How to Fix a Squeaky Door

Get to the bottom of what's causing that squeaky door so you can finally fix it once and for all.

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A squeaky door is more than a simple annoyance. It's a sign that something is wrong with your door, the hinges or even the structural components surrounding it. While the most common cause of a squeaky door is dry hinges in need of lubrication, a persistent squeak may be caused by misaligned or improperly installed hinges. Failing to address the door squeak in time can damage the hinges or the door itself. Below, we’ve explained how to identify the cause of a door squeak and how to fix the problem for good.

Built-In Shelving Around Doorframe With White Kitchen Ware

Open Shelving Around Door

What was a normal door frame in the kitchen now boasts built-in shelving for cutting boards, cookbooks and kitchen wares.

Photo by: Alyssa Kirsten

Alyssa Kirsten

Tools and Materials

  • screwdriver
  • hammer
  • door hinge lubricant
  • replacement hinges (if necessary)

1. Identify the Squeaky Hinge

To determine the most effective way to silence your door’s squeak, you must identify what’s causing the squeak. First, narrow down which hinge is squeaking, by individually removing each hinge pin, then operating the door. Once the door opens and closes silently, you’ll know which hinge is responsible for the squeak.

Remove each hinge pin one at a time and use a process of elimination to determine which one is squeaky.

Remove each hinge pin one at a time and use a process of elimination to determine which one is squeaky.

2. Lubricate the Hinge

Once you’ve determined which hinge is the squeaky hinge, you can begin identifying the cause of the squeak. Oftentimes, the squeak is caused by nothing more than a lack of lubrication, which is necessary for moving metal parts to operate smoothly. If this is the case, you can remedy the squeak by lubricating the hinges. For best results, remove the hinge pin before lubricating to ensure you fully coat the barrels and pin.

Once you apply the lubricant to the hinge, test the door several times. If the squeak doesn’t go away, the lubricant may not have fully penetrated the hinge. If the squeak goes away, but returns eventually, there’s likely a bigger issue causing the squeak.

closeup of a caucasian man, in blue overalls, spraying some lubricating oil on the hinge of a white door, in a panoramic format to use as web banner or header

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Spray some lubricate on the hinge pin to help it move smoothly and quietly.

Photo by: Shutterstock/nito

Shutterstock/nito

Spray some lubricate on the hinge pin to help it move smoothly and quietly.

3. Further Inspect the Hinge

When lubrication doesn’t fix a door squeak, the most likely cause is a loose, bent or damaged hinge.

4. Tighten the Screws

Before attempting to fix or straighten a hinge, open the door and ensure each individual screw is tight. Check the door once more to ensure the squeak is still present before moving forward.

Pro Tip: Is one of your hinge screws spinning? Remove it and slide a toothpick or two into the hole. The screw needs something to grab onto, and that little bit of wood can help it stay in place. Replace the screw and tighten it up.

Door hinge installation.

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Try tightening the screws on the hinge plate. Loose screws can rub on the plate causing a squeaking noise.

Photo by: Shutterstock/grinny

Shutterstock/grinny

Try tightening the screws on the hinge plate. Loose screws can rub on the plate causing a squeaking noise.

5. Repair the Hinge

If the door is still squeaking, close the door and examine the hinges. Do the barrels on the trouble hinge look straight and evenly spaced? If not, this could be the cause of the squeak. To fix the problem, remove the hinge pin. Using a hammer, lightly tap the bent hinge barrels on the side until they’re straight. Replace the hinge pin and test the door.

6. Replace the Hinges if Necessary

If you’re unable to fix your squeaky door after lubrication and hinge repair, you likely need new door hinges. This could be because your current hinges are worn out, but it may also be due to the poor quality of your door hinges. Many builder-grade door hinges are made of low-quality, soft metal. On doors that see constant opening and closing, cheap hinges simply aren’t built to last.

To determine whether your door hinge needs to be replaced, look for visible damage like excessive rust and pitting, cracked metal or worn screw holes, which can allow the hinge to move back and forth during operation.

Types of Door Hinge Lubricants

When choosing a lubricant, look for one that will last as long as possible. If you've been spraying your hinges with WD40 and the squeak keeps returning, that doesn't mean you have damaged hinges. WD40 and similar sprays don't feature much lubricant at all and are better suited for cleaning and water displacement. Hinges need far more lubrication than WD40 can offer. Here are some effective door hinge lubricants:

  • Silicone Spray: Silicone spray is an easy-to-use spray-on lubricant that's effective for lubricating door hinges. When possible, look for a silicone-based lubricant that's designed to prevent dust and debris build-up.
  • White Lithium Grease: White lithium grease is a step up from silicone spray. While it's often more effective for metal-on-metal lubrication than silicone spray, it's not always necessary for most door hinges.
  • Graphite powder: Sometimes dry lubricants are used instead of liquid lubricants, as they won't attract dust. Graphite can be an effective dry lubricant for door hinges, but it can leave a messy, black residue behind.
  • Common household lubricants: While you may have heard you can quiet a door hinge with household items like hairspray, olive oil or bar soap, these are often messier than they are effective. The best household items for fixing a door squeak are petroleum jelly and mineral oil, which are low-mess and won't go rancid.

How to Prevent Future Door Squeaks

Whether your door’s squeak was caused by a dry hinge or a bent hinge, regular lubrication is one of the best ways to prevent future door squeaks.

Moving metal parts require lubrication for smooth and quiet operation. Failure to lubricate them can result in damage and wear, eventually requiring the hinges to be replaced. If you find that silicone spray isn't doing the trick, white lithium grease may be the key to more long-lasting lubrication.

Beyond regular lubrication, the best way to prevent future door squeaks is to address them promptly. Leaving door squeaks unchecked can cause long-term damage to the hinge, which will only make matters worse.

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