How to Fix Broken Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers

Large empty shelves in the refrigerator.

How to Fix Broken Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers

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We rely on fridge shelves to hold up groceries and make the best use of fridge space. Your shelves need to be strong enough for heavy groceries, yet light and transparent so the entire fridge is visible. Most refrigerator shelves are adjustable, hooked into brackets along the back or sides of the inner compartment. However, sometimes this hard use results in cracked and damaged refrigerator shelves.

As a mom, cracked shelves in the fridge can be bad news – you need that fridge space. Fortunately, the fix isn’t as tough as it sounds. With a little glue and some elbow-grease, you’ll soon have that fridge shelf or drawer good as new. Let’s dive into the repair methods.


1) Bend Frames & Mounts Back Into Shape

Heavy groceries can bend the frames and brackets of fridge shelves out of shape. The metal hooks are located at the back of each refrigerator shelf and extend from the frame. If these hooks get bent, then the entire shelf will sag or seem broken. If you’re lucky, you can bend the hooks back into the correct alignment with hand pliers and repair what ails the refrigerator shelf. Likewise, you may be able to bend a misshapen mounting bracket back into place to better accommodate the shelving hooks.


2) Glue Cracked Glass and Plastic Back Together

The leading type of damage in refrigerator shelves is cracking. Impacts or heavy weights can cause cold plastic to break and even glass shelf panels are broken from time to time. Sometimes, these cracks are easily fixable with a little focus and applied super glue. Sometimes the cracks have missing pieces or uneven edges that will be difficult to impossible to glue.

If you have clean edges that fit together, apply a glue rated for hard plastic or glass to the line in between. Arrange to hold or apply weight to the join for 10-30 minutes while the glue sets.


3) Replace Unglueable Crisper Bins

Crisper bin drawers in a refrigerator are made of lightweight plastic and can be removed from the fridge, so they are often the first item to break. This is exactly why replacement drawers are readily available and often in the same price-range as a tube of glue. For crisper bins that are badly cracked or have pieces missing, the most practical solution is often a quick replacement. You can get bins of the same size and design that fit into your fridge tracks by finding the right replacement parts. Or you can leave the space open for your own fridge crisper boxes.


4) Fill Nicks and Scratches with Epoxy

Gouges in the plastic surface of your fridge shelf poses a different problem. If your worry is avoiding scratches or maintaining the surface of the shelf, then epoxy is the best answer for nicks. A nick or scratch in plastic can essentially be filled with another type of plastic. Epoxy is a glue that hardens into plastic as it cures. It can be used to fill in cracks, scrapes, nicks, and gouges. Epoxy is often used when gluing fridge shelves back together, especially if the shelf is plastic.

Epoxy takes a long time to cure and may require some setup to get started. Epoxy, like any highly durable plastic glue, is potentially dangerous if it comes in contact with your skin.


5) Re-Hang and Rearrange the Shelves

Sometimes, the way to fix a crooked-hanging shelf is just to re-hang it. The hooks and hanging brackets don’t always fit together quite right, and a bad connection can sag over time. Take everything off of the offending refrigerator shelf and carefully remove it from the mounting bracket. Examine the hooks and the bracket to make sure they aren’t bent. If they are, try to bend them back into shape.

Then choose your new height and re-hang the shelf. Fit the hooks into the bracket holes, then lower the shelf so it settles into place. This may have solved your problem. Another option is to fully rearrange the shelves in your fridge. Choose new heights and a new way to hang them. Sometimes, this can resolve an issue that had not been obvious like spacing.


6) Replace Broken Tabs or Glide Tracks

The most delicate part of the fridge shelf assembly are the plastic tabs and glide tracks. These are small and brittle pieces that can snap if subjected to soo much stress. Trying to repair a jammed drawer or prop a broken shelf can be enough to the small pieces to snap. Don’t worry about it. You can order new glide tracks or replacement tabs if they snap. Fortunately, this is one of the perks of a manufactured industry, you can always order replacement parts.


7) Polish Rust and Paint New Enamel

In some refrigerators, you may find metal parts that have worn away and begun to rust. Rust is bad news in the fridge, it taints the air and can change the taste of your food. You can remove the rust with a scouring pad until shiny metal is shown underneath. Of course, if that exposed metal meets moisture in the fridge, it will rust all over again.

The next step is to enamel the exposed metal. A small pot of similar-color metal and paint it. Let the first layer dry and then paint another layer. When both layers are fully dry, you can put your shelf back into place.


8) Re-Frame a Glass Panel

If you have a whole glass panel but the frame has cracked, you can carefully remove and replace the frame using the same glass shelf. To do this, carefully pry the glue between the glass and shelf apart. Gently sand the glue residue away, then apply a new line of glue. Clamp the glass and frame closed for a day until the glue cures. However, it is also more likely that you will find an entire glass-and-frame shelf piece as the replacement part available.


9) Replace Door Compartments

Lastly, you can replace the shelf compartments that hang in the fridge door. Fridge owners often don’t realize that the door compartments can be removed. The tabs and hooks are white plastic instead of metal, so they blend in and can escape notice. However, if your door shelves break, you can simply remove them and order replacements.


If your refrigerator sees some heavy use, don’t let a few cracks get in the way of food storage. With a little glue or epoxy, your cracked refrigerator shelves and broken crisper drawers can be good as new.

Regional Services

Regional Services

Regional Services are an experienced commercial and office cleaning company based in London. Regional Services are an award winning and fully accredited cleaning company who provide a full range of facility management services and expertise including cleaning, maintenance, waste removal, pest control, gardening and more.


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