Door Handle Keeps Sticking – What To Do?

A sticky or stiff door handle can make opening or closing doorways inconvenient. Replacing the handle can be a good solution, but you might not want to deal with extra expenses at the moment. So what can you do to fix a door handle that keeps sticking? We gathered information from the experts to assist you with this problem.

Reestablishing the proper serviceability of a door handle needs a proper assessment of the issue. Some of the causes of door handle sticking are faulty or worn hardware. Adjusting the door handle may also restore some of its functionality, and here are the steps to do it:

  1. Remove the handle from the door.
  2. Separate the base from the spindle shaft carefully.
  3. Adjust the screws by tightening or loosening them, depending on your needs.
  4. Reattach the handle to the door.

Aside from the issues mentioned above, unclean internal mechanisms may also play roles in reducing a door handle’s usability. Therefore, cleaning the hardware may aid with the unsticking. Continue reading to learn the details of how to restore the functionality of a door handle that sticks frequently.

Assembly of lock with handles and latch for a door, Door Handle Keeps Sticking - What To Do?

Why Does My Door Handle Keep Sticking?

One of the most common causes for sticking door handles is a faulty tubular latch. This spring-assisted mechanical part keeps doorways closed. If it functions properly, the latch will pass through the handle’s follower or will turn a metal disc to open or close the door. However, obstructions can get into this instrument, causing it to become sticky.

A man opening the door

Another reason why your door handle might fail is that the system is worn. Frequent use and old age can reduce the functionality of a door handle. Taking the system apart and replacing certain parts might be a viable and long-term solution if you encounter this problem.

In some instances, sticky or stiff handles are the result of unclean hardware. A relatively quick and straightforward cleaning operation might aid in restoring the proper functionality of some door handles.

How Do You Make A Door Handle Easier To Turn?

Man fix door lock

Door handles can become tough to turn because they become either loose or stiff. Although these issues are dissimilar, most of the steps required to fix the handle are relatively similar.

Take note that adjusting a door handle may only need a screwdriver or Allen wrench. If you have one of those tools ready, the next phase of this repair project is to follow the guide below:

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Remove the handle from the door. Search for the set screw (not the exposed screw), which is generally in a location facing the inside of the door. Use a screwdriver or Allen wrench for this step.
  2. Take away the door handle’s base by separating it from the spindle shaft. Take note that you should practice care and patience when removing the ring with a flathead screwdriver. Otherwise, you might put the unwanted risk of damaging the back plate.
  3. Tighten or loosen the set of screws that run from the back plate’s internals to its exterior.
  4. Return the ring to the back plate and reinstall the handle to the spindle shaft.
  5. Turn the handle while ensuring that the holes line up with the hole in the door.
  6. Apply a suitable amount of pressure to hear a ‘click’ that signifies the handle is back and secure in place.
  7. Test the door handle if it’s still loose or stiff.

You might encounter some difficulty in removing the door handle. If so, read this post as it may help you solve the issue: How To Remove A Door Knob From The Outside?

Also, some door handle models won't require you to remove them from the door. If you have one of those models, watch the video below for you to be guided with the adjustments.

How Do You Clean A Sticky Door Knob?

The correct steps to cleaning a sticky doorknob generally depend on the material of the product. Using incorrect cleaning solutions can do more harm than good to the system.

Keep in mind that many doorknobs have either copper, solid brass, or stainless steel constructions. The instructions below will help you clean sticky doorknobs made with those materials.

Cleaning A Copper Or Solid Brass Door Knob

It's important to note that you shouldn't use abrasives or rough polishing solutions to clean copper or solid brass doorknobs. Using abrasives or rough waxes might chip or remove the brass plating, damaging the hardware.

Aside from using mild commercial products, you can also use a DIY solution to clean a brass or copper doorknob. Proceeding with this home repair project requires the following items and instructions:

What You’ll Need

  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • Cloth or paper towel
  • Bowl
  • ½ lemon

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Mix the flour, vinegar, and salt in a bowl until the blend achieves a paste-like consistency.
  2. Dip a cloth or paper towel into the mixture and clean the different parts of the door knob.
  3. Cut a lemon in half (if you haven’t already). Then, rub a small amount of salt at the exposed pulp.
  4. Rub the lemon on the door knob parts to help remove dust, dirt, and bacteria.
  5. Use another clean piece of cloth or paper towel to remove residue left by the lemon.

Cleaning A Stainless Steel Door Knob

Like cleaning a copper or solid brass doorknob, restoring the looks and functionality of stainless steel hardware for doors needs the right guidance and products. For instance, remember the following before attempting to clean a stainless steel doorknob:

  • Don’t use oven cleaners.
  • Avoid using abrasives and steel wool.
  • Steer clear from using chlorine bleach or cleaning products with chloride.
  • Don’t clean stainless steel while it’s warm.

After understanding these precautions, here are the materials to gather and the steps to follow for this cleaning operation:

What You’ll Need

  • Mild liquid detergent
  • Cloth
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Bowls
  • Club soda

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Pour a reasonable amount of mild liquid detergent into a bowl and mix it with water.
  2. Dip a clean cloth in the soapy solution, and wipe it on the stainless steel door knob.
  3. Remove stubborn gunk or residue by mixing equal parts of vinegar and olive oil in a separate bowl.
  4. Use another clean cloth and dip it in club soda. Rub the door knob and its different parts until they're spotless.

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How Do You Use WD-40 On A Door Handle?

Using WD-40 on a door handle is a fairly straightforward task. The steps for this quick job include:

  1. Clean and remove as much filth as you can from the door handle.
  2. Use the WD-40 on the door handle’s mechanisms.

Remember, WD-40 is a water-displacing product. Therefore, don't use other solutions, particularly oil-based mixtures, as the concoctions can stiffen the handle further. Read the following post to learn more about this water-displacing product: Should You Spray WD-40 In A Lock?

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Final Thoughts

Before repairing a sticky door handle, you should know the main cause of the problem. Issues like worn hardware and unclean mechanisms require dissimilar steps for you to arrive at the correct solution.

Additionally, pay close attention to the door handle’s material. Using the wrong cleaning product may result in damaging the handle’s parts.

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