Chances are you may never have put much thought into the hinges that are on the doors in your home. However, taking a little bit of time to look after them can not only prolong their life and that of your door, it can also prevent annoying squeaks. The key to caring for your doors’ hinges is threefold and involves checking them for damage, keeping them clean and lubricating them.
Checking hinges for damage
Like any piece of technology or machinery, if you can catch any problems early enough then you can often prevent the need for replacement by carrying out a small repair. With some doors often being opened and closed hundreds of times per day, their hinges can be at risk of serious damage - especially if they aren’t treated gently and are regularly slammed shut by the wind (or a moody teenager).
Checking hinges is an easy task and it could save you a significant amount of time and money by helping you avoid the task of rehanging the entire door. All you need to check the hinges on your home’s doors is a screwdriver that is the correct size for your hinges. Quite often, you will find over time that the screws can loosen. As well as visibly seeing the screws slightly sticking out further than usual, you may find that the door now doesn’t quite ‘fit’ the frame when closing and you have to manipulate it to close properly. Usually, it is just a case of tightening the screws with the screwdriver to rectify the problem, however sometimes you may find that the screws won’t tighten due to the wood being stripped. In this instance, what often works very well is to glue a wooden toothpick (or something similar) into the hole to give the screw something fresh to screw into. Then you simply screw the screws in tightly and your door should hang nice and straight like before.
Cleaning the hinges on all your doors is something that doesn’t need to be done with any great regularly, but taking a minute or two every few months will be of benefit. Not only will it ensure that your hinges last longer, it also enables you check for any damage like we talked about above. When cleaning, you should use a mild detergent - this is because most hinges have a 'clear coat' coating and cleaning with anything stronger might result in the hinge being damaged beyond repair. There’s also the chance that using a strong cleaning solution could damage the surface covering on your door, resulting in a costly repair or replacement.
The good news is there’s no need to buy expensive cleaning solutions as chances are you have the ingredients to make a fantastic mild but effective cleaner sitting in your kitchen cupboards.
- 1/2 a lemon
- a teaspoon or so of baking soda
- a small bowl to mix your paste
- mix with a little water
- plain white vinegar
- warm water
- use a small amount of vinegar in the warm water - add vinegar in small amounts till you find the solution to be effective
Either of these two solutions are effective and cheap options to clean your hinges and should be used with an old toothbrush to carefully scrub them.
Oiling your hinges
There is nothing worse than a squeaky hinge - it can be enough to drive you crazy every time you open the door. Thankfully, as annoying as it is, it is relatively easy to fix. And remember - oiling your hinges can also prolong their life.
There are three methods to try to fix your squeaky hinge:
WD40 (or equivalent)
WD40 and similar aerosols (known as lubricating oils) are very effective at fixing a squeaky hinge. Ensure that you get one with a thin nozzle as this will enable you to spray the oil just where you need it to go, and not all over the surrounding area. Remember to start off applying just a little oil, since oil is easier to add than it is to remove! When spraying the oil, try to open the door a few times to help spread the oil. This should fix your squeaky hinge in the majority of cases.
If you don’t have any WD40 type oil don’t despair - there are easy alternatives. Sometimes just a simple bit of Vaseline will do. Simply rub a dab of Vaseline on both sides of the hinge followed by opening and closing the hinge a few times - in many cases this should be enough to stop any annoying squeaks.
Fixing the hinge pin
If you still have a squeak and WD40 and/or Vaseline hasn’t worked, then you may need to look at fixing the hinge pin. This is a little bit more involved than just spraying a little oil or applying some Vaseline but it still relatively easy to do and should get to the bottom of any stubborn squeaking hinge.
- Firstly you need to look for the round hinge pin that sits between the flat plates on the hinge. This is the pin that holds the hinge plates together.
- Once you’ve located it, you need a pair of long pliers to carefully turn the pin to remove it.
After you have removed it, use some wire wool to clean the pin. This should remove any dirt, rust or grime that could be causing the squeak.
- If the pin looks like it could be bent then place the pin on a solid surface and gently tap it with a hammer or mallet to straighten the pin out.
- Sand down the hinge to ensure that any rust is removed. This will ensure that the pin is nice and smooth and will move freely and with less resistance.
- Check the hinge casing too which you removed the pin from. Sometimes grime, paint and dirt can gather there so use a pipe cleaner to remove anything that has gathered.
- Finally, replace the hinge pin and then spray with WD40 (or use another form of lubricant). Open and close the door a few times to allow the oil to spread and your squeak should be gone.
Take a look at our range of hinges suitable for all door types.