How to Get a Key Unstuck From a Door


This article is for you if you have ever found yourself with your key stuck in a door.  When this happens, it can be frustrating to get the key out of the lock and back into one’s pocket.  This article will provide some ideas for getting a key unstuck from a door.

How to Get a Key Unstuck From a Door

Reasons Behind A Key Getting Stuck in A Door

A key can easily get stuck in the door due to several reasons. The most common reason is that it can become jammed due to dirt or grime. Another positive factor for getting stuck could be that there may be some debris lodged between the key and your door’s lock.

To Understand Why a Key Gets Stuck, We Should First Know How a Lock Works:

There are two primary types of locks – cylinder locks and deadbolt locks. A cylinder lock has pins that make an impression into a hole inside the cylinder (which moves as you turn) called a shear line or plane. These cylinders commonly work on latch locking bodies (the ones found on doors). These have an internal passageway within them on the inside of a door.

When it comes to deadbolts, they have a bolt that gets extended when you turn the key and aligns with a hole in the strike plate (which is installed on both sides of your door’s exterior or interior surface).  To keep this deadbolt in place after locking them, a latch is built into it, which keeps this deadbolt in place. If any foreign bodies enter between these two components, they can jam them.

Step-wise Guide on How to Get a Key Unstuck From a Door

  • Hold the key firmly with a rag to not slip out of place while working on it.
  • Push the door towards the key by putting pressure on where the knob is attached to the frame of the door-frame, which could be either at one corner or just below where the latch/keyhole is placed underneath (on top).Latchkeyhole Is Placed Underneath
  • Try moving one way and then another. Your objective is to make both sides move an equal distance without allowing anything to get loose in between (the lock/door jam, etc.). The movement should cause some play between them, which should get things started again, which will result in easily getting your key unstuck from a door!
  • If it’s a hardwood door, use your hand to feel if the play is getting wider or not. If it feels like it’s moving further away from you, you are moving the knob/lock towards the sidewall of the frame. If it’s moving towards you, then that means the lock is going inwards and out of place concerning the door’s outer surface. Keep doing this until both sides move an equal distance. Once you have moved both ways several times, check again for loose screws and other damaged parts so they can be fixed accordingly before re-using your key.
  • It should start turning smoothly now! (If it doesn’t, try a few more minutes). You may need to replace some broken parts inside, but at least you can save yourself from calling a locksmith and paying money for the same job.
  • Replace any damaged part of your door or frame by following step 1 above but in reverse order (on some doors, there could be screws that hold the hinge at one place, which are loosening it).

Precautions While Getting a Key Unstuck From a Door

  • Disconnect the door from its hinges or any other fixture.
  • Identify if the key is jammed in between two narrow pieces of wood, metal, or some other material; take appropriate steps to remove it without damaging the surface.
  • Do not attempt to pull a key out forcefully unless you know how the key got stuck inside. This could damage your property and injury you if you are unable to pull it out by exerting force with your hands and fingers.
  • While removing an old or rusted key from a lock, do NOT apply excessive force since this might cause damage to your hand and forearm due to strain placed on them while you are trying to pull it out forcibly.Do Not Apply Excessive Force
  • If the key is stuck between 2 narrow pieces of material such as wood or metal, use a thin flat piece of wood to push it from that location.
  • Use lubricants to free stubborn keys, such as WD-40 but only use this product if you are sure there is no rust on the key since it might damage the lock when spraying it onto the stuck object.
  • Finally, contact a locksmith for any assistance with removing a key stuck inside your property or vehicle; they can help you without causing any damage to yourself and your belongings if done correctly by using their specialized tools developed over time, specifically for such tasks as extracting objects from cracks and crevices.

Key Stuck in Ignition: How to Get It Out

  • Slowly turn the steering wheel to the left and right. See if the key gets unstuck.(although this is a temporary solution, it’s good just in case)
  • Spray a lubricant on the stuck key: WD-40, Liquid Wrench, or any other spray lubricant will do fine. (this actually works really well.)
  • Put lawnmower oil on your fingertips and stick them in between the door handle to push out the stuck key. (This has worked for me every time I’ve tried.)
  • A cold soda can be popular for this, but you will usually leave a deposit of sticky fluid inside your lock, which may worsen the problem, so don’t use one.
  • Try putting your key in the ignition and turning it to the left while pulling outwards on the key at the same time. (This has worked for me before when keys are stuck.)
  • Spray the area with WD-40, leave it overnight, and try again. (it’s amazing how well some lubricants work on even stubborn locks)Spray the Area With Wd-40
  • Pour a little bit of cooking oil around where the key meets up with the interior door panel. (slips right out)


I hope this article has provided adequate information on how to get a key unstuck from a door. Ensure proper precautions while performing the process. Thank you, and have a nice day!

You may also read – How to Replace a Steel Door Frame in Masonry

Angela Ervin

Angela Ervin

Angela is the executive editor of DIY quickly. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to lifestyle and home. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for housekeeping, home decorations as well as other niche efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

DIY Quickly