Locks offer safekeeping for items that you value. If you are locked out of your home because you've forgotten, lost or broken your key, and the nearby locksmith is closed, knowing how to unlock locks in various types of ways is a handy skill will prove useful in a time of need. Here are some tips on how to open a locked door that will save you time and money.

Use A Butter Knife

A butter knife

You probably wouldn't think that a butter knife would have much use outside of slathering jam and butter atop your favorite bread, but it is actually a very handy tool that will help you get into a room that has been locked. A sharp knife isn't necessary and it's actually best to use a blunt knife so you don't increase the chances of injuring yourself. All you'll need is a butter knife and the lock that needs opening. If a lock is accompanied by a deadbolt in addition to a lock, then a butter knife won't necessarily work. However, you should be able to unlock any basic door lock with ease.

What To Do:

  1. First, determine what type of lock you are attempting to open. With a spring loaded system, the latch bounces out of the latch pocket. Therefore, unlock the lock by using your butter knife to push back the latch so that you can open the door.
  2. Place the knife into the keyhole. If the lock is a pin-tumbler lock, then you will need to stick the blade into the lock as far as possible.
  3. With one of your hands, apply pressure to the doorknob, moving it to the left and right, while wriggling the knife around the keyhole.
  4. If you hear a clicking noise, this indicates that the knife has given in a bit. Then place the knife between the door jamb and the striker plate, sliding the knife around until you are able to push the latch in.

Use A Screwdriver

A screwdriver

Screwdrivers are a type of tool that you would normally use around your house to screw in nails and fix various items around the home. However, they can also be utilized for opening up locked doors. Flat-head screwdrivers are especially useful because the flat end can easily fit into a keyhole or door jamb, particularly for privacy handles. If your door has a button lock, then a screwdriver will be perfect to get the job done. However, it is important that you use a very thin screwdriver to fit into the hold from the outside. To successfully unlock a door with a flathead screwdriver, keep the following tips in mind:

What To Do

  1. With your screwdriver, push the button on the door handle and turn.
  2. If you are locked out from the outside, seek out a small hole in the doorknob and turn it until it catches into a groove and pops open the door.

Use A Card

Person holding a credit card in hand

Credit cards are a great last resort tool to help unlock any door. Any other similar object, such as a store or gift card also works for unlocking jammed doors. Because opening a door with a card can potentially cause it to break, it's important to use a card that is no longer in use or that you don't really care much about. The object of using a card to unlock a door is so that you are pushing the lock back so that it slides out of the jamb. Once it does, you're in! Here's how to do it:

What To Do

  1. Slide the card in between the door and the jamb.
  2. Keep sliding the card until it touches the barrel of the lock.
  3. As you slide the card down further, keep wriggling the handle so that each turns causes the card to go down deeper until it is completely between the barrel of the lock and the latch pocket with enough pressure.
  4. Once there is enough space for the card to go through, the door should easily open.

Use A Paperclip

A paperclip

A paperclip is a bent piece of wire or metal that is used for attaching paper together. For locks, paper clips offer an easy solution for picking a lock. By contorting its shape, you can easily maneuver the clip to help unlock a door if other methods do not seemingly work. Although this method can be a bit time-consuming, with a hint of finesse, you'll be on your way to walking through the threshold of your home, bedroom, or office in no time. All you'll need to do is get the paper clip in deep enough to apply force to the pressure plates so that you can finally open the door.

What To Do

  1. Fold out your paper clip so that it is completely straight on one end.
  2. Then apply pliers to bend the leg at a 90-degree angle at the middle.
  3. Bend the paperclip again about 1/4 inch down the leg, bending it straight up, so this part sticks up in the air when lying flat.
  4. Then bend in again about 1/8th of an inch from the tip so that it's bending forward and you have an upside-down L shape sticking out.
  5. Insert the tip of the paperclip inside the bottom of the keyhole and push it in.
  6. Twist the base, holding your finger against the paper clip to keep its shape.
  7. Apply pressure and the lock should automatically turn to open the door.

Use A Drill

A power drill

If all other attempts at picking a lock fall through, then the utilizing a power drill can be your last resort. Drilling the lock will ultimately destroy the lock plug but will ultimately keep the rest of the lock intact. It's important to examine your lock before drilling because while some locks have a center pin made of steel, other locks have center pins that prevent the use of a drill. Additionally, it is important to make sure that you have a lock that is easy to disassemble and not one that will make it difficult to get through. If you are unsure, contact your local locksmith with as much information as possible, or you may contact the hardware company that made the lock. If the coast is clear and you are ready to proceed, here are some simple steps to follow:

What To Do

  1. Attach an eighth of an inch drill bit to your drill, or something close to its size. Ultimately, your drill bits should be very skinny to move through the center of the lock with ease.
  2. Drill a hole through the lock cylinder. Since most locks have about five or six lock pins, you should feel some resistance, as you approach each pin, then ease in between.
  3. Moving slowly, allow the drill to move through the cylinder without applying too much pressure, making sure to drill as straight as possible to avoid unnecessary debris and damage.
  4. Reverse your drill and replace the drill with a quarter inch drill bit, and move through the lock one more time to break up the pieces once more.
  5. Using a flat-head screwdriver, turn the keyhole and the door should pop open. If the lock is still stubborn, then you will need to destroy the entire lock cylinder with a drill bit that is at least three-quarter inches in size. This will completely destroy the lock cylinder.
  6. Lock doors happen and when they do, they can become quite a pain to open. However, with these handy tips, you'll be able to open any locked door in a cinch. If you happen to lose your key or unwittingly lock a door, don't worry, these time-tested tricks will get the job done easily and efficiently so you can get on with your day.

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