Question: We have lived in our house for seven years, and a couple of our doors now squeak when we open and close them. I think they need oil but what kind and how much?
Answer: The problem most often is caused by the hinges running dry of lubricant, causing the metal parts to rub together which makes a squeaking noise.
The fix is to add lubricant to the moving parts but do not squirt oil to the outside of the hinge. The oil will probably not get to the pin and other moving parts where the problem emanates. It will however get on the paint, the carpet, and the floor.
The proper way to clean and lubricate a door hinge is to remove the pins, clean them, and add a small amount of oil such as WD40 or 3-In-One oil. Do not remove all pins from one door at once as you will require help to reset the door and replace the hinge pins.
I usually work on four doors at one time. Remove the center hinge pin from each of the four doors. Do this by holding a small screwdriver, a nail, or a nail set against the bottom of the hinge pin and tap with a hammer until it slides up. These pins are usually very dirty, so place them on a rag or newspaper in preparation for cleaning.
If it is warm enough to work outside, hinges can be cleaned with mineral spirits and steel wool. If you must work in the house, use a cleaning solution like Simple Green or Fantastic. You may need steel wool or 220 grit sandpaper to get them clean. To clean the hinge pin hole in the hinge, double over a piece of cotton string, dip it in a cleaning solution, and thread it through the hole in the hinge where the pin goes. Work the string up and down to clean the hinge. Wipe clean with a rag. Put one small drop of oil into the top inside edge of the hinge where the pin goes. Put two drops of oil on the pin and insert it back into the hinge. Wipe any oil from the outside of the hinge. Repeat this process for the center hinge on the other three doors.
Now remove the upper hinge pins from each of the four doors and repeat the above procedure. When you are done, repeat the process on the lower hinge pins. Repeat the whole process on the other doors in your house. Do every door whether they are squeaking or not or, in accordance with Murphy’s Law, they will start to squeak in the near future.