How To Remove a Key Stuck in The Lock

You are in hurry to open your door’s lock as you forgot some important files at home, and in the haste, you inserted the key and turned it so hard that it got stuck in the lock or broken in the half. What to do now?

It happens with us all, but the common thing is, it happens when we run short of time, we are in haste, and rushing towards opening the door’s lock.

Let’s leave it for some other time why it happens, and the top factors to consider in preventing such scenarios. Let’s move ahead into fixing and catering to such situations.

Well, such situations are no doubt inconvenient and make you feel helpless, but there are ways if you learn them and master them, I am sure you will take any of them into use and solve the problem.

You can follow the mentioned methods to remove the key stuck in the lock.

related: garage door opener reviews

Why does the key get stuck in the lock?

Several factors take part in making your key get stuck in the lock.

The most prominent reason is, that may be your key is new, it has rough edges, and its rough edges latch and get hooked with the inside locking mechanism, especially locking pins.

It is not like this happens in the lock locks and keys. It can happen in a way to lock too.

The old locks with loose plugs, would not turn easily and completely.

Here the pins don’t pull back completely and correctly, or the plug does not stay in the right position.

If any of them happens, the key would not turn on in the lock and gets stuck, if you try to apply more pressure, it may break inside the lock.

6 ways to remove a key stuck in the lock

As I mentioned the top reasons why the key is stuck in the lock.

This section will help you go through the top methods that you can follow to remove that key easily, don’t apply way too much pressure, or it will break inside the lock, doubling your trouble.

1. Spray Dry Lubricants

This method is specific for the new key and lock. So, apply this method if you have a new key stuck in the lock.

Keep in mind, with a new key and lock, if you apply little pressure, the rough edges that take part in making the key stuck can be loosened, and you may get the key removed if it is a new key and lock.

Don’t apply way too much pressure, it can lead to a broken key. And don’t use the pressure if the key and lock are old, I am sure you don’t want more trouble here.

If applying the force too did not work for you, then take a dry lubricant and spray on the lock.

You can have a Houdini spray or some other sprays, anything that could easily be accessed.

Spray some of the lubricants into the lock, the steam of the spray, most of it, should go into the space above the key.

If a good amount of spray and steam has been gone into the space, then carefully shake it.

Shake it down, and try to free the key. Don’t move the key from side to side, it will take more space, and get more stuck into the lock.

Chances are that you will be able to set the key free from the lock.

But, if it does not happen, don’t go too far in shaking the lock, the key can get broken into it, and your task will be more difficult. Most of the time, the dry lubricants set the key free.

Now when you got your key back, look carefully into the uneven edges.

Use a fine file to smoothen the edges, you can also contact a local locksmith, and ask him to remove or smoothen the uneven edges of the key.

If you don’t want to even the edges, as you don’t have time, you can apply some grease on the key as well as on the lock.

With the grease applied to the key, chances are, the key would not stick in the lock for the next time.

But, if it gets stuck again, the better it would be that you even the edges of the key.

2. Graphite Powder

If the above-mentioned method did not work for you, and the key is still stuck in the lock, graphite powder comes to rescue you. It is an excellent lubricant, and easily accessible in tube form.

The thing you have to do is squeeze the tube in the lock, don’t over-use, you require a tiny amount. If the tiniest quantity reaches the stuck key, your job will be done.

Now, shake the key gently to ensure that the graphite lubricant has filled in the lock.

Once that’s done, gently pull the key out, I am sure this method will work for you.

Again, you don’t require to squeeze out all the graphite lubricant in the tube.

It requires the tiniest amount, try not to mess your hands with the lubricant.

If possible, use disposable gloves, and don’t indulge your fingers or hands with the powder, squeeze the powder on the key itself.

3. Use Some Ice

If you stay in warm weather, use some ice. Well, it is not for your drinking, it is for the locked metal constructed pins.

Get some ice from nearby, and press the ice against the key for some time.

Ice you know makes the metal contacts; they shrink when the temperature goes down.

Within some time you will see the key has been freed.

4. Graphite Lead of the Pencil

If you got an old lock, and it makes the key stuck into it, almost every time, you can use graphite powder as a lubricant to remove it.

But what if you don’t have a graphite powder, you can use graphite inside the pencil.

This too is a natural lubricant and helps easily remove the key stuck inside the lock.

Carefully rub the pencil lead on the key, and you will see things changing within seconds.

 5. Pull the Plug out

If it is a pin tumbler lock, an older one, the plug of the key with time gets shaky and goes inside the cylinder of the lock.

With time, the key plug shifts inside the cylinder misaligning the pin tumbler with the cylinder.

If it is your case, the key plug has been misplaced and shifted inside, your key can gets trapped in it, and its edges can dislodge against the pins of the locks.

In this case, you should push the key fully into the keyhole, and rotate it until the keyhole comes to its original place.

Once you got the original place of the keyhole, now insert the key and you will see the cylinder and pin tumbler are aligned, and you will open the lock right away.

6. Seek help from an expert

I am sure one of the methods would work for you and you will be able to remove the key stuck in the lock.

But what if nothing works for you? What if the key is broken inside?

The only thing you can do at some points is to hire professional expertise or take the assistance of an expert.

You can call a professional locksmith; they know what to do with which type of a lock.

With the help of a professional, you can easily dislodge the key from the lock.

Sometimes, the locksmith has to break your lock by force, if this happens in your case, you have to install a new lock right away.

Why is my key stuck in the lock?

A key gets stuck in the lock for more than one reason. Maybe your key and lock are new with aggressive, uneven edges that get dislodged with the key pins inside the housing.

Or, maybe you put way too much pressure while turning on the key. It can happen if the lock is very held and its pins get jammed with the key grooves.

What if the key breaks inside the door?

If you go very hard on your key and do excessive twisting prying, the stuck key inside the lock can break inside.

That can make the situation worse, if that happens with you, you can still use some options, there are some DIY options to help you remove the key and then open the door.

First, slick the key’s hole with a lubricant, give it some moment and then fetch the visible end of the key using needle-nose pliers.

If you have nothing to extract the broken visible part of the key, you can use dedicated broken key extractors.

These extractors are designed for different sizes and types of locks.

You can choose the right size and type of your lock, and easily fetch out the stuck part of the key inside the lock.

How to remove the wrong key stuck in the lock?

I am not saying you were trying to steal from someone by inserting a wrong key.

I am saying, maybe you did not know the right key for your door or closet and you inserted the wrong one and it got stuck into the lock.

Well, if you inserted the wrong key, your first impression should be not trying very hard, and pulling it back. But if it got stuck before you could take it out this is the situation created.

Well, above mentioned methods are applicable here too. As the key is wrong, the key pins would not accept it for opening the lock, it just got stuck due to aggressive edges or grooves of the keys.

The thing you should do is apply graphite, and lubricant powder, to make the key leave the dislodged part of the lock.

To prevent such situations, especially the wrong key, you can buy a color-identifier.

This identifier goes around the head of the key, you mark with a varnish to differentiate the right color matching the right lock.


If it happens with you frequently, your car sticking into the lock, maybe that’s the time you should fix the issue.

Or you will end up sometime breaking it into the lock, which can lead to more difficult situations.

Try to lubricant your key, use natural oil so that its edges go even, and make you instantly open the lock.

If the key is stuck into the lock already, we have elaborated more than one method in detail, you can follow any to get things rolled smoothly.

But, if none of them is working for you, you can still call a locksmith.

It is always recommended that before you use some destructive method to open the door or remove a key, call a locksmith, he/she knows better the lock and will surely help you remove the key or open the lock.

Jonathan Perry

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