the door handle.
  6. Spray the handles with rubbing alcohol to disinfect them and dry them with a lint-free cloth.

Reassemble Your Door

Once you’ve cleaned the tracks, glass, and other hardware, it’s time to reassemble your door. This is also an excellent time to fix broken or worn-out parts to keep your door in good working condition. 

Follow these steps to reassemble the door:

  1. Apply silicone-based lubricant to the sliding track to ensure things move smoothly.
  2. Carefully guide the sliding door onto its tracks and secure it in position.
  3. Put back additional accessories like bumpers if you removed them earlier.

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