Maintaining Gaskets and Weatherstripping

Over time, gaskets and weatherstripping around hatches, ports and refrigerator doors can get brittle and crack. Then you have to replace them. Usually not cheap, hard to track down, and generally a pain to deal with.

I was reminded of this as the freezer gasket disintegrated as I opened the freezer door after we’d been gone for four days to our son’s Army retirement ceremony. The gasket had been leaking causing a build-up of ice and it just tore the gasket to shreds as I tugged on the door. Okay, we were going to have to get a replacement. But maybe we could save some other gaskets from a similar fate . . .

Recently, Tony Passafiume – a long-time friend as well as the owner of a Hunter 40, Dangerous Love – told us of a product that can greatly extend the life of these rubber seals: Sil-Glyde. A number of different companies make it and it all goes by similar names.

It’s a silicone-based lubricant that helps to keep the seals supple. Think of it as moisturizer for the seals. I went through the boat and put it on the refrigerator seals, door seal and hatch seals. It took me about half an hour to do them all.

The directions say to use a brush, rag, “or your fingers” to rub a little over the exposed area of gaskets and weatherstripping. Believe me, fingers were by far the easiest even if a little dirty – but the Sil-Glyde washed off easily with soap. A side benefit is that my hands are now very soft.

Tony says he does this once a year where he lives in Kentucky. I’m thinking that maybe twice a year would be better in tropical climates with more UV damage and higher temperatures.

You can buy Sil-Glyde at most any auto parts store (they all have their own version). I found it online, but shipping always cost more than the product itself, so I recommend trying to get it at a “brick-and-mortar” store.

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13 Comments
  • Debbie N Scott Cusenz
    Posted at 17 November 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the info! Have an ice maker on the aft deck that has a door seal that is obviously getting rigid…definitely going to find and use this product!

  • McTug McGahee
    Posted at 17 November 2014 Reply

    Thanks just trying to decide this AM what to put on the porthole gaskets! Great timing.

  • kleet
    Posted at 17 November 2014 Reply

    Yeah, I used to be diligent in using plain ol’ Armor-All on the door and sunroof gaskets for a new car I had, also to prevent premature aging/cracking. This looks like an even better idea/product – thanks!

    And this blog is overflowing with truly valuable tips, and frequently – thanks again!

  • Thomas Keenan
    Posted at 18 November 2014 Reply

    Okay– need an article on the best stuff to use for replacing cheap-A$$ gaskets that have already failed and need replacing ASAP? Help….

  • Gerald Hemming
    Posted at 18 November 2014 Reply

    My boat was built in 1984, refurbished in 1096, I bought it in 2008. The seal fell off on my freezer last year so I made a new one. What an improvement. Had to turn it down. The counter above it is now a great cool place to keep fruit and vegetables.

  • Bart & Trish
    Posted at 19 November 2014 Reply

    We lived in the Keys for 20 years and always struggled to keep our freezers and refrigerators cold during the frequent power outages. We learned to use Vaseline on all the seals on the appliances and found it to seal so well sometimes it take two hands to open the door. The only down side is getting some on you when you reach in to retrieve things. As soon as we bought our 2003 Catalina 350 we applied ample amounts of Vaseline on all the refrigerator gaskets (Front & Top loading) and the freezer to try to get the temperature to a safe zone in the middle of the summer in Central Florida.

  • tami
    Posted at 09 August 2016 Reply

    Silglyde = da bomb

    thanks!

  • Melody Cook
    Posted at 13 April 2017 Reply

    Great info.

  • Karen N Tommy Williams
    Posted at 13 April 2017 Reply

    where did you get it for $7? The cheapest I could find was $14.99.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 13 April 2017 Reply

      I think it was Napa — if not, Advance Auto Parts in Ft. Myers, FL. Brick and mortar store, which was far cheaper than getting it online.

  • John Parker
    Posted at 14 April 2017 Reply

    Are you guys in my head or what? I was just looking at mine yesterday thinking I needed to maintain them!

  • Terry Peake
    Posted at 14 April 2017 Reply

    I use vasaline once a fortnight. Works well for me. Maybe not the best item, but i wipe it off to clean out dust and salt. So far so good.

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