Sustainable Haven Blog

Natural Remedies for Your Squeakiest Doors

It's been a ferocious winter here in Brooklyn! Last month a pipe froze and burst in our building, sending a small river of water through our ceiling lights and into our apartment. FUN! After the messy repairs were complete and the dust wiped clean, everything was back to normal except one thing: the noise level.

Every door in the place was squeaking and groaning like crazy, sending our two cats running for cover under the bed every time we opened the dishwasher or pantry. The fine drywall or wood dust from home repairs can settle into the hinges and mechanisms of cabinets, doors and appliances, creating friction that causes ear-piercing noise.

I stopped using petroleum products long ago, so WD-40 or a chemical lubricant was not in the cards. Thankfully, a natural solution was right under my nose, so I pulled out my trusty HAVEN castile Soap and a tin of our nontoxic beeswax Polish and got to work.

The Squealing Door Hinges

You'll need to remove the hinge pins and I suggest removing and replacing them one at a time so the whole door doesn't need to come off. Carefully use the claw of a hammer to remove the pins or gently hammer a flathead screwdriver underneath the head of the pin and use the screwdriver to work it out of the hinge. You should be able to pull the pin right out after it's loosened a little.

Now time to clean these bad boys. They were coated with the greasiest, blackest goop! Luckily, that's nothing HAVEN's castile Soap can't handle. 

Lightly wet a paper towel or old rag you don't mind destroying and apply a quarter-sized amount of Soap to the rag. Wrap rag around the pin and thoroughly clean. Ick!

There are a lot of posts on the internet that say to apply any vegetable oil you have to the pin to ease noise but vegetable oils go rancid quickly when exposed to air without any kind of preservative.

That's why our Polish is great for this job---it's organic vegetable oils are blended with beeswax, which preserves the oils and waxes the hinge to make it nice and quiet. It's a excellent, nontoxic way to repair most any hardware squeaks in your home. That is, after you've used it to shine up all your favorite wood, leather and more. One little tin has a TON of tricks up its sleeve. I make the stuff and am still finding new uses!

Once the pin is nice and free of goop, dry it off well and get a dollop of Polish on a clean rag. Apply a thin layer of product around the whole pin.

Clean any goop from the outside of your hinge, then dry hinge and replace the Polished pin. Gently tap it back in with a hammer if needed. Repeat on the rest of the hinges and open/close the door repeatedly to work in the product, reveling in the silent whoosh!


The Groaning Dishwasher Door

I feel like this is an issue people live with for years, never realizing how easy it is to silence. You would think it's a problem with the hinges, but the culprit is usually the nylon cables that connect the door hinges to the springs at the back of your dishwasher.

Much like when a bow is drawn across the strings of a violin, the tautness of the cables combined with friction from accumulated dust or particles make the cables growl when they move, so putting a layer between the cables and the machine reduces the friction and gets rid of the noise. 

Surprisingly enough, no special product is needed, just one common household item.

A bar of unscented soap---that's it!

This little bar was given to me by a friend who makes his own bar soap using animal tallow he gets for free from local butchers, who actually pay people to dispose of it for them and are happy to offload it. If you're not squeamish or vegetarian, this is old school sustainability at its best.

First, you have to remove your dishwasher from the cabinet. There are usually two brackets at the top of the dishwasher where the appliance is screwed into your counter or cabinet. Once the screws are removed, the dishwasher should easily slide out so you can access the cables on either side.

Gently lift up on the plastic attachment connecting the nylon cable to the door hinge.

Holding the cable taut, rub the DRY bar of soap all around the cable, coating the entire length. Do the same to the cable on the other side of the dishwasher.

Reattach the cables. 

Now slide your dishwasher back into place, making sure it's in the correct spot. I recommended opening and closing the door a few times before securing to make sure it's aligned with your cabinets properly and not catching on anything. Replace your screws securely using a drill.

Now open and close the door obsessively, enjoying the peace and quiet plus the re-emergence of your kitties, who've been running to hide under the bed every time the door screeches!

On a related note, stay tuned for the arrival of HAVEN's all natural dishwasher soap and rinse aid. By popular demand, I'm almost finished formulating and can't wait to share our new nontoxic addition to the family!

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