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How to Fix a Squeaky Door

Tuesday June 25th, 2024
The incessant squeaking of a door can be quite bothersome. If the squeaky door is frequently used, the annoying squeal of the hinges can drive you crazy. Luckily, there are a few simple solutions to fix a squeaky door hinge. 

How to Fix a Squeaky Door 

  1. Inspect Door
  2. Gather Tools 
  3. Lubricate Hinges 
  4. Remove Hinge Pins 
  5. Clean Hinge Pins
  6. Lubricate Hinge Pins
  7. Reinstall Hinge Pins
  8. Replace Hinges 
By following these steps, you’ll have your squeaky door fixed in no time! While the first step requires you to inspect the door to find the issues, most of the time, all you need to do is lubricate the door hinges. 

There are a few different lubricants you can use, so we’ll explore several trusted options. If the issue can’t be fixed with a door hinge lubricant, you’ll likely need to replace your hinges. 

How to Fix a Squeaky Door 

If you have a squeaky door, follow these eight steps to fix the screech and restore the peace in your home: 

1. Inspect Door 

Before jumping into the repair, it’s important to locate the source of the squeaky door. While the door hinges are the most likely culprit, the squeaking could also be caused by the door rubbing against the door jamb. 

The door jamb is located on the inside of the door frame, and is only visible when you open the door. The jambs are structural parts of a door, specifically the door frame, not the door itself. They are on both sides of the door and support the entire door frame. 

With the door fully closed, look at the small gap between the door and the door frame. If there are places where the gap widens or shrinks, you could be dealing with a sagging, warped, or misaligned door. When the door is misaligned, sagging, or warped, it can rub against the door jambs or the top of the door frame, causing a squeaking noise. 

Misalignment could be caused by improper installation or loose screws—the latter would also cause the door to sag. A warped or bulging door is caused by moisture, and is common on an older wooden door. For these types of issues, consider door repair options, such as shimming the hinges or replacing the door frame.

If the door isn’t rubbing against the jamb, you’re probably dealing with a squeaky hinge. Hinges will squeak due to natural wear and tear that causes the metal to rub together. It can also be caused by loose screws or a buildup of dirt and debris. 

If just one of the hinges is squeaking, so you’ll want to determine which hinge is the culprit before moving on to the next steps. 

2. Gather Tools  

Now that you’ve fully inspected the door, it’s time to gather your tools to fix it. You probably won’t need all of these tools—it depends on what is causing your door to squeak. As such, use the materials listed in each step before moving on to the next. 
  • Household cleaning solution
  • Damp rag or paper towel
  • Steel wool (optional)
  • Hinge lubricant (options listed below)
  • Hammer 
  • Large nail or small screwdriver 
  • Pliers (if necessary)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Book or something to proper the door up (if necessary)
  • Replacement hinges (if necessary) 

3. Lubricate Hinges 

Before adding a door hinge lubricant, you’ll want to wipe down the surface of your hinges with a cleaning solution and paper towel or rag. This will clear away any dirt or debris contributing to your squeaky hinge. 

If your hinges are covered in rust or paint, you may need to scrub them clean with steel wool. If the paint or rust is thick and caked between the hinge knuckles or pin, it’s better to replace the hinges altogether. 

Once cleaned, you can apply the lubricant to one or all of your hinges using the door lube of your choice. 

Start with a little lubricant and rub it all over the metal hinge, ensuring the hinge knuckle and top of the hinge pin are adequately lubricated. The door should be in the open position for this step. 

After applying the door hinge lubricant, gently swing your door open and closed to see if it fixed the squeaking. If your door is still squeaking, move on to the next step. 

4. Remove Hinge Pins

In some cases, your hinges are squeaky due to dirt and debris inside the hinge. The friction caused by the inner debris can create a squeaking noise. To solve this problem, you’ll need to remove the hinge pin. The door should be closed when you remove the hinge pin.

Keep in mind that when you remove the hinge pin, your door will lose some structural strength. If you remove the hinge pin and notice your door slouch, you can support it by placing a book or something similar underneath the door. 

If your hinge has a bottom cap, you’ll need to remove that before you can pop out the hinge pin. Using pliers, grip the cap and pull it out. You may need to wiggle it a bit while pulling. 

You’ll also need a hammer and nail or screwdriver to remove the hinge pin. Place the nail or screwdriver in the hole at the bottom of the hinge. Gently tap the nail or screwdriver with the hammer and pop the hinge pin out.  

With the hinge pin removed, you can inspect and clean the inside of the hinges. At this point, you may notice rust or damage on the hinge. If you notice either of these, you may need to replace your hinges altogether (skip to step 8). 

5. Clean Hinge Pins 

After you remove the hinge pin, it’s time to clean both the hinge pins and the inside chamber of the hinge. And, while you’re at it, you might as well remove and clean all of the hinge pins on your door. Even if the other hinges aren’t squeaking, it’s an opportunity to clean and maintain your door, which prevents hinge squeaking in the future. That said, you’ll want to remove and clean one hinge at a time so the door doesn’t fall off. 

Now that you have the hinge pin removed, wipe it clean with a household cleaner and paper towel or rag. To clean the inside chamber of the hinge, spray it with a household cleaner, then swab it clean with a cotton swab.  
If you pull out a lot of dirt or debris while cleaning, you may have found the culprit of your squeaking problem. 

6. Lubricate Hinge Pins 

Before reinstalling the hinge pins, you’ll want to fully lubricate the pin and the metal hinge using the lubricant of your choice. 

How you apply the lubricant depends on what you use—some you may need to apply with a rag or your fingers, others will need to be applied with the straw that comes with it.  

7. Reinstall Hinge Pins 

Now that you’ve lubricated your hinge pin, it’s time to put it back into the hinge. Make sure your door is closed and all the hinge knuckles are perfectly aligned. 

If you notice that some of your hinge knuckles are bent or corroded, this could be the cause of the squeaking. In this case, you’ll want to replace your hinges. 

Otherwise, reinsert the hinge pin into the hole and gently tamp it into place using a hammer. Make sure the hinge pin is fully in place and secure. 

After reinstalling the hinge pins, swing your door open and closed to make sure that the squeaking is resolved. You’ll also want to wipe off any extra lubricant on your hinges, and check your surroundings for any spills. 

Now, your door should be squeak-free! If not, then the issue is more than just dirty hinges. 

8. Replace Hinges

If you’ve tried every step and your door is still squeaking, the next step is to replace the hinges entirely. Signs that you need to replace your hinges include rust, corrosion, and damaged or bent hinges. 

It’s normal to have to replace hinges periodically, especially if you live in an old house with old doors and rusting metal hinges. 

Inspect the existing door hinges before purchasing new ones so that you buy the right type of door hinge. Most doors have butt hinges or flush door hinges. For internal doors, be sure to purchase interior door hardware, and for external doors, get exterior door hardware. 

To remove the hinges, you’ll need a screwdriver to remove the hinge screws. It’s best to have your hinge replacements on hand to replace one hinge at a time. Otherwise, you’ll need to take your entire door down, which isn’t necessary if you have everything you need beforehand. 

Then, put the new hinges in the hinge mortise and screw into place. Your squeaky door problem should be solved! 

If your door is still squeaking, the problem might be more than just the hinges—it could be a structural issue. In this case, you might need to hire a professional to fix it. You may also need to buy a new door or replace the door frame entirely.

What is the Best Lubricant for Door Hinges? 

While it’s normal to want to reach for WD-40 to lubricate your hinges, it actually isn’t the best solution. Instead, you can use any of the following options: 

Top Lubricants to Stop a Squeaky Door 

  1. Olive oil or Cooking Oil 
  2. Petroleum Jelly
  3. Dish Soap
  4. Bar Soap
  5. Hairspray
  6. Paraffin Candles
  7. GT85
  8. Silicone Spray
  9. Lithium Grease 
Some of these door hinge lubricants are common household items. Cooking oils, such as olive oil, work just fine as a hinge lubricant, and don’t require you to run to your local home improvement store. Other options, like silicone spray and lithium grease, are the top recommendations and will keep your hinges well-oiled for many years to come. 

Is WD-40 Good for Squeaky Hinges?

WD-40 is what we always reach for whenever something needs to be lubricated or cleaned. As such, it’s normal to think it’s the best solution for your squeaky hinges. While WD-40 will provide short-term relief, it isn’t the best long-term solution for a squeaking door hinge.  

WD-40 isn’t the best choice for lubricating squeaky hinges because it’s a water displacer and doesn’t actually contain much lubricant. Its name stands for water displacement and the 40 represents how many trials it took for the WD 40 company to perfect the formula. 

The biggest issue with WD-40 is that it can attract dirt. And, because it’s a short-term solution, you have to continuously re-apply it, which can cause a buildup of debris in your hinges. A build-up of debris shortens the lifespan and integrity of your hinges, and only escalates the squeaky hinge problem. 

So, skip the WD-40 and go for a different lubricant that will last much longer, such as olive oil, petroleum jelly, silicone spray, or lithium grease. 

Stop Squeaky-Doors for Good 

The sound of squeaky doors is mildly annoying at best and downright maddening at worst. To maintain your sanity, it’s best to address a squeaky door as soon as you hear it.

Now that you know the steps to take and the materials you need, you can fix any squeaky door quickly and effectively. Remember, to prevent future squeaky hinges, routinely clean and lubricate your hinges and replace them when necessary. This regular maintenance will keep your doors operating smoothly and quietly.

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