Can You Open a Locked Door Without a Key?

A Woman Opens The Door Holding The Handle, Hand Close-up. White

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So you’ve locked yourself out of the house. It happens to everyone, eventually. You’ve checked all doors and windows, hoping to find one unlocked, to no avail. You’ve remembered that none of your neighbors or family members have a key. You’re not keen on the idea of breaking a window and explaining yourself to your insurance company. 

What now? 

Most of us have grown up seeing depictions in films and television of characters jimmying locks using hairpins, credit cards, or other devices. It seems so easy on the screen. Can it really be done in real life? 

The answer is: “That depends.” Following are several methods to try in figuring out how to open a locked door without a key.

Related: How To Prevent, And Protect, Yourself From Getting Locked Out Of Your House

How To Open A Locked Door Without A Key

The easiest doors to open are interior doors. These doors are usually less focused on actually securing a room and more focused on simply providing a bit of privacy. Because of this, they can typically be opened with simple instruments. 

Most interior doors come with some sort of key. This is designed for the door’s specific lock mechanism. However, if you don’t have the key, most interior doors can be opened with something else, something that mimics the key in some way. 

Many can be opened with anything straight. This can be a flattened-out paperclip, a very small screwdriver, or anything that will remain straight when you put it into the lock. To unlock the door, simply take your improvised instrument and push it into the lock until you hear a click. 

The other most common type of interior door lock is one that doesn’t have a keyhole. Instead, the outside of the doorknob has a flat depression in it. You can use a coin or flat-head screwdriver to turn this and unlock the door. 

If all else fails, you can usually open interior doors by actually removing the doorknob from the door. You will need a screwdriver and some strength or a power drill. Once you remove the doorknob, the door will have nothing keeping it closed, and you can enter the room. Just make sure you’ve exhausted your other options first, as you don’t want to just tear apart your door for no real reason. 

White door opened a little bit

Unlock the Door With a Bobby Pin

You may have seen people on cartoons and other TV shows unlock a door with a bobby pin. You may have even thought that doing so was confined to the world of fiction. However, it is completely possible. 

First, find a bobby pin. The pin you use should be thin and flexible. It also needs to be small enough to fit into the door’s lock. Once you have the pin, insert it into the lock and move it back and forth. This is a raking technique that attempts to push the lock’s pins into place and, in doing so, unlock the door. It doesn’t always work, but there is always a chance it will. 

Don’t have an extra set of keys but want to stop a lockout before it happens? Learn more about our services and how we can help prevent this annoying situation!

Use a Knife to Open the Door

If you don’t have a bobby pin on hand, you can also use a knife to open a door. Just make sure to use a butter knife, not something sharper. Also, practice proper knife safety. You don’t want to end up injuring yourself while doing this technique. Plus, a butter knife is the type of knife most suited for the job. 

Start by working the knife into the lock. Stick it into the lock as far as it will go. Then, move the knife from side to side, applying a little tension as you do so. The goal here is to click the pins of the lock into place, just like with the bobby pin method. If you are successful, you may hear the lock make an audible click as it opens. 

Related: “I’m Locked Out Of My House, 🔑🏠 What Do I Do?”

Using a Credit Card

It is technically possible to open a door with a credit card, but only the simple doorknob lock. (It won’t help you breach a deadbolt.) Use a credit card you don’t care about (since it will likely bend and may even break) and force it between the lock and the door frame, flush against the frame. Bend it back, forcing the lock back into the door, and opening it. If there’s no space between the lock and the frame, you can try forcing it between the door and the frame above the lock, then swipe quickly downward while angling the card toward the frame. Using a thicker, sturdier card is probably a good idea for this latter maneuver. 

Pick the Lock

If the credit card method fails, you can try picking the lock using an Allen wrench and a paperclip. Insert the short end of an Allen wrench into the lower edge of the keyhole. Apply a small amount of pressure to turn the lock slightly in the direction the key would turn. Keep this pressure as steady as possible and use an unbent paperclip with a small crook at the end to pick the lock one of two ways. The scrubbing method involves pushing the paperclip in gently at the lower end of the keyhole, then lifting it back and upward. Repeat in a circular motion while increasing the pressure on the Allen wrench slightly each time, until you feel the lock shift. When this happens, keep the pressure steady as you repeat the motion, until the door unlocks. Alternatively, you could use the “pin by pin method” if the scrubbing method fails. This involves keeping the pressure on the Allen wrench slight and steady while you gradually push the paperclip in. When the paperclip contacts a pin, try to catch it on the bend and lift it upward until it clicks into place. Repeat with additional pins until the lock turns.

Can’t get into your home or a room because you don’t have the key? Call All United Locksmith and let us take care of it!

Call a Locksmith

Door opened into an office

If all else fails and you can’t figure out how to open a locked door without a key, it’s time to call a locksmith. With over a decade in the locksmith business, All United Locksmith is the home for all your Connecticut locksmith needs. Whether you need us for residential, commercial, automobile, or emergency locksmith purposes, we are there for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our locksmiths are the best in the business, and we guarantee only the best service. Call us at 203-901-0011 or visit our website for more information. 

Related: When To Call A Locksmith

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