How to fix sliding wardrobe doors and get them operating smoothly again

Problems with your sliding wardrobe doors? Fix them yourself with our handy guide

Red headboard with mirrors
(Image credit: Sharps)

Sliding wardrobe doors are a handy addition to the bedroom, and can make reaching for an outfit in the morning feel that bit easier, but only when they’re functioning smoothly. If not, then it’s time to learn how to fix sliding wardrobe doors and get the job ticked off your home repairs list, so you can go back to enjoying your sliding wardrobe doors as they should be. 

Sliding wardrobe doors are great because they save on space, making them ideal for small bedroom ideas. What's not so great is when they start to malfunction and it becomes an effort to open and close them.

Fortunately, you can learn how to fix sliding wardrobe doors yourself, so that you can keep your wardrobe ideas without having to go shopping for a replacement. 

'These days most sliding wardrobe doors are pretty much maintenance-free, unlike the systems of the past where the doors would jump off the tracks quite often,' says Greg Carlisle, Managing Director, The Sliding Door Wardrobe Company. 'However, if you do experience any problems there are some areas you can look at for an easy fix.'

We’ve asked the experts and put together a simple guide on how to fix sliding wardrobe doors, which you can do yourself in just seven steps. 

Headshot of Greg Carlisle
Greg Carlisle

Greg Carlisle is the Managing Director of The Sliding Door Wardrobe Company, who are well known for designing, manufacturing and installing quality sliding door wardrobes. The compnay also produces a full range of fitted bedroom furniture as well. Greg started this business in 1993, following on from his father’s lead in the same business which he ran from the early 1980’s. The Sliding Door Wardrobe Co have grown steadily over the years and are now probably the largest supplier in their area.

How to fix sliding wardrobe doors - step-by-step

Before you learn how to fix sliding wardrobe doors, you might need to contact the company that manufactured your doors and ask for a replacement roller mechanism. Do this if you’ve had your sliding wardrobe doors for a while and they won’t budge. If your sliding wardrobe door simply feels a bit stiff, it might just be a case of cleaning and lubricating the rollers to get it working properly again. 

Two master wardrobes with glass panels and sliding doors

(Image credit: Sharps)

1. Disengage the anti-jump device

The first thing to do with how to fix sliding wardrobe doors is to disengage any anti-jump device the door may have. Not every sliding wardrobe door will have one of these, though a lot of modern designs do.

‘If your sliding wardrobe door has an anti-jump device, there will be a small clip attached to the rollers of the door which then locks into the bottom track’, explains Greg. ‘Usually, it's a matter of a quarter turn to the left or right and then sliding the clip upwards out of the channel on the floor track to release it.’

2. Lift the door and remove from the frame

Alcove built in wardrobe with sliding door

(Image credit: Sharps)

You will now be able to lift the door’s rollers clear from the track and remove the door from the frame. Lift the door up towards the ceiling track and tilt the bottom out towards you. Then lower the door to the ground and place to one side. You may want an extra pair of hands to help you with this if your door is quite large. 

If possible, have something nearby which you can place the door on top of, on its side, so you have a clear view of the roller mechanism on the bottom. Two saw horses would be ideal, but if not, any table with an empty surface will do.

3. Remove the rollers

Now comes the toolkit section. Using a screwdriver, remove the existing roller mechanism from the door. It should detach easily once the screws are loosened. 

4. Replace the rollers

Next, fit your new rollers in place of the old ones. It’s best to get your replacement rollers from the company who manufactured your sliding wardrobe doors, so you can be sure they will fit correctly.

‘Some rollers just click in place, as a part of the roller assembly will slot into a slot cut in the door frame’, explains Greg. ‘Others will be simply a case of removing and replacing a couple of screws.’ Give the rollers a spin to check they’re working properly once fitted. 

5. Clean the track

White sliding door in track

(Image credit: MyJobQuote)

Whilst the track is empty, give it a good clean to make sure nothing is obstructing the door from sliding across it. Vacuum inside the track and give it a wipe with a duster or cloth. 

6. Reassemble the door

Sliding wardrobe door open showing cubicles with clothing and accessories

(Image credit: Sharps)

Reattach the door into the frame by slotting into the ceiling track first, then carefully placing it into the track at the bottom. You will need to re-engage the anti-jump device if you released this at the beginning.

7. Test the sliding movement

Finally, test your door by sliding it open and shut. The new rollers should work like a treat and allow the door to slide smoothly across the track. And that’s it! You’ve successfully learnt how to fix sliding wardrobe doors.

How do you adjust the rollers on a sliding wardrobe door?

Red headboard with mirrors

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘When adjusting your rollers, start off by using a screwdriver to pull the rollers out and assess what the problem may be,' says Joshua Hammonds, Marketing Manager, Hammonds Fitted Furniture. 'If the rollers are simply dirty, it is best to clean away any dirt or dust that may have gathered on them and re-oil if necessary’. 

Use a microfibre cloth to wipe away any dirt that may be obstructing the rollers, then add a couple of drops of oil. You can use silicone spray, which repels dirt, or WD-40, available from £5 at Amazon, which is often recommended for lubricating mechanisms such as door rollers. 

If the screws attaching the rollers to the door have moved slightly, tighten these with a screwdriver. This will ensure the mechanism sits securely in the correct position and help re-align the sliding door. 

Joshua adds, ‘if the rollers appear to be damaged in any way – this may be the source of the problem with your sliding wardrobe door and they will have to be replaced.’ If they are showing noticeable signs of wear and tear, or any physical breakages, it’s best to replace them with a new set.

How do you realign sliding wardrobe doors?

Neutral grey bedroom with sliding door wardrobes with mirror panels

(Image credit: Sharps)

You may be able to realign sliding wardrobe doors without removing them from the track. If the door is wonky, or it’s jammed and you’re unable to move it, one of the wheels has likely left the bottom track. 

‘To get the wheels back running smoothly, you must lift the door slightly and ease the door in (or out) so that it lines up with a slot in the bottom track,' says Joshua. ‘When the wheel is in line with the slot, lower the door until it locates – the door will now run correctly.’

If after testing the door, it is still not working properly, you’ll need to grab your screwdriver and start removing the door from the track. The screws holding the rollers in place may need to be tightened, or the mechanism may need to be replaced altogether. 

How do you put sliding wardrobe doors back on track?

When putting sliding wardrobe doors back on track, it’s essential that they go in the correct position, or you’ll continue to experience issues with the sliding mechanism. 

Holding the door carefully by the two sides, lift it up into the ceiling track so that the top frame sits securely inside. Then, tilt the bottom half of the door backwards and into the bottom track. 

‘You’ll need to align each adjustment screw with the access hole and proceed to tap it into place using a hammer and a wooden block’, says Joshua. ‘Using the block will prevent any damage to the wheels, compared to if you were tapping into the screws and rolling mechanism directly.’

He adds, 'once you’ve fitted the rollers in place, retract them as far as possible so they are in the correct position. You will know you’ve done this successfully if the door feels safe, secure, and you're not able to pull it off the track with ease.'

Katie Sims

Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.