Sticky Door Lock: How to Remove a Key Stuck in Lock?

November 23, 2022

Fatima Buzdar

It is definitely not a pleasant surprise to insert your key into your lock, only to end up with a key stuck in door lock which is not keen to come out of there. What a sticky situation! Fortunately, there are various ways to resolve this situation and get your stubbornly stuck key out of the lock.

First of all, you definitely want to keep your composure and handle the key gently. Do not panic and try to forcibly yank the key out of the lock! This can pose the risk of your key breaking in the lock, which would worsen your woes. A broken key in the lock will stack up your issues, since there will be more efforts and time needed to get a broken key out of the lock. Additionally, you will have to bear the costs of getting a replacement key. So be careful there!

While there are DIY methods to let you get a key stuck in a lock on your own, you need to keep in mind to be extremely careful. As aforementioned, you can risk damaging your key or even the lock. We will go over the measures you can carefully take to try resolving the issue on your own, but when in doubt or if nothing works, seek the services of a professional locksmith to safely remove the key from the lock. A locksmith can save you time and effort and implement an optimal and prompt solution!

Why Does a Key Stuck in Lock?

There can be different causes behind why a key gets stuck inside the lock. It is possible that your key has worn down and lost its shape over time, in which case you would need to begin using a new key after removing the current one. Alternatively, there may be an issue with the lock itself. It could have worn down over time and usage, it may require to be repaired or replaced or it could have been not properly maintained. Alternatively, the cause may even be an attempted lock tampering.

However, before you can get to determining the root of the issue, you would likely prefer to get that key out of the lock. Fortunately, there are various ways that might be able to get a stuck key out of a lock.

Spray Lubricant Into the Keyhole

Are you able to remember the last time you lubricated your keyhole, if ever? If your answer is no, then here is the likely culprit behind a key stuck in door lock: the lack of lubrication. If the keyway severely lacks lubrication, then the dryness results friction which adds up over time. If neglected long enough, this friction can grip on the key and not let go. Another alternative issue is the excessive build-up of rust and grime, which a lubricant can also help loosen up. Hence, make sure to lubricate your locks now and then as a part of lock maintenance, in order to keep your locks working properly.

Fortunately though, it might still not be too late to lubricate the keyhole! These are all problems that the right lubricant can aid with loosening up. So buckle up with a lubricant that has a small straw nozzle that can accommodate getting the lubricant into tight spaces. However, before you reach out for that good old friend WD-40, hold up!

While WD-40 is an excellent solution for a wide range of needs, WD-40 does not serve as an optimal solution for locks. This is because it can attract grime accumulation in the keyhole, which is quite counterintuitive. Hence, you should ideally avoid WD-40 and other oil-based lubricants. If WD-40 is all you have got in a particularly bad situation though, then using it for once would not hurt much and do the needed work.

However, lubricants like graphite, silicon, and Teflon are the best for locks. Once you have made the choice of your lubricant, it is time to aim the lubricant straw nozzle directly into the keyhole and spray some amount of lubricant into it. Once you have done that, carefully try to pull out the key after wriggling it around.

Contract the Lock Metal With Ice

This method may evoke your skepticism, but it is indeed capable of resolving certain cases of a stuck key. This especially can be the case if you happen to be living in warm weather which could have expanded the lock metal. That can be a reason behind a key stuck in the lock. In this case, what can contract this expanded metal back? Ice, indeed!

Once you have got an ice pack, hold it against the keyhole edge for a minute or so. This may contract the metal and free the key teeth from the lock pins it is stuck into. Then you may be able to pull out the key after giving it some jiggles.

Defrost the Lock

Now we are going to consider the polar opposite situation: the icy cold weather causing that stuck key. Harsh winters are capable of accumulating ice into a keyway, which can jam a lock and in turn get a key stuck in a door lock. The solution is to dissolve that problematic ice.

You can melt it by spraying it with a de-icer spray or 3:1 white vinegar and water solution. Or you can bring the heat, through the use of blowing the warm air of a hairdryer towards the lock or a holding a holding a lighter next to the lock. After the application of either method, wriggle your key around and then try to gently pull it out.

Push the Keyway Plug

A plug is the circular section that surrounds the keyway. If it loosens up, then it can lose its correct alignment and move within the cylinder, which can especially happen if the key is inserted. When that happens, the key may be unable to move about properly. Fortunately, the solution to this issue is super easy!

Insert the key into the keyhole as much as possible. And then push on the plug, while twisting and wiggling the key around and pulling it outwards. Make sure to be careful, so that you do not damage any part throughout the process!

Key inserted in a cylinder

Call a Locksmith to Promptly Get Your Stuck Key Out of the Door Lock

A key stuck in the door lock is highly disruptive and inconvenient. It typically tends to be preceded by signs like a worn down lock or key which should be promptly resolved before such issue arises. While there might be ways for you to get the key stuck in a door out on your own now that you are facing this issue, you must be very careful to not break the key in the lock or damage your lock throughout the process. It is also entirely possible that your attempts to remove the key may end up being futile, as it can be a more complicated case than these methods can resolve.

This is why it is best to call a locksmith if you can not easily take out your stuck key. Our expert Whitby locksmiths can safely remove your key stuck inside the door lock in a prompt manner without posing any unnecessary damage. Additionally, we can help replace your key or lock, as well as make any necessary repairs to get your locking system back to working as good as new!

Get help in under 60s

Latest Blog Posts

Change a House Door Lock: How to Rekey a Lock?

Read More

Commercial Safe Locks: Mechanical vs Electronic Safe Locks

Read More

Commercial Door Lock: Pros and Cons of Keyless Entry System

Read More


A quick look in to the question we are constantly asked.
You should get a professional locksmith to replace your lock because locksmiths have the skills and tools that the average person doesn’t own. Just because you have the tools doesn’t mean you are equipped to do a task that involves opening a lock or changing the key. For one thing, most people don’t own lock-picking sets or specialized tools like what a locksmith would have. These are tools that would give you access to a lot of safes and doors without having to damage them in any way.
A locksmith is a person who repairs or installs locks, and that's maily what we do. However, we are often called to provide other services as well, such as installing deadbolts, repairing broken keys, and providing security advice. The most common services that a locksmith provides are lock installation, lock repair, key duplication and key replacement. As a company, we expand upon the latter and also deal with other not-so-common household annoyances like garage door repair and installation, electric openers, patio sliding doors, emergency locksmith services, and many others
The fact that we’re not fast, but faster is certainly one of them, but there are also many more. Some of the benefits that we can provide you with include:
- We provide customer satisfaction through efficient customer service, fast and pleasant techs, fair prices, and quality locks and keys.
- Top quality products that we use. We keep abreast of the latest developments in the industry to make sure your home is fortified with the latest security products and that your locks are of the best quality.
- You get courtesy, reliable, and trustworthy service at all times.
In most cases, the best route is to swap out your old set of locks altogether. Older locks were typically made with a variety of simplistically cobbled together devices and even today, a great deal of shoddy craftsmanship is still seen. The best locksmiths in the industry will always direct you towards picking up a new set of locks and that’s because a trained professional is able to not only replace the parts that are broken, but make sure to outfit you with high end parts that will ensure you’re getting a much more secure locking solution that will last for well beyond the of your current doors.

Some situations, however, do allow for a repair instead of a replacement, but most of the times require from specialized equipment not generally available in the household.

Our reviews are not fake

We're a locksmith company that knows that our success is dependent on the trust of our clients. We set out every day to offer the best service we possibly can, and to show it we only show real reviews, all gathered and managed through Trust Mate, a regulated third party service that ensures we do not tamper with the evidence of our work.
Need a locksmith? Find a locksmith near me or a locksmith nearby in Ajax, Aurora, Brampton, Brock, Caledon, Clarington, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, Halton Hills, King, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Oshawa, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scugog, Toronto, Uxbridge, Vaughan, Whitby and Whitchurch-Stouffville.