how to fix a door knob

person tightening screws on a door knob
Tools Needed
1 Phillips Head Screwdriver
2 Flathead Screwdriver
3 Safety Glasses
4 Set Of Screws
Materials Needed
1 Set Of Washers
2 Oil
3 Pliers
4 Power Drill
Total Cost
Find a handyman
Estimated Time
30-45 Minutes
Skill Level: Beginner
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

oil rubbed bronze doorknob on a fiberglass door close up

At some point, almost every door knob or handle comes loose. The most common sign of a door knob that needs some attention is it starts to jiggle or pull away from the door whenever the handle is used to open or close the door.

Since they are one of the most frequently used items in a home, it shouldn’t be a surprise that handles need some attention from time to time. Luckily, fixing a loose door knob is a breeze and requires very few tools. In fact, nearly any homeowner can handle this task on their own with items they already have on hand. Here’s what you need to manage this project.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Tighten Down a Door Knob

person using a phillips head screw driver to tighten some loose screws on the door knob

If your door knob features exposed screws, the entire repair process may only take seconds to complete. Use a Phillips head screwdriver to tighten the screws by rotating them in a clockwise fashion.

This can typically be done with the door open or closed. However, if you keep the door open, you will need to put one hand on the opposite side of the door to ensure you can place suitable pressure on the screws as you tighten them. Once the screws are tightened as far as they will go, test the handle to see if it still jiggles or pulls away. If not, you’re all done! If so, you may need to tighten them further by repeating the process above.


Remove the Knob

hands twisting a door knob

If your door has hidden screws, you’ll want to open the door and should them remove the handle. First, you’ll need to locate the door knob latch, which could be on either side of the door handle depending on how it was originally installed. Generally, this is a small hole or slot, or a protruding button, that is located on the shank of the knob near the crease where the handle meets the door plate.

Once you find the latch, use a flathead screw driver to depress the button and pull the door knob straight out and off of the spindle. If your door features a small hole instead of a button or slot, you may need to use a straightened paperclip to get access to the interior button and then remove the knob by pulling it over the spindle.

Now that the door knob is removed, you’ll need to remove the trim plate or rose. Typically, there’s a small slot on the side of the plate. Place your flathead screwdriver into the slot and gently pry the plate off. Be careful regarding the amount of pressure you use. Otherwise, you may damage the surface of the door. Once the plate is loose, completely remove it by pulling it passed the spindle. You should now have access to the hidden screws.


Tighten the Back Plating

exposed door bore hole with some of the door knob hardware exposed

Now that the screws are visible, you can tighten them. Place your one hand on the back side of the door and apply pressure to the knob that is still in place. Then, use a Phillips head screwdriver to turn the exposed screws in the clockwise direction. Tighten the screws as far as they will go, taking care not to strip the screws in the process. After the back plate has been tightened, you can replace the trim plate. Simply guide it over the spindle mechanism and apply firm pressure. In most cases, it will pop back into place without much force.


Install the Door Knob or Handle

person attaching a door knob to a french door

Now that the trim plate is back in place, you can secure the door knob to the spindle. Slide the spindle into the opening on the handle, making sure it is fully seated. In some cases, the latch will re-engage automatically, depending on your handles alignment. If it doesn’t, begin rotating the handle left and right until the latch clicks into place. You’ll know this is completed successfully when the door latch starts to retract or extend as you turn the knob.

After the latch is engaged, test the door handle by closing and opening the door per usual. This allows you to confirm that everything is completely tightened and the knob should no longer be an issue. At this point, the door knob or handle should no longer be loose, meaning your project is done.


As you can see, fixing a loose door knob is a pretty easy process, even if you have hidden screws. This process can generally be repeated as necessary, allowing you to re-secure loose handles whenever the need arises.

How To Fix A Door Knob

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