6 Ways to Remove A Key Stuck in Lock

When opening or closing the door, it can happen that the key gets stuck or even break inside the lock. Such a situation is considered to be one of the most inconvenient situations which can make you feel helpless. But luckily, there are ways how you can remove a key that gets stuck in the lock by using a few easy methods. In this article, we’ll explain how to solve this problem and prevent it to happen again. So, let’s start.

How To Remove A Key Stuck in Lock?

So How To Remove A Key Stuck in Lock? The most effective way how you can remove a key that is stuck in the lock is to spray the lock with a dry lubricant. That way the lock will free up the plug and you will be able to open the door. Other methods that you can use are graphite powder, push plug method, ice method, or by using a pencil.

Today there are plenty of ways on how you can remove a key that got stuck in a lock. The most common reason why this happens is that the problem is in a worn-out key or in an old lock. Although each of these ways that we will explain to you is unique, each has its advantages, so it is advisable to try each of them before you decide to call a professional locksmith to fix it.

Here are the 6 ways to remove a key stuck in the lock:

Methods: Short Description
1. Apply Spray LubricantJust use the lubricant and spray the liquid into the lock. That will help you to open the door.
2. Use Graphite PowderGraphite powder is also a lubricant that needs to be squeezing out so it fills the lock.
3. Use A PencilSimply rub the pencil’s lead onto the key. Graphite should act as a lubricant.
4. Use the Push Plug MethodThe push plug method is used if you notice that a small force is required to unlock the lock.
5. Use Ice on the KeyGet some ice and press it against the key for around 30 to 60 seconds.
6. Seek Help from a ProfessionalBy calling a trusted locksmith this problem will be solved in no time, but it will cost you.

We will explain each of these methods in more detail below, so keep reading. For those who want to know How to Lock a Bathroom Door Without a Lock, feel free to read this article.

Why Does A Key Stuck In Lock?

The phenomenon of a key gets stuck in the lock can occur for several reasons. And the main cause is usually the malfunction of the barrel. This means that the key can latch and get hooked on the lock pins. Sometimes it is because of poor quality. In this specific case, the cylinder must be replaced. Do not try to repair or remove your key by force. The best option here is to contact a professional locksmith. Here are all the other reasons why a key can get stuck in the lock.

The main reasons why a key can get stuck in a lock are the following:

  • The wrong key was used by mistake
  • Lock failure
  • Incorrect operation of lock
  • Broken key

Now that you know the main reasons why the key gets stuck in the lock, it is, therefore, useful to know which solution to adopt to remove the key from the lock depending on the cause of the problem. So let’s look at ways we can fix this problem.

6 Ways How To Remove A Key Stuck In Lock

1. Apply Spray Lubricant

Apply Spray Lubricant To Remove Key Stuck In Lock

If you have a new key and lock, the use of a small force could help in this situation. But what we recommend for you is to try to get a spray lubricant. The way you can use lubricant is to spray the liquid into the lock. Make sure that the liquid goes into the lock above the key. After you did that, try to gently shake the key up and down. Do not use too much force so that the key does not break or remain in the lock. This method usually works when the key remains stuck in the lock.

Note! If you have successfully removed the key from the lock, try not to use that key anymore and try replacing it with another one so that this doesn’t happen again.

2. Use Graphite Powder

Graphite Powder Can Help You With A Key That Stuck In Lock

Graphite powder is an excellent lubricant that can also be used if you find yourself in a situation where the key remains stuck in the lock. Just use the graphite powder by squeezing it out in the lock. Try shaking the stuck key until the graphite fills the lock. Once you have done that, gently pull the key out of the lock. You can find graphite powder lubricant in small bottles that are made of soft plastic. You only need to squirt a small amount of lubricant to the lock.

Extra tips for using graphite powder for lubricating a lock:

  • Get disposable gloves
  • Try to squeeze graphite powder on the key itself
  • If the lock is outside, try to do this on a calm day

3. Use A Pencil

Use A Pencil To Remove Key From Lock

If you don’t have a graphite powder, the other way you can open the lock with a key is to use a pencil! By using a pencil you can fix this problem easily. Take your key and a pencil. Then carefully rub the pencil’s lead onto the key. ‘Lead’ or graphite is a natural lubricant, and that graphite should act as a lubricant.

Note! This method is used when you can remove the key from the lock but the lock is still a problem.

4. Use the Push Plug Method

Push Plug Method To Remove Stuck Key From Lock

When it comes to pin tumbler lock, the keyhole plug is placed on a locking cylinder. When you look at it from the outside, you will notice the plug with the key and the hole. When that plug becomes shaky, it is possible to shift it within the cylinder, which prevents it from aligning with the pin tumblers. Sometimes, this can cause the key to be trapped and hard to remove.

You can solve this problem by pushing the key into the hole. Next what you need to do is to rotate the key until the keyhole returns to its previous spot (when you first inserted the key). Now you allow the cylinder and pin tumblers to align. The next step is to use a finger on your hand so you can push the plug part that is near the key. Slowly turn and pull that key towards your body. That should be it. This method can often prove sufficient to remove a jammed key from the lock.

5. Use Ice On The Key

Use Ice On The Key To Remove Stuck Key From Lock

If you are located in an area where the temperature is high, this method may work. First, you must get some ice (from a neighbor or from your own fridge). Use the ice by pressing it against the key for around 30 to 60 seconds. The cold temperature from the ice will make the metal lock contract, which will then free the stuck key from the lock. Now you can try carefully to turn the key out from the lock.

6. Call A Professional Locksmith

Call A Professional Locksmith To Remove Stuck Key From Lock

At the end of the day, if none of the above methods worked, it’s time to call a professional to do what he does best. Any attempt to use too much force if you want to remove the key can lead to even more problems. Therefore, calling a locksmith is one of the best solutions to end this problem. After all, you can even see how it’s done, so you’ll learn for the next time which is also a great thing. Interventions and repairs like this usually don’t cost much, so you don’t have to be afraid that you spend too much money.

If you want to see some example of how this looks in a real situation, check this great YouTube video where he gives some extra tips on what you can do.

How Locks Work – Explained

The modern home locks contain several movable pins where each pin consists of two parts. A top (driver) pin and bottom (key) pin, where we have a break in the middle. For the lock to turn, the breaks that are inside must line up with the shear line. On the other hand, if those breaks don’t line up, the key will not be able to turn the plug and lock or open the door.

Each pin on the lock separates at a different point. That’s why every key has its unique separations that are perfectly matched with the cuts along the lock. When there is no key in the lock, the springs that are inside the lock push those pins down so that the breaks don’t line up. But when we use the correct key, the cuts that are on the key lift those pins to the shear line, which frees the plug to rotate.

Takeaways How To Remove Stuck Key

  • Never use too much force when you are removing the key from the stuck lock.
  • The UPVC door lock is able to disengage with a stuck key inside by just lifting gently the door.
  • If you tried your best and nothing works, then call a professional locksmith to do this.

Q&A: People Also Ask

1. What Is The Price To Fix A Key Stuck In Lock?

The average price that a locksmith will charge to fix a key that is stuck in the lock is around $70. This price includes the time he spends to complete his job and the time and miles he needs to travel to get to its destination.

2. How Do You Fix A Lock That Won’t Turn?

One of the most effective methods you can use to fix a lock that wont turn is to spray a dry lubricant in the lock. That way the lock will free up the plug so you can open the door. Just use a little bit of lubricant in the keyway, and then insert the key a few times in the lock so the lubricant can get worked.


This is one of the problems which can annoy us a lot, and I believe each of us has had it. The reasons why this happens can be various, such as old locks, new keys, or something completely different. In this article, we have described several ways how you can take out your stuck key from the lock. We have also explained each of these methods in detail. Also when performing all these listed methods, remember to use minimum pressure so you do not break the key and create even more new problems.

If non of these methods help you, then it is time to call a professional. Every good locksmith can do this and help you to remove the key from the lock. I hope this article has helped you, and if you have any additional questions feel free to contact us.

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