A self-closing hinge is a type of hinge designed to pull a door shut after it has been opened and released. The installation of these hinges is especially common on kitchen cabinets, so that busy cooks do not need to manually close doors with dirty hands, although bathrooms, some doors, and gates also utilize hinges that self-close.
Just like a conventional hinge, a basic self-closing hinge consists of two pieces of metal joined by a pin which allows them to rotate away from each other so that the a door can be opened. A self-closing one, however, is spring mounted, so that after the door is opened and gently pushed, the spring will pull the hinges back together again and close it. There are a number of variations on the self-closing design, including designs which use the pull of gravity to close the hinges, but all of them are designed to work through the lifetime of the furniture without failing, as long as they are periodically oiled to keep the spring and hinge free moving.
In the kitchen, self-closing hinges are highly useful, as well as helpful for kitchen sanitation, as cooks do not need to handle the cabinet doors to close them. They are also frequently used on cabinets in other parts of the house, and will act to help keep the cabinets closed. The mechanism can also be used on doors, to help control access or to keep the doors closed except when someone is passing through. Many hospitals and clinics use self-closing hinges on their doors to help ensure privacy and to prevent the transmission of disease. Some farms also install these hinges on their gates, to minimize livestock escapes.
When seeking out a self-closing hinge for a door, it is generally a good idea to find a hinge in a finish that matches the rest of the room. Just like regular hinges, self-closing ones can be found in brass, steel, copper, and a variety of other metals, and are also painted or coated in an assortment of colors. If you are replacing an existing hinge with a self-closing hinge, try to find one with holes which closely match the existing hinge, so that you will not have to make more holes in the door to replace the hinge. If you are building a cabinet from scratch with a self-closing hinge configuration, make sure to install the correct number for the height of the cabinet, to keep the weight of the door supported while it is used.