No one likes the idea of having to hear the high-pitched squeak of rusted door hinges every time you or someone else opens a door. Still worse is the prospect of that door literally rusting off its hinges and making the problem that much worse.
Basic metal joint and hinge maintenance is important, and that starts with making sure they are properly lubricated. That said, there’s a lot more to choosing the right joint lubricant for your door than simply finding one that can stop the squeaking.
Door Hinge Lubricants 101
Here’s what you should look for in the best six door joint lubricants.
What is it? For those not in the know, lubricating oil is just what it sounds like, oil that can help your door’s hinges and similar connectors remain lubricated.
Why is this important? The less lubricated these joints are, the more corroded they become and the more friction they experience, with both of those conditions exacerbating one another. Squeaky door hinges are just a symptom of the greater problem, and they’re just the beginning.
When searching for lubricating oil for metal hinges, some of the most important factors to consider include:
- Whether they are multipurpose (ie, eradicate rust and act as a preventative treatment)
- The surface to which you are applying the oil
- The method of application (ie, dabbing, spraying, etc.)
- Whether or not the oils in question are eco-friendly
- Low enough viscosity to effectively penetrate the surface in question
- Good enough lubricity to smooth the metal’s movement
Reviewing the Top Six Lubricating Oils for Door Hinges
1. WD-40 Specialist Multi Purpose Lubricant
Not all hot tubs are technically “Jacuzzis,” but the brand association is so strong that we call them as such, and the same is true here. WD-40 is by far the best-known and best-acclaimed lubricating oil on the market, and has been for decades.
As the name would imply, this is a specialized variant of the best-selling lubricating oil legend. It comes in a spray can, a definite plus for those for whom storage considerations are a serious concern.
The spray itself is silicone-based and works to lubricate as well as coat surfaces with a water-proof solution. It is also resistant to dirt. What’s more, it dries fast, ensuring fast-acting solutions without you having to wait around for it to dry or seep into the metal.
One reason WD-40 has such a strong reputation is the fact that it’s an all-purpose spray insofar as it not only fights rust and improves lubricity, but can also be used on a variety of surfaces. In addition to metal, it can be safely employed on rubber, plastic, and vinyl. What’s more, it isn’t just or even primarily for use on door hinges, but can be used to fight rust and improve performance on any number of components.
Finally, WD-40 has a good reputation for safety, which is hugely important. The last thing you want is for your attempts to lubricate your door to instead make it an unintentional hazard. The spray itself is essentially harmless as long as you use it safely and keep the room in which it is being used well ventilated. It may not have the raw power some other options on this list boast, but it is by far the most well-acclaimed and versatile choice.
2. Permatex White Lithium Grease
One of the strongest selling points for this lubricant is the fact that it can be used for metal as well as plastic surfaces, as well as surfaces which combine the two. This can be incredibly useful for situations where you have hinges or other components that are made of two or more materials. With a lubricant like Permatex, you don’t have to switch between different oils, you can use the same one to treat them together when applying them to door hinges.
What’s more, the lubricant itself is tough, fast-acting, and can do a great job of dealing with not just rust, but other environmental factors such as heat and moisture as well.
This is especially important given the fact that incidents such as rust hardly ever happen in a vacuum. Factors such as cold and moisture cause it, which means that any lubricant which is to serve as a long-term solution will need to be capable of standing up to and counteracting those conditions.
If there is any downside to this offering from Permatex, it’s the fact that it is on the messier side so far as lubricating oils are concerned. Where WD-40 offers a simple, no fuss no muss application, this can cause a bit of a mess if you aren’t careful. As long as you do take precautions, however, and know what you’re doing, it can be a very effective rust-fighting lubricant.
3. CRC White Lithium Grease
“Big things come in small packages.”
“Elegance in simplicity.”
You can drag out a litany of tropes regarding simplicity and effectiveness with CRC’s offering here, and they would all be accurate. The bottle itself is small and simple, betraying nothing of the rust-fighting power it contains. In fact, it is so powerful that it almost boomerangs around to become a concern, as it may in fact be too powerful for use on smaller-scale projects. If you are looking for a simple lubricating oil to dab on your door hinges, this may pack more of a punch than you bargained for.
That said, this is an incredibly potent rust-fighting lubricating oil. It was designed with automotive work in mind, and it shows. It is incredibly adept at removing rust and improving lubricity when applied to the kinds of metallic and plastic surfaces commonly used in car parts. In addition, it can be quite effective when dealing with garages. As such, while this can be applied to door hinges, you’ll want to take care that it’s not “too much” for them.
Not only is this a potent lubricant, but it is also quite durable. Once you apply it, you can count on it lasting a good long time. It may be a bit messy when applied, but if you can deal with that, you’ll have an incredibly potent rust-fighting agent on your hands.
4. DuPont Teflon Lubricant
As stated, one of the most important factors to take into consideration when reviewing different rust-fighting lubricating oils is their ability to stand up to the elements. Fighting rust won’t do much good if it can just come back time after time.
DuPont’s offering here does a great job of standing up to the cold and moisture that can commonly cause rust as well as general corrosion. Just as importantly, it is able to stand up to high temperatures as well. Given how much we tend to associate rust with cold and moisture, that latter risk factor is often overlooked, to the detriment of hinges and metallic components everywhere.
This offering, thus, does a great job of providing all-around protection against the elements, no matter what they may be.
Another nice point about this lubricating oil is the fact that it’s relatively odor-free. Not only is that nice from a personal comfort and decorating standpoint, but it also means a reduced risk of fumes.
On the flip side, this is another lubricating oil which can be messy to apply to metal surfaces.
If you are interested in a weatherproof lubricating oil, however, this may well prove an effective choice for door hinges that are caught between interior and exterior spaces, such as those for your front door.
5. Prolong Super Penetrating Lubricant PSL40010
This is another example of big things coming in small packages. Prolong Super Lubricants is one of the new kids on the block in the penetrating oil business, being less established than WD-40, CRC, and other names on this list. Nevertheless, sometimes it takes a new entrant to shake things up for the batter, and that’s what Prolong Super Lubricants is trying to achieve with options such as this.
This option excels in breaking down rust. It is also great for all manners of treatments for friction, especially on metal surfaces. What’s more, not only does it do a good job of helping ease that friction, but it can also take care of that annoying squeaking sound as well. This option works especially well on hinges, nuts, joints, and similar components.
One thing to be aware of is the fact that, unlike WD-40 and some other options on this list, this option is not spray-on, but rather comes with a traditional application stick. This would not be a problem per se if not for the fact that the stick can sometimes have trouble getting into tight metal spaces. If you intend to use it for light application purposes on surfaces such as door hinges, however, this is nevertheless a solid new option to explore.
6. CRC Lithium Grease Spray
Most of the lubricating oils on our list have fallen into one of two usage camps. Either they have been “weak” enough to be used in a variety of manners on many different surfaces, or they are so “strong” as to be too potent for certain surfaces. This offering from CRC does a great job of straddling those two extremes, being strong enough to be effective on most metal surfaces without being so strong as to pose a long-term risk.
That isn’t to say that this option isn’t without its specialized uses as well. In addition to generalized use, it is best used for lubricating bearings.
In addition, this is yet another lubricating oil that does a good job of being weatherproof. That said, it is worth noting that this spray dries much faster than other options on this list. On the one hand, some may find that beneficial and convenient, as it means you don’t have to wait around forever for the spray to dry. On the other hand, however, it may dry too fast for some, and once it dries, its effectiveness may plateau or begin to diminish.
As with so many things, however, it’s good while it lasts, and can provide a good deal of lubricity with minimal viscosity when applied to door hinges suffering from too much friction.
When and How to Lubricate Door Hinges
As stated above, left untreated, these kinds of door issues can result in the friction becoming so bad as to make it hard to impossible to operate the joint, and the corrosion can get bad enough to cause the door to literally fall off its hinges.
That’s due to a buildup of rust, which is why one of the main things these types of lubricants accomplish is dissolving and otherwise removing rust from the surface in question. It does not do this by “just” cleaning rust away from the hinges in question but, in many cases, actively attacking and dissolving rust.
The best lubricating oils don’t stop there. The makers behind these oils understand that prevention is the best policy when it comes to solving a squeaky rusty door problem. As such, not only do they eradicate rust, but they coat the metal with a solution that helps prevent rusty buildup in the future.
Having read the above, two questions which are bound to come to mind is whether weatherproof lubricating oils are really necessary for “interior” hinges, and how to best apply the lubricating oil.
While weatherproofing naturally won’t matter for joints that are entirely interior, any that are borderline – such as those for doors and windows – can always benefit from it. Moreover, a key aspect of weatherproofing is the ability to combat moisture, which is always beneficial for hinges, joints, and other components, whether they are interior or exterior.
As for application, that will depend on personal preference and what you’re trying to achieve. Applying it with a stick can be more direct than a spray, but harder to manage. Sprays can cover a broad area effectively, but certain sprays are less targeted when it comes to spraying small, highly specific places.
All in all, you’ll want to review the nature of your door hinge, determine the size of the area that needs to be treated, and get a lubricating oil with a good deal of lubricity that fits your criteria.