What's the best way to make a hinge squeaky?
January 9, 2007 10:29 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to make a hinge squeaky? I want the acoustic notification that the door is opening.
posted by niloticus to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Take out the pin with a hammer and clean the pin of grease with Dawn and water. A degreased pin will make the noise you seek. If there is a lot of grease on the hinge itself, you might want to swab it out with a paper towel and some soapy water, but I would bet that a clean pin will be enough.
posted by Lame_username at 10:33 AM on January 9, 2007

Rather than messing up the hinges, could you get a squeegee at the hardware store and attach it to the bottom of the door? It'd make a shuffling noise.
posted by interrobang at 10:34 AM on January 9, 2007

you could get an inexpensive door chime unit
posted by Salvatorparadise at 10:39 AM on January 9, 2007

Well according to this site, what you need is a hinge-hagler, which is of course a shadow creature of Gabendoor.

If you don't have one of those, I'll venture a wild guess. NMy thought is that if lubricant makes a hinge stop squeaking, maybe removal of lubricant would make it start. If there is some amount of lubricant in the hinge now, perhaps a solvent would remove some or all of it. Can you spray something solvent in there, or take out the pin and wipe it off?

This site says dirt and built up paint can cause squeaking. Either of those ought to be easy to get ahold of and experiment with.
posted by kookoobirdz at 10:40 AM on January 9, 2007

Put a bell on the door.
posted by Operation Afterglow at 11:03 AM on January 9, 2007

If you want something more subtle than a bell, hang a cork (or superball) or a coin on the door so you'll get a bump or a tap.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:06 AM on January 9, 2007

Encourage the formation of corrosion or rust in the pin/hinge. When I want to make a surface rusty, I expose it to something corrosive, like Ferric Chloride (which you can buy at Radio Shack, used for etching the copper off PCBs), clean it off, then wait a few days. I think the presence of an oxidiser would speed the rusting up to mere hours, but I haven't tried it. (If you have a chemistry set lying around, it will no doubt have some oxidisers, like potassium permangenate).
posted by -harlequin- at 11:11 AM on January 9, 2007

My thought was that the poster didn't want others to realize he'd made any change to the door. What if he's a kid living at home? Parents might wonder why the hell he added a bell to his door, but a new squeak shouldn't necessarily draw any undue attention, as it's totally normal for a door to start squeaking.
posted by peep at 11:36 AM on January 9, 2007

I think it's a rust thing, I've never had actual brass hinges squeak. Going forward with that idea take a pin out (assuming it's not brass) of the door (you can substitute one from the hardware store temperarily, almost all are the same size) and soak it in some vinegar for a few days then reinstall it. Or maybe squirt a little vinegar into the hinge every day for a week.
posted by Mitheral at 12:03 PM on January 9, 2007

Even quicker and cleaner than soapy water for removing all traces of grease and oil would be an actual degreaser like tetrachloroethylene. You can find this as "brake parts cleaner" or "parts degreaser" in almost any store and it will do a bang up job of removing all traces of any kind of lubrication on that hinge.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:07 PM on January 9, 2007

I was going to suggest using a spray brake cleaner, but with plenty of ventilation*. The idea is, indeed, to remove lubricants, and that's what brake cleaner is made to do. Remove the pins one at a time and spray them clean. then wrap a cloth around the hinge so the door and frame don't get stained, and spray the hinge, especially the horizontal joints between the two halves. Put the pin back in and do the next hinge. If you're strong enough to remove and replace the door after taking out all the pins, you can do a more thorough job.

*"Exposure to very high concentrations of tetrachloroethylene can cause dizziness, headaches, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking and walking, unconsciousness, and death." From here.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:44 PM on January 9, 2007

To add on to what the others above are saying. If you want to make steel rust in a hurry try mixing hydrogen peroxide (drug store kind is fine) with vinegar, and a pinch of salt. This concoction will produce a heavy thick layer of rust in a matter of minutes. From my experience the ratios of the three ingredients is not particularly important as it works fast regardless.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 1:35 PM on January 9, 2007

One problem with trying to "make" a hinge "squeaky" is that someone who objects to it squeaking can just oil or spray lubricate it, thus removing the audible warning it was supposed to give. If you want reliable acoustic notification of a door being opened, take some lessons from the builders of Japan's nightingale floors.

1) Modify a hinge so that movement of the door creates a noise that can't be lubricated away. On a heavy three hinge door, you do this by removing the hinge pin of the middle hinge, denting the pin in several places with a centerpunch, and if the fit is still loose, slightly bending one side of the hinge flanges by tapping with a peen hammer, to take out all play, and even create a very slight bind.
On a cheap hollow core two hinge door, it's harder to make the hinges reliably squeaky, as the weak door will flex in bind, and the lighter door hinges typically used on these kinds of cheap interior doors are weaker. You can still try dimpling a hinge pin, and that might work for a while, but a two hinge door concentrates the force of door opening on any hinge that is out of line, or tight for any reason, and the hinge plates work loose pretty easily to accomodate the stress, making the door drop out of square in the frame, and become hard to open and close fully. So, if you do this, be prepared to beef up the hinge mount with heavier, or longer screws. A far simpler idea for this kind of cheap door is just to put an over the door hook on it, and keep a few empty coat hangers on the hook, to jostle whenever the door is opened or closed.

2) Try to spread the warning across several feet of flooring outside the door, by wedging the under floor to create squeaking, or putting some small foam packing peanuts under carpeting. This might not be practical in all circumstances, but it is surprisingly easy to do in many situations.
posted by paulsc at 1:53 PM on January 9, 2007

You want this.

My last apartment had one on the front door, it's actually designed to make the door close, and was required by the city. Our door went from being normal and quiet to sounting like a prop from a bad horror movie.

And hey, under $5!
posted by Kellydamnit at 3:25 PM on January 9, 2007

Kellydamnit's door closer can be made quiet with oil. They are dry when sold.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:31 AM on January 10, 2007

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