Do you have a hole in the plastic wall liner of your fridge, and you want to know how to fix it? Luckily, there are many ways you can do this, so worry no more! We've got the answers below.
If the hole is big enough that the liner can no longer support the shelves of your refrigerator, bring your refrigerator to a professional to fix it.
If the hole is not too bad, and the plastic liner can still support the shelves, you can repair it with silicone adhesive, fiberglass cloth, and sealant.
Learn about the complete steps in the succeeding sections. We also added steps to fix a hole in the outside wall of a refrigerator. With that said, let's dive right in!
Assessing The Damage To Your Refrigerator's Inside Liner
Modern refrigerators have plastic liners that have ridges to support shelves. These liners are often polystyrene and naturally quite resilient to everyday wear and tear.
Plastic is an ideal liner because it can protect the insulation from spills, oils, and debris. You can more easily clean plastic, and it will not readily discolor.
Another advantage of using plastic for the inside liner of a refrigerator is its recyclability.
However, too much weight on the shelves will stress the liner and cause it to crack. Installation defects from the factory can also cause a liner's weakness, making it vulnerable to too much weight.
Sudden temperature changes when defrosting can cause the plastic liner to expand or contract suddenly.
This sudden expansion or contraction can cause surface cracks that become weak points. A liner with these cracks can suddenly break or crack under excess weight.
Harsh chemical cleaners can cause a chemical reaction with the plastic of the liner, making it weaker structurally. This can also cause it to crack under heavy loads.
A combination of the different causes above can also lead to cracks in the inside plastic liner of your refrigerator.
How A Damaged Liner Can Affect Your Refrigerator's Performance
Fortunately, these cracks start small and do not immediately lead to performance degradation of your refrigerator. However, this doesn't mean that you should leave it alone. Over time, the damage can get worse.
One of the plastic liner's jobs is to protect the insulation underneath. A liner hole can grow enough to compromise the insulation under it.
So, it's best to fix the crack while it is still tiny than wait for it to get bigger and cause damage to the insulation.
How Do You Fix A Hole In The Plastic Liner Of A Refrigerator Wall?
Prepare The Refrigerator
- Turn off your refrigerator and unplug it.
- Remove all the contents of your refrigerator.
- Wrap all the food that needs to stay cold in a thick layer of paper. Paper is an effective insulator that will prevent warm air from the environment from getting to the food.
- Keep the wrapped food together. Being close together will help them to retain their temperature longer.
- Place the wrapped food in a cooler or a cooler bag. Any insulated container will do if you do not have a cooler or a cooler bag.
- Remove any shelves to make it easier for you to repair the liner.
- Check if you can remove the plastic liner. Look for screws that keep the plastic liner in place and remove them.
Clean The Plastic Liner
- Place four teaspoons of mild liquid dishwashing soap in a shallow basin.
- Add 16 ounces of hot water. The hot water will help you eliminate the grease in the plastic liner.
- Prepare another basin of clean water.
- Get a clean sponge and dip it in the solution.
- Scrub the area with a soapy sponge.
- Dip a clean piece of cotton cloth into the basin of clean water and wipe the soap off the liner. Keep repeating this to remove all the soap.
- Use a clean old toothbrush to scrub any stubborn dirt from the area. Dip the old toothbrush in the warm soap solution and wash it on the area.
- Use a dry towel to dry the area after rinsing it thoroughly.
Prepare The Hole
Some refrigerator manufacturers sell brand-specific liner repair kits. The contents of the kit differ from one manufacturer to another.
Typically, the kit will contain the patch and adhesive best for use with the kind of plastic liner the manufacturer uses in its refrigerators.
Check out your local or online hardware store for repair kits made for your refrigerator brand.
If you can't find any kits or prefer to DIY the repair, follow the steps below.
You can also use these steps to repair the damage using a manufacturer's repair kit:
- Grab a pair of gloves before starting.
- Check if the crack or hole made an uneven surface in the liner. If the surface is rough, push the higher side of the damage to make it level. Do not force the liner too much if you cannot make the crack even. Too much force might lead to an even bigger crack.
- Cut a strip of fiberglass cloth with sharp scissors. The strip should be large enough to cover the hole with at least half an inch extending from any point of the hole or crack. It is better to have a slightly bigger strip than one too small.
- Get 100-grit sandpaper and gently scuff the area surrounding the crack. Do not push too hard when you grate the area to prevent making the crack longer. Scuff the area that is enough to cover your fiberglass patch. If you cannot even out the crack earlier, you can use sandpaper to sand off any uneven liner. It is vital to have an even layer so that the patch will have better adhesion.
Patch The Hole
- Pick a silicone adhesive that can work under very cold conditions. It is also important that the bond is safe for food contact. An adhesive that is safe for food contact contains minimal VOC. VOC concentrations are always higher in enclosed areas. Since you will keep your refrigerator door closed and lock the adhesive inside, you don't want an adhesive that will fill your refrigerator with VOC and contaminate your food.
- Apply an even layer of the adhesive on the surrounding surface of the crack. The adhesive area should cover where you will apply the fiberglass patch.
- Place the fiberglass cloth over the crack and press it with steady pressure. Spread the fiberglass strip evenly on the surface of the hole. Use a plastic applicator to smoothen any wrinkles in the patch.
- Let the patch dry and cure.
- Use 100-grit sandpaper to smoothen the surrounding surface of the patch if any uneven adhesive is left.
- Clean off any sanding dust with a clean damp rug.
- Take a small amount of the silicone adhesive and apply a thin layer over the patch and the surrounding area.
- Let the adhesive cure.
- Reinstall the shelves and put back the food that you took out.
See this silicone RTV 4500 on Amazon here.
How Do You Repair Rust Holes On A Refrigerator?
Some of the holes you might have on your refrigerator aren't inside but on the outside. Peeling paint will eventually rust over time and will eventually spread.
You will often see these rust holes on your refrigerator door, although they can also form on the side walls.
To fix these holes, all you need is some automotive putty, sandpaper, spray paint, and the simple instructions below:
- If you're working on the door, follow the first two steps of the section "Preparing The Refrigerator For The Repair" above. If not, you can proceed to Step 4 below.
- Remove the shelves on your refrigerator door and set them aside.
- Remove the refrigerator door and set it on a stable surface.
- Sand the rust off using 100-grit sandpaper. If you have thicker rust, use lower grit sandpaper first.
- Use 150-grit sandpaper to sand the surrounding paint.
- Clean the sanding dust with a mild cleanser and warm water. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution. Let it dry for a few minutes.
- Apply an even layer of automotive body putty on the holes using a plastic spatula. Place a wire mesh over larger holes before applying the putty.
- Let the putty dry and harden, then sand with 120-grit sandpaper.
- Clean with a mild cleanser and warm water. Let dry.
- Apply rustproof primer. Let dry.
- Paint with the same color or a different color.
To Finish Up
Repairing a hole in your refrigerator door can be done with a manufacturer-made liner patching kit. Otherwise, you can patch it with a DIY solution.
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