When you get a new door, cabinet or window shutters, the hinges they come with from the factory likely already have a lubricant. That said, it’s important to check on them periodically. Hinges that are installed in high use areas (or those subject to harsh marine environments) should be re-lubricated every year.
With an understanding of why hinges may need routine maintenance, let’s move onto how to take care of your hinges.
Step 1: Buy the right lubricant
First, you need to purchase a lubricant that’s appropriate for your hinge environment. The lubricant you use for an exterior shutter hinge, for instance, will be different than lubricant for an indoor hinge.
When purchasing a lubricant, choose one that will be able to penetrate the build-up on the hinges. Silicone spray is the most commonly used product.
Step 2: Find and remove the hinge pin
For doors, the hinge pin can be found between the door and the wall, and it holds the two halves of the hinge together. To remove the pin, open up the door and grasp the end of the pin with long-nosed pliers. Then, carefully pull the pin out (taking care to watch your knuckles!).
For a sticky hinge, try these troubleshooting tips:
- Spray the sticky hinge with a thick layer of PB blaster (like WD-40). Sticky hinges can be soaked in the spray for 12 hours before trying again.
- Many people go wrong by trying to use a hammer to force out a stuck pin. Avoid doing this because you could damage the surrounding wood or break the hinge entirely.
- You can also try to force the pin from underneath with a screwdriver.
Step 3: Clean the pin thoroughly and apply lubricant
After removing the pin, use a cloth to wipe any old lubricant off. Once clean, apply a thin layer of fresh lubricant on both the pin and in the hinge itself.
Step 4: Put the hinge back together
Reassemble the hinge by lining up the pin up with the hinge — the pin should slide in easily now. Give the door a few test openings and closings to verify a proper assembly. This also further distributes the lubricant.