The Best Way to Clean Sliding Door Tracks (Including Those Hard-to-Reach Spots!)

published May 21, 2024
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Sliding glass door detail and rail embed in floor
Credit: Shutterstock/CapturePB

If you’re like me, the track on your sliding glass doors presents a frustrating challenge come cleaning day. These tracks are often filled with plenty of little hiding places where dirt (and odors) can build up over time, creating a hot spot for pet hair and debris.

Getting that area clean can be tricky, which is why we asked Ken Fisk, director of technical services for Window Genie, a Neighborly company, for tips on how to clear out this oft-forgotten spot in your home.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Soft bristle brush
  • A vacuum cleaner with a handheld attachment
  • Warm water and dish soap solution in a spray bottle
  • Microfiber towel
  • Q-tip or old toothbrush 
  • WD-40 or lithium grease (optional)

How to clean your sliding door tracks

Fortunately, this task isn’t going to take up your whole afternoon — depending on the size of the mess you may only need an extra 30 minutes to get your door track clean — so you should be able to knock this chore off your list fairly quickly. 

Step 1: Loosen up debris

Depending on where you live, your slider track can end up full of sand, mud, and even leaves that naturally work their way in from outside. If you’re not cleaning them out regularly, they can create a stubborn layer of grime that will need to be loosened and removed before you can clean. 

Fisk suggests using a soft-bristled brush to loosen up anything that may have built up over time in the track (like dirt from outside, grime, and pet hair). You can use a vacuum with a handheld attachment to suck up everything you stirred up which will make things less messy when you start to clean. 

Step 2: Use this cleaning solution to make it sparkle

Even if you’re only dealing with a light mess you’ll still want to hit your slider track with a cleaner to fight odors and mold or mildew. Fisk suggests mixing warm water and dish soap into a spray bottle (if you’re using an 8-ounce spray bottle you can get away with just a teaspoon of soap). Shake the bottle and then spray down the door track. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before using a clean microfiber towel to wipe up the excess liquid and any dirt left behind. You can repeat this as many times as you need to.

Step 3: Get those hard-to-reach spots

Door tracks are full of nooks and crannies, which can make cleaning them a bit of a challenge. Fisk suggests using a Q-tip or old toothbrush to get into the tighter spaces where you may not be able to easily get with your towel. You may need to use some elbow grease and finesse to get into tighter spots or break up bigger messes but you should be able to reach them with these common household items.

Step 4: Clean the outside track

A lot of what ends up on the inside of your slider track is brought there from outside, which is why Fisk says it’s so important to make sure that the outer track gets a good once over as well. “Keeping the outside of the track clean will help keep the interior part of the track cleaner,” Fisk explains. He says that you can add WD-40 or lithium grease to your track to help keep your door clean and in good working order. 

“Depending on where you live and how much dirt and debris build up will determine how often you should clean the tracks,” he says, recommending that you should clean it at least twice a year, minimum.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This is the Best Way to Clean Sliding Door Tracks — Including Those Hard-to-Reach Spots!