08 October 2021

How to get a stuck key out of a lock

Key in lock

There are a few simple and effective ways to remove a key stuck in a lock. It’s really important to stay calm. Getting flustered and moving the key vigorously increases your risk of snapping the key and it’s very unlikely to help get the key out of the lock. So keep calm, try these tips below, and you should be able to avoid calling a locksmith!

Apply a lubricant

Keys usually get stuck in a lock because the keyhole needs to be lubricated. Keys can attract dust and lint particles from pockets and bags which then transfers to the lock each time it is used. Silicon spray can be purchased from a hardware store and is handy to keep in the cupboard for regular lock maintenance.

Use the nozzle attachment to spray directly into the top of the keyhole. Then gently wiggle the key up and down to release it. Never wiggle the key from side to side as you risk breaking the key.

Use graphite powder

Press the nozzle up to the keyhole and squeeze the plastic bottle to release puffs of powder around the key. Jiggle the key gently as you apply the graphite powder until the graphite fills the lock. Pull the key out as soon as it loosens.

Push the plug

If the plug is loose (the small section surrounding the keyway), it may move slightly within the cylinder and not allow the pin tumblers to align.

First, turn the key to the exact position it was in when the key was inserted. This ensures the pin tumblers will align to the cylinder.

Then, with your other hand, use the tip of your finger to push firmly on the face of the plug to prevent it from moving. Gently twist and pull the key out.

Key turned in lockKey in lock alignedPush the plug

Key stuck in a security door lock

Aligning the key in a security door lock

Push the plug to release the stuck key from the security door lock


If all else fails, call a locksmith.

Sliding Door Snib Lock

TIP – never keep your key in the lock as this increases your chances of snapping the key, particularly on a sliding security screen door. Instead, use the snib to lock your security door. This will activate the triple lock without deadlocking, making it safer for everyone to unlock the security door in an emergency.

More Door Lock Safety Tips are available from our security screen door supplier, CommandeX.

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