Have you ever been locked out of your house or room, got stuck in somebody else’s room, or unable to open your cabinet because the key has been misplaced or broken?
Indeed, it’s very frustrating not being able to gain immediate access. More so if there’s an emergency and you need to get in or get out but the door’s locked!
The good news is, that there is a way to deal with this unfortunate situation, and that is by learning how to open a door without a key.
Read on to learn more about these techniques.
How To Open A Door Without A Key
Some of these techniques are simply genius while others can be desperate measures! Whatever may be the case, no door can remain unlocked for too long with any of these proven-and-tested techniques.
Technique #1. Using A Credit Card
This is one of the simplest techniques to open a door without a key. It works best with doors that have a spring lock and latch bolts. It cannot be used for doors with deadbolts.
Make sure that the credit card you will be using to open the door is one that you’re not using anymore because it may get broken or damaged in the process. A somewhat pliable card will work best. It will allow you to bend and wiggle the card into the tightest gaps.
Insert the card in the gap between the door frame and the lock. Push the lock toward the door by bending the card backward. In most cases, this can open a locked door.
However, there are instances when the door has no gap between its frame and the lock. In this case, try inserting the card at any point above the lock between the door and its frame. Next, quickly swipe the card downward, while also pulling the credit card toward the door frame until the door unlocks.
If the angled end of the latch bolt is facing you, use a credit card to pop it open by applying pressure on the angled end. When the card slides between the latch bolt and the doorjamb, twist the doorknob and open the door.
Technique #2. Using A Paperclip Or Eyeglass-Repair Screwdriver
Have you ever been stuck inside a room with an interior lock? Bathroom and bedroom doors generally use interior door locksets for privacy. However, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be opened or unlocked.
Just look for a tiny hole on the door knob’s face. This can often be found on the non-locking side of the door. There is a small button inside the tiny hole that you must push to open the door.
Try inserting an improvised key, like an unbent paperclip or tiny eyeglass-repair screwdriver, into the hole and push it to unlock the door.
Some interior locks will require inserting the tool and twisting to unlock. In this case, you can use a tiny screwdriver. If you don’t have one, use a hammer to flatten the tip of the paperclip and use it instead.
Technique #3. Removing The Doorknob With A Screwdriver
A screwdriver can be used to remove the doorknob and dismantle the lock. This can help open a locked interior door.
If the screws of the doorknob are exposed, you can simply pull them out with a screwdriver before disassembling the door knob and lock.
However, if there are no visible screws on the knob, you need to take the knob apart to see the mounting screws. Pull out the screws so you can get to the locking mechanism. The last step is to move the latch away from the doorjamb to unlock the door. Check out this video on how to remove a doorknob lock without any visible screws.
Properly dismantling the doorknob will make it easier for you to put the parts back into their proper position after unlocking the door.
Technique #4. Using A Wire Clothes Hanger
This technique can be used to open doors with a latch bolt locking mechanism.
- Start by cutting a length of wire from a clothes hanger and use it to open the angled end when it’s facing away from you.
- Make a small hook by bending one end of the wire and pushing it between the edge of the door and the doorjamb.
- Hook the straightened wire around the latch bolt.
- Use one hand to hold the wire and turn open the doorknob with the other while pulling the wire toward you at the same time. The latch will be forced to retract as pressure is applied causing the knob to turn so the door can be opened.
Technique #5. Picking The Lock
While this technique can work on any type of lock, you need to be familiar with the parts of the lock and how they work. Picking the lock mimics how the key works. The tools you will be using include an Allen wrench and bobby pin or paperclip.
- Start by inserting the shorter end of the Allen wrench into the lower part of the keyhole.
- Slightly turn the Allen wrench toward the direction that the door key is supposed to turn to. Make sure to apply some pressure to the wrench while doing this.
- Hold the wrench in place and insert a bobby pin or paper clip into the keyhole. You are now in the process of picking the lock.
- Gently move the bobby pin or paperclip back upward. If this doesn’t open the door, move the bobby pin or paperclip in a circular motion while gently increasing pressure on the Allen wrench.
- Exert more pressure each time you repeat the motion until the door lock shifts. When that happens, maintain the pressure and continue moving the pin or clip in a circular motion until the door opens.
If you are unable to open the door using these steps, try picking the lock, pin by pin. While exerting a slight and steady pressure on the Allen wrench, gradually push the clip or pin in. As it makes contact with a pin, lift it upward until it clicks. Repeat the procedure on the additional pins until the door unlocks.
If you have tried the above techniques on how to open a door without a key and remains unsuccessful, here are some ‘desperate measures’ to help get yourself out of the situation.
A word of advice: You should try the above methods (they are safer!) first before resorting to these ‘desperate measures’.
Technique #6. Removing The Hinges
This technique is one of the more extreme measures that you may resort to when you can’t unlock a door. Compared to other ‘desperate measures’, removing the hinges using a flathead screwdriver and mallet helps you open the door without causing any damage.
The screwdriver is inserted into the hinge between the knuckle (top or bottom depending on the location of the pinhead) and the pinhead. Next, tap the handle of the screwdriver with the mallet to loosen the pinhead. Once this is done, pull out the pin.
The same process will be used on all the hinges. Make sure that the pins are securely set aside. Once all the pins are removed, gently push the door open.
If you have a hard time removing the pins, try forcing each one out using a Phillips head screwdriver.
Technique #7. Drilling The Lock
This technique is ideal for a jammed lock. You will need a drill, flathead screwdriver, and lubricant.
First, try to drill over the keyhole so you will know which drill bit/s you should use. Next, lubricate the drill bits before you start the drilling process. This can help the bits cut their way through the metal.
Take note that drilling a hole through the lock or knob will destroy the pins.
Once the drill bit has reached the locking mechanism, pry open the lock’s internal cylinder by inserting the flathead screwdriver into the hole that’s newly drilled and twisting open the lock. Drilling can damage the lock, but you won’t need to buy a new door.
It’s recommended to try drilling the lock itself before resorting to drilling around it.
In case the door remains locked, you can go more extreme by drilling around the lock. Loosen the lock by drilling a few spots of the wood, before pushing the door open. Removing a jammed lock this way can damage the door so you need to buy a new one.
Technique #8. Using A Hammer
If there’s an emergency and you are locked in or you need to get inside the house, you can use a hammer to annihilate the lock. Repeatedly bash the doorknob or lock downward until it breaks free from the door.
Having a spare key securely hidden somewhere can help prevent being locked out or locked in. However, if you don’t have a key, there are several ways to open a locked door.
The techniques can range from the most simple, like using a credit card or paperclip, to the most extreme measures such as removing the hinges to breaking down the lock using a hammer.
But if you have the luxury of time, you can always consider getting a locksmith to open the door.