How to Fix a Squeaky Door

Follow these simple steps to stop irritating squeaks when opening or closing a door.

An irritating squeak from your door is usually a sign that the hinges need to be cleaned and lubricated. However, ongoing problems with squeaky hinges might also indicate that the door isn't level, putting undue weight on the hinges. Don't ignore these symptoms. Check the door frame to ensure it is square and secure. Otherwise, you might temporarily fix the squeaking sound only to later find out the problem is a result of misaligned framing or softened, rotted wood that's causing the door to hang crooked.

Luckily, if the door and frame are level and secure, a squeaky door isn't a detrimental problem that needs to be resolved immediately. But it can grow to be a nuisance. Thankfully, fixing a squeaky door is relatively easy. It's also a quick, inexpensive DIY repair, so you don't have to worry about buying expensive tools or supplies.

bright blue door open to entryway with storage insert
Greg Scheidemann

Inspect Hinges for Dirt, Rust, or Paint

Before fixing a squeaky door, it's necessary to inspect the hinges for any signs of a contaminating substance that could be restricting movement. Dirt, dust, and grime are common problems that can be cleaned by removing the hinge pins and scrubbing them with steel wool before lubricating and reinstalling them.

Rust can also prevent hinges from opening and closing correctly. Use a lubricating solution like WD-40 and steel wool to remove rust from the door hinges. If the problem is paint, use a utility knife to cut through the layers of paint to loosen the hinges.

Causes of a Squeaky Door

To better understand how to fix a squeaky door, it's important to address the root cause of the problem. Squeaky doors can be a sign that the door is hanging crooked in the frame due to misaligned framing or even rotted or softened wood. Spraying some lubricating oil on the hinges might silence the squeak, but if the frame is falling apart, the problem will return. You'll need to fix or replace the frame to permanently solve the issue.

If the frame seems secure and properly aligned, then the problem could be caused by the hinges loosening over time. Similarly, poorly lubricated hinges or hinges that are coated in dirt, grime, rust, or even paint could lead to a squeaking sound when the door is used. A final option to inspect is the door itself. A swollen wood door can cause a squeaking when the wood rubs against the wood doorframe.

minimalist white bedroom blue door wicker chair red throw geometric pillow
Jessica Glynn

How to Fix a Squeaky Door

An initial inspection of the hinges is a great way to start this repair. Examine the general condition of the hinges, which will help you decide whether a simple spray lubrication will be enough or if the hinge pins need to be removed to resolve the problem. Follow these steps to learn how to fix a squeaky door.

What You'll Need

  • Spray lubricant
  • Hammer
  • Finish nail
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Steel wool
  • White lithium grease
  • Rag or towel

Step 1: Use Spray Lubricant on Hinges

The first step to resolving this issue is to simply treat the hinges with a spray lubricant. If the hinges aren't dirty, rusty, or coated in paint, lubricating spray might be able to penetrate through the gaps to the hinge pin and provide enough lubrication to fix the squeaking door. Many spray lubricants come with a small straw or tube that carries the lubricant into tiny crevices and cracks, giving it a better opportunity to seep into the hinge interior.

Step 2: Remove Hinge Pins

If a spray lubricant doesn't solve the problem, you'll need to take the repair a step further. Grab a hammer and a small finish nail. Line up the nail at the bottom of one hinge so that it sits against the hinge pin, then lightly tap the nail to loosen the pin. When you can see the pin protruding from the top of the hinge, pull it out using a set of needle-nose pliers.

Some hinges have a bottom cap that needs to be removed with pliers before you can access the hinge pin. Firmly grip both sides of the cap with the pliers and gently wiggle the cap back and forth while pulling it down to remove the cap from the hinge. Now you can access the hinge pin with the nail and hammer to remove the pin from the hinge.

Do not remove all hinge pins at the same time. Only take one hinge pin out at a time and ensure the door remains closed to prevent damage to the hinges, doorframe, and door.

Step 3: Inspect and Clean Hinge Pins

With the hinge pin removed, take some time to inspect it and clean it with steel wool to remove any dust, dirt, grime, or other debris. Residual paint can cause the hinges to stick or prevent the hinge pin from rotating freely. Use a diluted household cleaner to help remove tough dirt or rust spots.

Step 4: Coat Hinge Pins in White Lithium Grease

Before reinstalling the clean hinge pin, apply white lithium grease to the pin. White lithium grease helps lubricate the pin while preventing rust from forming on the metal. There are DIY alternatives you can use, but white lithium grease lasts longer on the hinges without drying out.

Step 5: Reinstall Hinge Pins

After coating the hinge pin in white lithium grease, slide it back into the hinge and gently tap it into place with your hammer. Repeat steps 2 to 5 for each subsequent hinge pin, then open and close the door to make sure the squeaking is gone and the door is secure. Don't forget to reinstall any bottom caps that you removed from the hinges.

Step 6: Wipe Away Excess Grease

If the lubricant or grease is not cleaned up it can cause staining, so make sure to use a rag or an old towel to wipe away any oil or grease left on the hinges when the job is done. Also, check the door frame, door, and floor for any grease that might have dripped while you were working. Clean the work area, put away your tools and supplies, then wash your hands to remove any oil or grease.

DIY Lubricants

If you can't stand to hear the squeak of your door for one more day but don't have spray lubricant or white lithium grease at home, there are several DIY lubricants you can try to use to fix the squeak. Hairspray is an alternative to a spray lubricant that can be applied by simply spraying the hinges. The hairspray acts as a lubricant to help the hinges move freely around the hinge pin without making a sound.

Some people swear by mayonnaise or cooking oil as replacements for white lithium grease. Remove the hinge pins and apply mayonnaise or cooking oil to the pin. Reinstall the hinge pins and wipe away any oily excess with a damp cloth. Similarly, you can use the petroleum-based wax in non-scented paraffin candles. Simply light the candle to melt the wax, then carefully cover the hinge pins in liquid wax. Reinstall the hinge pins once the wax has cooled and test the door for a squeak. Keep in mind that it's always better to use actual lubricating spray or white lithium grease to fix a squeaky door.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does it cost to fix a squeaky door?

    If you were to buy the supplies you need to fix a squeaky door, it would cost about $35 for the least expensive options available for each item. However, if you hire a repair person to fix it for you, the hourly rate will be $50 to $250, depending on rates in your area.

  • Can deodorant be used to fix a squeaky door?

    Like hairspray, deodorant can be used in a pinch to quiet squeaky doors. But don't use a roll-on or stick—only a spray deodorant will work.

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