What is a Self-Closing Hinge?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A self-closing hinge is a type of hinge designed to pull a door shut after it has been opened and released. The installation of these hinges is especially common on kitchen cabinets, so that busy cooks do not need to manually close doors with dirty hands, although bathrooms, some doors, and gates also utilize hinges that self-close.

A self-closing hinge might help to keep livestock from escaping.
A self-closing hinge might help to keep livestock from escaping.

Just like a conventional hinge, a basic self-closing hinge consists of two pieces of metal joined by a pin which allows them to rotate away from each other so that the a door can be opened. A self-closing one, however, is spring mounted, so that after the door is opened and gently pushed, the spring will pull the hinges back together again and close it. There are a number of variations on the self-closing design, including designs which use the pull of gravity to close the hinges, but all of them are designed to work through the lifetime of the furniture without failing, as long as they are periodically oiled to keep the spring and hinge free moving.

Unlike traditional hinges, self-closing ones are loaded with a spring that swings them shut.
Unlike traditional hinges, self-closing ones are loaded with a spring that swings them shut.

In the kitchen, self-closing hinges are highly useful, as well as helpful for kitchen sanitation, as cooks do not need to handle the cabinet doors to close them. They are also frequently used on cabinets in other parts of the house, and will act to help keep the cabinets closed. The mechanism can also be used on doors, to help control access or to keep the doors closed except when someone is passing through. Many hospitals and clinics use self-closing hinges on their doors to help ensure privacy and to prevent the transmission of disease. Some farms also install these hinges on their gates, to minimize livestock escapes.

When seeking out a self-closing hinge for a door, it is generally a good idea to find a hinge in a finish that matches the rest of the room. Just like regular hinges, self-closing ones can be found in brass, steel, copper, and a variety of other metals, and are also painted or coated in an assortment of colors. If you are replacing an existing hinge with a self-closing hinge, try to find one with holes which closely match the existing hinge, so that you will not have to make more holes in the door to replace the hinge. If you are building a cabinet from scratch with a self-closing hinge configuration, make sure to install the correct number for the height of the cabinet, to keep the weight of the door supported while it is used.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


We would like to remove a door temporarily that has a self closing hinge on it. We are moving and the movers are coming through this door. It would be great to remove the door temporarily. Could you please advise how to do this? Many thanks.


can we adjust the force that applied on locking mechanism? i need that mechanism in a project work.


I want to put self closing hinges on heavy external doors. Do I need to have four on each door as I currently have four normal hinges or will it work with just one at the top?


I need to know where I can find how to adjust a spring type door hinge. I have the hex-L key and can see where the key goes and that it may take some time playing around with the adjusting, but that's all I know!

Thank you... a 70 + year old barmaid...tee-hee


I am in need of a self closing self latching mechanism for a tall storage cabinet. I have 7 or so built into a wall made of 18ga steel, 22" deep and 85H with glass doors on both sides. It needs to be such that when one side of the door is open, the other side can not be open. Has anyone done this before?

Post your comments
Forgot password?