Whoever was in charge of silencing squeaky hinges when our house was built must have had a ready supply of dry graphite. Every door in the place was lubed with it. If you love the look of fine black dust on your doors, hinges, moldings and floors then graphite is your product. Otherwise, I would try to avoid it.
Once the graphite is on the hinges, it’s tough to get rid of. My neighbor went so far as to replace all the hinges on all his doors. Here’s my solution. This takes a while, but be patient. If you don’t get the graphite out, you’ll end up doing it again. I’ve found that attacking one room at a time works pretty well and I usually try to do it before I paint the room.
Arm yourself with some rags, rubbing alcohol, q-tips and vinyl gloves. A hammer and a nail set works well for removing the hinge pins. I found it easiest to pour the rubbing alcohol into a disposable container to avoid contaminating the whole bottle.
Warning – if you rub latex paint repeatedly with a rag soaked with rubbing alcohol, it will remove some of the paint, so be prepared to do touch up.
Place a drop cloth or a newspaper below the hinges to catch any graphite dust. Put on a pair of vinyl gloves and wet a rag with rubbing alcohol. Wipe down the hinges with the rag and remove the hinge pins using the hammer and nail set. Remove the door and clean the hinges and hinge pins with rubbing alcohol. The q-tips work well for getting inside the hinges.
Once the hinges and pins are thoroughly clean, lubricate them. I have found Liquid Wrench Lubricant to work well. I wipe a small amount on all the metal parts that will touch and then put some on the pins before reinstalling.
Once everything is back together, use a dry cloth to remove any excess lubricant from the hinges. Any graphite remaining on the door or moldings can be removed with a rag and rubbing alcohol.