How To Lubricate A Freezer Drawer

Frequent usage of freezer drawers can cause them to stick and move less smoothly over time. The easiest solution to this is lubricating the drawer. If you aren't sure how to do so, you're in luck, because we did the research to bring you the answer.

To lubricate your drawers, you have to use FDA-approved food-grade lubricants to prevent food contamination and damage to the rails. The ones you can safely use are pure paraffin wax, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil. Here’s how you should lubricate the drawers.

  • Shut the freezer off and remove all the food items.
  • Defrost the freezer and wipe the moisture off the rails.
  • Use a needle oiler bottle for precisely applying the lubricant where needed.

Before you lubricate your freezer drawers, it is essential to determine the underlying issue. There can be a lot of reasons your drawers are sticky. In fact, you might not even need to lubricate the drawers. We have discussed the causes and their solutions in detail below. Without further ado, let's get into it!

A person searching food in the freezer drawer, How To Lubricate A Freezer Drawer

Why Is My Freezer Drawer Sticking?

There can be several reasons why this is happening—the most common being obstructions. Most of the time when freezer drawers start getting stuck when opening and closing, it’s because something is hindering the path. It can be frost or a food obstruction.

Another common problem is ice buildup under the drawer. It can make the drawers stuck, leaving it hard for you to open. There is also a chance that your drawer rails could be damaged, broken, or rusty. Let’s see how you can fix these issues.

A hand opening a drawer of a freezer with frozen foods

Food Obstruction

It is common for a food item to get stuck in the drawer slides. You can quickly get rid of typical food obstructions by gently moving the drawer out while jerking it from side to side. Then remove the drawer and clean the rails. Take out whatever was blocking the path.

Ice Buildup

A blocked defrost drain can cause ice buildup under the drawer. If the drawer is fully stuck and cannot open, unplug and defrost the freezer.

However, defrosting will only fix the sticking problem. You will have to take a screwdriver or a stiff wire and unclog the defrost drain manually. After defrosting, remove the drawer and try to clear the drain as much as you can. 

Another method that you can use to remove ice from the defrost drain is by adding hot water to the drain. You can use a syringe to squeeze warm water into the gutter.

Frost Obstruction

Accidentally leaving the freezer open for too long can cause frost obstructions. It happens because of the moisture sliding down the drawer rails and turning into frost when the freezer is closed. You can fix this by keeping your freezer unplugged for at least a whole day. 

After melting the ice, you can remove the drawers and wipe the rails clean to remove the moisture. You can also remove the water efficiently by using a fan to dry it off. To prevent this from happening more often in the future, make sure you don’t leave the door open for extended periods.

Damaged or Broken Rails

If the rails get damaged because of reckless handling or are faulty, you need to fix them. There is no easy fix for this. You should contact a professional to do the job for you, or, if you’re feeling confident, you should use the instruction manual as your guide.

Rusted Rails

If you have metal rails, they could get rusty because of high humidity. Even stainless steel can get rusty. It has a coating of chromium oxide which protects it from rust.

But once the coating is scratched off, it can catch rust, causing the drawers to stick while opening and closing. The best way to fix the rust on the rails or anywhere in the freezer is by using cleaning agents. 

It gets trickier because you would need to choose the proper cloth to wipe the rust off. Any soft, nonabrasive cloth would do the job perfectly.

You can use baking soda as your cleaning agent as well. Use one tablespoon of baking soda with nearly two cups of water. Use the cloth to rub the rusted area until the discoloration is no more.

Can You Use WD-40 on Freezer Drawers?

WD-40 a staple of every garage and work place

If you intend to use WD-40 as a rust cleaning agent, lubricant, or protection against corrosion, you shouldn’t.

WD-40 itself is not safe to use inside the freezer, as it is full of volatile organic compounds. People have experienced food contamination and the smell of the product not leaving their freezer for days. 

In one instance, a forum user used WD-40 to make the fan in the freezer less noisy. Consequently, their freezer began to reek of the smell. The food also began to emit a WD-40-like odor. 

Another user suggests the scent will be temporary as long you air it out. If you apply it without giving it time to air out, the odor will become trapped inside. The freezer is an airtight container. Still, we don't recommend using any type of WD-40 to lubricate the drawers.

Food-Safe WD-40

However, the same manufacturer does have a food-graded multipurpose spray. It goes under the label of WD-40 Specialist Food Grade Silicone Colorless. As the NSF states, this type of WD-40 is acceptable to use in and around food processing areas. 

If you're not familiar with the NSF, they are a non-profit organization with standards for safety and sanitation. If a product is NSF certified, it can guarantee

  • It uses FDA-approved raw materials.
  • It has passed multiple tests for material safety, design, and product performance. 
  • The product won't seep or contaminate foods with harmful chemicals. 

If this WD-40 sounds interesting to you, the NSF also recommends using the minimum amount to accomplish the desired technical effect on the equipment.

In other words, try not to use too much of it on the freezer drawer. However, it might be difficult obtaining this kind of WD-40. For now, it seems that it is only available in Asia.

How Do You Get the WD-40 Smell Out of the Freezer?

The odor of this product can go away quickly in properly ventilated situations, but since freezers are airtight and enclosed, you need to leave the door open until the gases are out. If the odor is powerful and is still there after having given enough time to let it out, here’s what you should do:

  • Ensure there are no food items present in the freezer. Take out all the shelves and drawers. Unplug the freezer and let it defrost.
  • Add one tablespoon of chlorine bleach in approximately one gallon of water. Add two tablespoons of baking soda per quarter of the gallon. 
  • Scrub the entire interior with the solution and let it dry out. You can dry it by leaving the door open or using a fan.

How Do You Get a Stuck Freezer Open?

Unrecognizable male searching freezer drawer for food

Freezer doors can get very difficult to open sometimes. The most probable reason can be the freezer’s vacuum system doing the work because you opened it recently. You can follow the following steps to open a stuck door.

  • You can give it some time before you open the door again.
  • If you cannot wait, you can insert your finger to break the seal and release the pressure. It should open the door quickly.
  • If the door usually gets stuck because of an old gasket, you should lubricate it to minimize friction. The best lubricant for this is petroleum jelly. Apply it on the gasket and remove the excess with a cloth.
  • Ensure that your freezer isn’t tilted. If your freezer isn’t level and is tilted backward, the tilt can cause pressure and make the door hard to open.
  • If nothing works, it may be either an ice maker issue or something else causing the door to be frozen shut. You should contact a professional who can troubleshoot and fix the underlying problem.

Why Is My Freezer Door Sticking?

It can happen because of air volume reduction when you close the freezer door. When you open your freezer door, it lets out cold air, and warm air gets in. It creates a vacuum that keeps the door closed for a while before you can open it again.

Aside from that, it can be because of a dirty gasket. Sugary drinks can spill on the gasket making it sticky. It can also be dirt that can cause the door to stick. You can simply clean it off.

If your freezer has a built-in ice maker, it can create a large ice block which can cause the door to stick shut. You can turn off the ice maker to fix this issue.

Final Takeaway

Nothing is more annoying than attempting to open a freezer drawer that gives a bit of a fight. All it takes is a bit of lubricant to get it back to working order. This way, it won't feel like a workout having to pull items out of the freezer. We hope you found the information above helpful!

Before you go, do you have other freezer concerns? You might want to find ways to organize it better. If you'd like to learn more, check out this post: 11 Best Freezer Baskets [Inc. Wire And Plastic]

Do you own a trash compactor? They also need lubrication. If you'd like to learn how to do it, check out this post: How To Lubricate A Trash Compactor

Until next time!

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