This $4 Hack Keeps Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors From Slamming

published May 16, 2019
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If I admire one home design advancement, it just might be the advent of soft-close. You never realize how annoying slamming toilet lids and cabinet doors are until you experience the calm relief of closing those things quietly. This invention is so ubiquitous now that you can even get refrigerators with soft-close drawers—which, frankly, is a little gimmicky… but I still like mine.

What if you have cabinets that date back to the time before this common upgrade? When I visit my parents I’m guaranteed there’s no sleeping in. Their lovely, custom-made cabinets pre-date all things soft-close, so when morning coffee time comes I’m awoken by slamming doors as they get their cups. No one is intentionally making a racket—that’s just what cabinet doors do, barring any preventative measure.

But hope isn’t lost. There’s an easy, inexpensive fix to skip the slamming.

When we redid our kitchen last year I scored inexpensive cabinets by buying them from an employee at the manufacturer who took home trial models. (I wanted white Shaker style; they had just added white as an option, so mine are the ones they tested the paint on—a steal at $50 each!) The paint looked fine. The drawback? They weren’t soft-close.

As much as l love our new kitchen, every time I closed the cabinet doors I flinched. Same with the island; we splurged on a custom-built one so we could get the exact size and look we wanted, but didn’t specify soft-close on the doors. My poor dogs would jump every time we forgot and let the doors slam.

(Image Credit: Home Depot)

If you can’t replace your entire set of kitchen cabinets with upgraded hinges, you’re not out of luck. Home Depot comes to the rescue with a $4 answer to our cabinet slamming woes: a cabinet door damper you mount inside the door. Voila! No more slam.

I was a little skeptical. Soft-close is such a nice upgrade. Would something that costs less than five bucks get me the same effect? In a word—yep.

If you have a drill and five minutes, you’re golden. I asked my husband to install these, since he’s the one in the house who’s been using a drill since he was a kid. I watched in amazement when he mounted the damper on the frame inside the door lickety-split, then tapped the door to close it and… no slam!

The dampers have a little squishy end that retracts slowly as the door closes on it. It couldn’t be more basic, but it totally does the trick. Now, I have one little complaint with the installation: The hole for the screw is placed in a way that makes it awkward to properly angle your drill bit. If it could be a shade higher, installation would go smoother and easier.

You will want to do a pilot hole with this project. Drill a small hole where you plan to fasten the damper before actually inserting the screw.

But that’s it. We only have a couple of base cabinets and the island—team open shelving over here—so my husband worked on all the cabinets while we were making dinner. And then I ran around opening doors just to enjoy the no-slam closing.

Maybe I’ll order some to send to my folks’ house.