Squeaking industrial hinges can be an annoyance over time. In some instances, they indicate structural weakness. The good news is that quieting them is a rather easy fix. Hinges squeak due to friction, which is most often the result of built-up dirt on the hinges' moving parts. The correct tools are needed to temporarily take apart the hinges in order to thoroughly clean all hard-to-reach places. Working with hinges that are part of industrial equipment and/or heavy doors requires proper safety precautions, so be sure to follow all of these recommendations.
Step 1 - Pry Out Hinge Pin
Before cleaning and lubricating each hinge, the pin holding it together needs to be temporarily removed. Depending on the age of the hinge, this pin can require some effort to loosen and pull out. Hold a medium or large sized nail directly underneath the end of the pin on the bottom of the hinge. Carefully tap the nail with the hammer to loosen the pin by at least 1-inch. Once you have done so, use the flat end of your screwdriver or chisel to slowly pry it the rest of the way out. Be sure not to use too much force, so as not to bend the hinge pin.
Step 2 - Clean with Steel Wool
Once you have removed the hinge pin, separate the leaves of the hinge. Use a medium-grade steel wool pad to clean away residue and debris from all areas of the hinge, including the pin. Depending on the size of the hinge, you may need to cut the steel wool pad into smaller pieces in order to reach all areas. Be sure not to use steel wool that is rough enough to scratch the hinge; doing so can lead to worse problems with dirt and grime build-up in the future.
Step 3 - Apply Lubricant
Coat all parts of your hinge with a commercial lubricant recommended for industrial hinges. A common lubricant brand is WD-40. If in doubt, check the hinge manufacturers' documentation for any noted lubricants that may be more effective. Wipe off any excess with a clean rag. Fit the hinge leaves back together and tap the pin into place. Check all hinged movement to see if any squeaking still remains. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for all affected industrial hinges.
Step 4 - Test for Hinge Misalignment
When some industrial hinges still squeak despite having been cleaned and lubricated, it is usually due to improper alignment when they were first installed. In this case, uninstall the moving parts that the hinges are holding in place and inspect them at eye level to check for misalignment. This misalignment is usually minor. It can often be corrected with your hammer and screwdriver. Carefully tap each leaf of the hinge either upwards or downwards until you see the moving parts line up correctly. It is best done in small increments. Visually check for improved alignment, then reattach all components.