How To Fix A Frozen Garage Door

If you live in a colder climate or moved to one, you should expect an occasional frozen garage door. The ice, snow, and cold can wreak havoc on your garage door. Water accumulation at the bottom of the door commonly freezes and refreezes causing the door to get stuck. 

Prepare to Unfreeze the Door

To unfreeze the door, gather:

  • two five-gallon buckets
  • ice scraper
  • shovel 
  • hair dryer, space heater, or heat gun
  • kitty litter or rock salt 
  • silicone lubricant

Never try to force the door open, such as by kicking or with a pry bar, no matter how fast you need to leave, Otherwise, you will risk damaging the door.

Adjust the pressure on the opener to a higher setting, and try to open the door. Sometimes, it needs more force to break the ice. Don't press the opener too many times, or it may break the motor. Also, ensure the door didn't accidentally get locked.

After you get the door opened from using one of these methods, add silicone spray lubricant to the bottom door seal. Keep the door lubricated regularly to prevent sticking and freezing. If you don't have lubricant, vegetable oil works well.

Open the Door Manually

If you really need to go, pull the red release cord to disconnect the door from the opener, looking out for icy spots around the door. Scrape ice with the scraper, and attempt to lift the door slightly several times to break ice.

 If you aren't in a hurry, and the temperatures are expected to get above freezing, let it melt naturally. Try using the remote door opener again.

If temperatures are expected to be 10 degrees or greater, spread rock salt or kitty litter around the bottom of the door. Be sure to clean the bottom seal to avoid corrosion.

Try Boiling Water or a Heat Source

Fill two large buckets with boiling water. Pour one bucket under the door, and pour the other bucket of water on the front side. Try to open the door, then mop around the bottom it to keep it from refreezing. Apply a chemical deicer to keep future moisture from freezing.  

Keep snow shoveled from the outside of the door after you melt the ice. If you plan to stay home awhile, leave the door open to let the sun evaporate water. 

Set a hair dryer or heat gun on the lowest heat setting, and move it back and forth over the ice. Don't let it stay in one place long. 

Alternately, set up a space heater inside the garage a safe distance from the door, but close enough to melt ice. Don't forget to keep watch on the heater. Visit a site like for more garage door information.