What is the best way of fixing a door that keeps swinging closed?

My bathroom door won't stay in the "full open position", which is becoming more than an annoyance.

The problem became worse recently. My 9-year-old nephew was going to use the bathroom and I could hear him slamming the door a couple times trying to get it to close. After that I found a small piece of wood on the floor. It was a thin piece of wood, like part of one of those paddle sticks used to stir pain. I don't know if that was put somewhere (maybe near the hinges?) by the contractors at some point to prevent the door to swing closed.

Regardless of that mysterious piece of wood, what would be the best (by Do-It-Yourself standards) way of fixing a door that keeps swinging closed?

To clarify, the door closes well and stays closed. But when you leave it open, no matter the angle (sometimes even with the "full opened" angle/position), it slowly goes almost to the "closed" position. It doesn't shut closed by itself. It remains ajar, which is what increases our chances of us bumping into it.

  • Have you tightened the hinge screws? With the hinge screws tight, please describe the gap at the doorknob side and the top of the door. (Is the gap consistent, or variable? Tight, or wide?) Nov 17, 2017 at 14:53
  • It sounds like the wall is out of plumb (or the jamb has shifted in the wall). Use a long level to check plumb on the wall and jamb at several locations and report your findings.
    – isherwood
    Nov 17, 2017 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


You described two problems. One, the door not latching closed easily; two, the door swinging closed by itself. These may or may not be related. ...

1) If the latch and latch hole in the frame do not line up horizontally, then you may need to adjust the position of the latch hole and/or file the hole in the metal latch guide to enlarge it slightly. A Dremmel or similar tool is very handy for this repair.

2) If the latch and latch hole in the frame do not line up vertically, then the two problems can likely be fixed with shims behind the middle and the upper or lower hinges, depending on whether the door latch needs to move up or down.

  • 2a) If you shim to where the latch works but the door is still moving by itself you can put a hammer to the hinge pins to give them a slight bend - they can handle a pretty good blow and the bend is barely noticeable. This will put a small amount of resistance in the hinges to keep the door open.

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