Fix Hard-To-Shut Doors With Toothpicks

Fix Hard-to-Shut Doors with Toothpicks

If a door is difficult to shut, chances are that the problem is in the hinges. Surprisingly, it's easy to fix this with some toothpicks placed at the right spots, as Apartment Therapy shows in its quick guide.

It's essentially the same technique as used to fix a stripped screw hole with toothpicks. If you don't have toothpicks handy, a matchstick will do too.

Photo by Andie Powers

You first need to identify which hinge is the problem. It's usually the top one,; you can often tell by cracks in the paint.

Open the door, and remove the screws in that hinge. Clean any debris away, and grab your toothpicks. Break off a piece that is long enough to fit all the way to the back of the hole. Place it in the hole.

Place the screw back into the hole and screw it all the way in. If the screw continues to spin and spin, put another toothpick or longer piece of one inside.

Once the door is working properly, break off all the bits of toothpick sticking out.

How To Fix a Hard-To-Close Door with Toothpicks [Apartment Therapy]


    Am I imagining things here or is this a ridiculous article...?
    Why would a door be hard to shut if one hinge is loose, why would just one be loose..?
    Fair enough, if you have a loose hinge, go ahead and toothpick it. I personally would try longer, maybe thicker gauge screws first, but that's just me. If the door is hard to shut, it's highly unlikely it's because of one loose hinge, maybe if they were all loose...! This is an issue that generally only affects timber homes, particularly those on stumps. If it's not closing because the door frame has sagged, you need to level the house.

    Last edited 20/01/14 9:18 am

      Cause one "loose" (loose is not a good description, but I can't think of a better one) hinge (especially at the top) causes the door to drop.. it only takes a few mm of drop to;
      1) Cause the door to hit the frame, and/or
      2) offset the bolt from the striking plate (hole) such that the bolt either doesn't latch or it grinds against the striking plate so it doesn't latch fully.

      Last edited 21/01/14 11:13 am

        Yeah my bad, I was thinking about doors with three hinges, which is how I hang them, and most older homes (timber) do too. Should have thought about dual hinge doors, but I stand by the rest of my points.... :)

    When I'm next in the market for buying a house I can look for bits of toothpick hanging out of hinges. That'll serve as a good measure that the house is not worth buying because it is presently owned by a bodge merchant of the worst kind!

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