When my windows are open, the wind can slam the bathroom door shut. I don't want this to happen when my cat is in the doorway (dead cat), or inside the bathroom with no one home (locked in with nowhere to pee). I want the door fully closeable when someone is using the bathroom though.

Right now I have a book as a door stop, but it is easy to forget to put it back in place. Anything else that needs to be enabled manually (like those door stop things that swing down) is also no good.

I want a way to keep the door ajar by at least a few inches unless someone is inside and manually overrides it, but then after they open the door it resets and failsafe holds it open again. I'm imagining some kind of spring-loaded arm with a rubber foot attached to the door, but there might be a no-brainer solution I'm not thinking of.

In other words, a person can disengage the stop in order to close the door, but as soon as they open the door enough to leave the room, the stop is engaged again automatically.


18 Answers 18


I am not a contractor, and this is a real do it yourself type approach. This is provided at your own risk, and I assume no liability for damage.

The only thing I can think of that is going to auto reset in the way you've described is a device powered by gravity. Everything else ( anti-kick devices installed backwards, anti slam devices) either won't allow the door to close or need to be manually reset.

I picture a small piece of plate steel rather than wood, for durability, that has a hole bored in it, along the top edge, perhaps in the center, perhaps 1/4" - 1/2".

Through this hole pass a bolt whose body is less than the hole size, but whose head is too large to pass through (you'll likely end up with 1/16" or 1/8" clearance on the inside of the hole, which should be fine. You'd want to use a bolt that is threaded right to the head as opposed to those that are only partly threaded. You might need to scratch your head a little to get the bolt length right, but I'm thinking that a 5" bolt with 1" into the wall might be enough (remember that at the corner of the door the gap will be much more than 4").

You will also require a self locking nut for this bolt, some washers and some sort of threaded hole you can install into your door frame (there are hammer in threads available, just make sure you plan ahead size wise, some people would just hammer in a nut).

To support this contraption, I picture a wire back to the wall, but a firm brace like a piece of rod or wood could also be used. The brace should look like an upside down triangle when it's installed.

Drill a hole in the top of your door frame, within an easy reach of the door handle (you'll need to reach it to get out of the room), and install the threading. Make sure that you leave enough room for the plate to swing upside down and still clear the door.

Place the loop of wire/support rod on the bolt next to the head.

Place a washer on the bolt and pass it through the plate. Place a washer on the bolt (so that the washers are sandwiching the plate) and put the nut onto the bolt, so that the washers and plate are close, but not firm (if it's too firm, it's too hard to swing it out of your way).

If the door blows closed, the nut will prevent the plate from sliding back to the door frame and thus striking your pet.

When you want to open the door, you swing it open (the plate is between the door and the jam).

When you DON'T want the door to close, do nothing, (the plate's in the way) and gravity will reset the material.

When you DO want to close the door, swing the piece of material out of the way and close the door. When you want to get back out, you'll have to push the plate out of the way again, and leave, gravity resets.

Ok so that's really a lot of text, but it's a diy description ...

I personally think it's easier to use an anti-slam device and put it somewhere remarkably annoying so you can't forget it. Something like this, put over your sink faucet while you use the washroom. They come in really big foam finger style designs, that would probably help give your pet time to get out of the way or prevent some injury.

The first anti slam I found on google images


What about a magnetic door stop combined with a stay open spring hinge?

Such as this one from Home Hardware

Found on google image

  • 3
    This requires you to open the door all the way so that it meets the magnet, though
    – endolith
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 20:50
  • 5
    @endolith: If there is space in the frame, you can throw your door slightly out of plumb with a washer behind the hinge. Then when it's a little open, it will fall all the way open to the magnetic stop.
    – BMitch
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 13:17
  • Where do you find these hinges? I think everything I've found keeps the door closed, not open
    – endolith
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 15:37
  • 1
    I think I originally googled for reverse spring hinge or stay open spring hinge.
    – Stephen
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 19:51
  • 10
    I installed one of these on our bedroom door that had a habit of self-closing, and found it was really loud when it engaged. It also took quite a lot of force on the knob to break free, to the point that the door would visibly twist. We fixed both problems by sticking a little felt disc meant for furniture legs into the magnetic cup. Still plenty of pull to keep the door open but much quieter and easier to disengage. Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 6:25

How about putting a spring on the hinges of the door?

As long as it's not a massively strong spring, the width of the door will provide plenty of leverage for even a small child to properly close the door. And the hinge plates themselves will provide a good surface for the spring ends to push against without damaging the rest of the door, the door frame, or walls.

Make sure the spring is not too weak though, or a gust of wind could still shut the door. Hopefully even a weak spring would cushion the blow so it wouldn't kill a cat in the doorway.

  • @Stephen: That's why I asked the question. My ideas seemed too elaborate.
    – endolith
    Commented Oct 26, 2011 at 15:21

Try thinking outside the box: instead of coming up with some kind of contraption to keep the door ajar, why not just install a cat flap?

  • 3
    Or teach the cat to use the toilet
    – Drew
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 18:41

I had this exact problem (cat would shut herself in the bathroom because she's too stupid to know how to pull the door open), and I solved it for $7 with weather stripping I bought from Home Depot:

enter image description here

It is 5/16" thick and 5/8" wide. I ran it vertically along the inside of the door jam right in the hinges, so when the door closes, the hinge plates compress the rubber. The rubber acts as a spring and if my 12 pound cat pushes the door closed a little, it just bounces open about a foot -- enough room for her to get out. If a human pushes it closed, it only takes a little extra force to close it all the way. This is way easier and cheaper than replacing hinges, etc, and you can install it in 10 seconds.

  • This is a great idea. I never found the right spring hinges. This seems much easier to implement. I would guess that the springiness of the foam gets ruined after a while, though? She's smart enough to open a door if it has a pull-down handle with something attached for her to grab onto and put her weight onto. :D
    – endolith
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 15:54

If the door is heavy enough and (e.g. solid wood) and its possible to fit them, then Falling hinges might be an elegant solution.


There are loads of Automatic door stops available, you're bound to find one that suits your needs.

Or you could convert the door to a Pocket Door, but that might be a bit too much work.


How much height clearance do you have? You might be able to rig a simple hold-open latch by fashioning a hook and ramp out of wood, hinging it to the wall above the door and suspending it with a string. I'll see if I can come up with a simple picture.

Simple hold-open latch

A short length of framing 2x4, some screws and hardware, a little DIY woodworking skill and a dash of paint, and you're styling.

  • I am imagining something that would work, not sure if it's the same as what you're saying. it would require you to lift a piece of wood as you close the door, and after you open it, the wood falls back into place to stop it from closing all the way.
    – endolith
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 20:51
  • That's exactly what I was thinking of; see picture. I'm sure you could find something like this pre-made, or you can make one with a few hand tools and some wood.
    – KeithS
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 20:53
  • That's not what I was imagining when I read the description. :) That's similar to the magnetic door stop, in that you have to open it all the way to engage the stop. I was imagining something that drops down from the door frame (not the wall behind the open door) to stop it from closing all the way, and you lift it up in order to get the door fully closed.
    – endolith
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 20:58
  • You could do that as well, but it'd have to be pretty thick to prevent a bisected cat.
    – KeithS
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 21:06

If you don't want your children closing the door, a magnetic door stop is too weak.

  • One solution is a gate latch mounted to the wall (if you have a wall the door stops against).
  • Another solution is a stay-closed door hinge with a 2x4 wood, in cases where the door closes against a tub. Pull wood to unlatch. Add a sheet of adhesive felt used for furniture feet for sliding (not in this picture) to the door so the wood doesn't scratch up the door.

Mount high enough so the kids can't reach.

Image of solution 2

Solution 1: Gate Latch mounted on wall and door

Image of solution 1

Solution 2: Stay-closed hinge with 2x4

Note: Unfortunately, when the kid gets older and stronger, if they push the door hard enough, the screws holding the doorhinge to the door will rip out of the door (as in my case). Thus, take caution if you use this solution.


This is what I had half-baked when asking the question:

enter image description here

It would stop the door from closing all the way, but could be pivoted out of the way to close it, but would pop back into place with a spring when the door is opened again. It would be at arm height on the side of the door.

And my misunderstanding of KeithS' answer made me think of this:

enter image description here

which is similar, but at the top of the door and reset by gravity

Wow, drawing is hard.


Are you willing/able to change the door to a sliding door?

A bead door/curtain is probably not private enough and training your cat to stay out of the bathroom isn't reliable.

There are many spring loaded hinges, door closers and dampers. You might be able to install them in reverse if you can't find a suitable product (YMMV). e.g.




Haven't read this solution yet. But why not use one of those automatic door closers seen on patios? Only in this case it would be used backwards. The device would have to be attached to the wall so that the door will always open. You only put some force when you try to close it.

here are some google images


Tie a string/rope to the center of the door and the other end to the frame or wall close to hinge side.

Make the string long enough to allow door to fully close (plus some slack).

In the middle of the string, tie a weight (be creative/decorative).

When the door is unlatched, the weight will pull and hold the door open.


A heavy rubber band from handle to handle


I think you could just attach a piece of plastic to the baseboard behind the open door. It should reach out to the point where the unhinged side of the door is at when fully open, and have some sort of jut at the end that would clip the open door in place, not allowing it to be moved. When you want to close the door, you bend the clip back a bit with your foot.

This is basically a modified version of the magnetic door stop strategy. The advantage is that it will be able to withstand a stronger gust but not require any additional strength to close the door. The magnetic door stop may work quite well though. This way will probably be a bit cheaper, since you can make it out of random pieces of plastic and some glue.


use a bolt with a spring like this (you can modify a standard bolt):

picture of bolt

Install it inside the bathroom, so if the door is open the bolt will not let it close.

  • 4
    This still allows the door to swing shut, squishing kitty.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 12:57
  • @NiallC attach magnet to outer part of door handler, so it will magnet bolt while novody in.
    – zb'
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 20:14

Have you tried changing the configuration of open windows? This can have enough effect on airflow to completely remove the problem

  • I like having them all open. I haven't really done anything about this. I just leave a boot in front of the door when I remember, and leave it wide open so it doesn't catch the wind, and the cat is big enough now that I'm not so worried about her.
    – endolith
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 23:16

Use a gate spring. Arrange it so that the door is spring loaded open and needs to be pulled shut and latched.

gate spring

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