Earthquake Latches for Cabinets





Introduction: Earthquake Latches for Cabinets

A friend who lived through a major earthquake in Southern California complained that one of the worst scenarios in her home was all the stuff falling out of her kitchen cabinets - cooking oil, wine, vinegar - all mixed in with broken glass and dishware. Sure, you could jab a piece of wood through the door pulls but how ugly and inconvenient would that be? I wanted a device that could be operated with one hand and had minimal visual impact. This is what I came up with . . .

Step 1: Take Measurements


  • the distance between door pulls
  • the diameter of the stem of the door pull
  • how much clearance you have between the door and the door pull

Step 2: Design Your Custom Safety Latch

Once I created the design I took the schematic to TAP Plastics and had them fabricated a bunch of these for my kitchen out of 1/8" clear plexi. I chose plexi so they would have a minimal presence and not be a visual distraction. Depending on the decor of your kitchen you could also use wood or colored plastic.

Step 3: Installation

To install simply unfasten the bottom screw from the back of the door and pivot out the door pull. Slip the fabricated safety latch in place and re-fasten. Voila! Now you are ready in the event of an earthquake . . . well, at least as far as the stuff in your cabinets is concerned.

Step 4: Doors With Only One Handle . . .

For doors with one door handle I installed little latches from under the cabinet.



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Simply brilliant! If you have a flush to the wall cabinet that needs a latch that can take a hook & eye style - setting the eye in the wall with Dowman's Rock hard Water Putty works - 5 years now and no wobbling loose.