The Ultimate Guide Dealing with A Key Stuck in Lock

Having a key stuck in lock is one of those frustrating moments to have whether you are dealing with the front door of the house or a vehicle.

At least, there will be one or a few times in your life facing that situation.

The key stuck in lock will definitely stop you from going into the house to relax after a busy day. It is one way to have a bad day.

Well, you do not have to deal with it long enough if know how to handle the problems.

Thus, let us just consider you are very lucky because it does not need a special skill or a professional to get the key out of the lock.

There are so many articles to find out there that would guide you to deal with this situation. In this article, we have gathered some tutorials to guide you in handling the stuck keys.

Why Does The Key Stuck in Lock?

Why Does The Key Stuck in Lock


To begin, let us find out the reason why you face the problem? What happens to the lock?

Indeed, there are many reasons why a key stuck in lock. One of the common reasons is the rough edges that the new key might have.

That kind of edges can latch and get hooked to the pins of the lock. Wherefore, you could find it is hard to take out the key.

Then, the other reason might come from the aged locks. The older ones can make the key stuck in them.

It happens because the older lock may have a loose plug that will not let the key turn completely. Also, that makes the plus does not stay in the proper position.

So, the pins will not pull back properly and the key can turn it.

Key Stuck in Lock of Unlocked Door

Key Stuck in Lock of Unlocked Door


In another case, the key stuck in lock when the door is unlocked. However, this situation is a very easy job for professional locksmiths.

There are also some helpful guides you can try to fix the key stuck in lock.

Actually, this condition happens because of incorrect operation. Generally, it happens in a multi-point locking system.

Whether it is a PVCu or a composite door, both of them have a chance to deal with this problem. It is because the cylinder cam stucks behind the latch release mechanism.

This problem might be hard to solve without expert intervention. With the right guides and tutorials, step by step, you must be able to do it.

Methods To Deal with a Key Stuck in Lock

Methods To Deal with a Key Stuck in Lock


In this part of the article, you will learn a bunch of different methods to remove a key stuck in lock. All of them can be done by yourself using some simple tools.

You do not have to hire a professional locksmith or acquire special skills to fix the key stuck in lock.

1. Pushing the Plug

Pushing the Plug


A larger locking cylinder has a bunch of parts the keyhole plug in a pin tumbler lock is only the small part of it.

For you who are not familiar with the terms, notice the small circle surrounding the keyway is the face of the plug. You can also see the stuck key.

If you have this plug lose, it may be able to move a little bit within the cylinder. So, it prevents the pin tumblers from aligning.

Thereupon, you face difficulties to remove the key and even unlocking the door. Here are what you can do:

  • Push the key into the lock as far as it can be.
  • Then, you can turn the key in order to get the keyway slot in the right position it was in. Make sure you get into the right position when you inserted the key.

It would be the exact spot for the pin tumblers to connect with the cylinder.

  • While doing that, push firmly on the plug face which is next to the key with a fingertip from your other hand. This step will prevent the plug from shifting while you’re trying to pull out the key.
  • Lastly, twist the key gently and pull it out carefully.

2. Lubricating the Lock Using Spray Lubricant

Lubricating the Lock Using Spray Lubricant


This method would be effective for the new keys and locks. Consider using the specific product called Houdini Spray in order to set the key free.

Besides this certain spray brand, you can also get the other products in the markets.

In order to use it, spray some of the liquid product into the lock. Set it on the spot right above the stuck key.

Make sure it streams right inside the lock from there. After getting the liquid inside the lock, you can begin to shake the key up and down carefully.

It is the way to free the key from the hole. Remember, do not move the key from side to side. It would break it into two pieces. Just focus on shaking it up and down gently. You will eventually get it out.

Once again, do not go rough on this one unless you want your key to be broken. When you get to that point, the job would be much more difficult.

There will be special tools and skills needed in order to smoothen the edges after that.

After having the key out of the lock, apply some grease on it. Then, also apply some of the liquid product into the lock.

Next, just push the key into the hole and turn it side to side gently. Because of the lubricant, your door would work just fine for months.

So, it is important to fill another dose of lubricant inside the keyhole and on the key body.

It would be a great solution. However, do not use the product with lithium grease because it can ruin the locks.

Recommended Lubricant Products

Recommended Lubricant Products


Some lubricant products will help you to solve the problem of a key stuck in lock. Check them out.

a. Houdini Lock Lube

Houdini Lock Lube


As mentioned before, this one is the most recommended brand for this method. It is designed especially to deal with locks and keys.

The manufacture has claimed its product as the number one Spray Lock Lube in the industry for more than 30 years.

It helps you penetrates the tight spaces to give effective protection of lube. They are free of sticking and key jamming. You can get the 2.5oz of Houdini Lock Lube for about $5.

b. 3-In-One Lock Dry Lube

3-In-One Lock Dry Lube


It is an alternative product to choose from when the Houdini one is not available. Actually, it is also a great spray lubricant.

Even though this one is not the first pick, this lock dry lube has similar quality and contents.

It offers you a clear, quick-drying, premium lubricant for the lock. The product will loosen and protect all of those problems.

This product is not only designed for door locks but also for automotive. The only drawback is the price. It is more expensive.

c. Liquid Wrench Lock Lubricant and De-Icer

Liquid Wrench Lock Lubricant and De-Icer


This one is the third recommended product for your problem with a key stuck in lock. The price is similar to the Houdini one.

It is perfect for the cold season when you have frozen lock problems. This liquid wrench will help prevent the frost inside the keyhole.

3. Using Ice on The Key

Using Ice on the Key


This is an interesting method to try. It is an effective method for a house that locates in an area with warm weather.

Otherwise, this method is not suitable for you who live in a cold location. When you are having the key stuck in lock, go get some ice.

Just run into the nearby stores, bars, or your neighbors and ask for a bunch of ice. One thing to do after you get them is wrapping the ice cubes in a plastic bag.

After that, hold it against the key and give it a little push.

The cold temperature from the ice cubes may contract the metal enough in order to get the teeth to clear the pins. That way would free the stuck key in lock.

It works perfectly if the lock pins held the burrs. When you think it is time, try turning the key carefully and pull it out of the lock.

Well, it is probably ineffective to certain conditions but this easy method is worth trying.

4. Turning Up the Heat

Turning Up the Heat


This is the method that apparently goes against the previous one. Besides using the coolness, you can also make use of the heat.

As we know, doing the twisting and prying for a lot of time would make your bad situation turned into worse.

The risk of having half of the key inside the lock will take the difficulty of fixing to a high new level. So, this is something to do.

  • First of all, just slick the keyhole with a lubricant. After that, try grabbing any visible key end using the needle-nose pliers, both of them.
  • You will need to have it long enough range from the keyway to the group. If there is not adequate metal to work with, you may need to go to the nearby stores.

After that, get the simple tool called a broken key extractor kit.

  • Next, you can use the tool. Opt for one piece that best suits your lock.
  • Once you have the tool in place, start turning it to get the hook grabbing the tip of the key. Then, just pull the tool back toward you. It would dislodge the stuck chunk of a key.
  • If you do not succeed on your first try. Do it all over again. Those steps apparently have heat includes.

5. Using Graphite Powder

Using Graphite Powder


Beside Lubricant, a graphite powder would also be helpful to deal with this problem. This product is also a kind of lubricant but it is different.

This is the method you can try when the spray lubricant is not good enough to solve the issue.

Just swap the spray liquid with this graphite powder. With a few cents, you can have it ready to fix the key stuck in lock.

After having the graphite powder in hand, you can begin to use it by squeezing out the contents right into the keyhole.

While doing it slowly, shake the stuck key. This way would let the products fill up the entire lock assembly.

Eventually, the key would start to feel loose. Then, gently pry it out of the door lock.

Recommended Graphite Powder Products

Recommended Graphite Powder Products


Several graphite powder products are available to choose from. Thus, the key stuck in lock would not occur anymore.

a. Lucky Line Graphite Dry Lock Lubricant Powder

Lucky Line Graphite Dry Lock Lubricant Powder


With a $9.17 price tag on Amazon, you can buy this Lucky Line product that contains 4.5 grams graphite lubricant powder. It offers easy application with that needle nose tube.

This product also has a thin layer of air and water in between the surfaces which are provided for lubrication.

You can use this graphite powder for pin tumblers and locks. Yet, it is not suitable for hinges.

b. Kasp Graphite Powder

Kasp Graphite Powder


For a more premium option, you may pick this Kasp graphite powder. This product spends a lot more money than the previous one.

However, the quality and price offer you greaseless and odorless contents. It is just perfect for dry lubrication to padlocks and door locks.

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When to Seek Help From a Professional?

When to Seek Help From a Professional


When all of those methods are not helping, that is the time you should call professional help. The expert intervention would do just about anything using their special skills and tools.

The worst solution would be changing your lock and key into a new one. Well, only a locksmith can do that. You should contact the trusted professionals nearby.

The experts would do just what your key and lock need. Pay attention to the step-by-step process of the locksmith removing the key out to fix it by yourself when the problem comes back.

If you decide to do it yourself, you may also need to call the professionals or carry the key to the hardware store.

It is done to have the key buffed and de-burred to prevent the same problems from happening.

New Vs Old Condition

New Vs Old Condition


The problem of the key stuck in the lock should be solved according to the condition. So, it is important to notice the cause in order to deal with it. The tips from Alford’s Safe & Lock co might be very helpful.

1. New Key or Lock

New Key or Lock


If you have a stuck key problem with a new key or lock, using the classic elbow grease method would be effective.

As said before, the Houdini spray would be very helpful, to begin with. Besides, other products of lubricants may also do the trick.

During the application of the method, make sure you do it very gently. We do not want to break the new lock and key.

2. Old Key or Lock

Old Key or Lock


When the problem happens because of the aged or rusted key or lock, just do the hold, push, and pull. That will do it.

It can only be done if you have the loose plug within the locking cylinder. Using method number one in the previous part will help out.

In addition, you can try the lubricating method when dealing with the rusted area. It probably the key stuck in the lock that will not turn at all.

The rust is definitely the issue here. Using spray lubricant will be very helpful here. After you apply it into the keyhole, wait for about ten to a half an hour to dissolve the rust.

Then, try shaking the key up-down and back-forth a few times. Don’t force it hard enough to prevent the key from breaking.

If it fails, try to apply more lubricant. Do it again after ten minutes.

Key Stuck in Deadbolt Lock

Key Stuck in Deadbolt Lock


In this case, the key gets stuck inside the keyhole because it is still new. So, there will be some burrs that can get trapped in the lock pins.

Unlike the previous explanation about the new and old key or lock, this deadbolt lock can happen in both conditions.

You can choose whether to remove it with lubrication or stabilization. It is all based on the condition.


Having a key stuck in lock is not the end of the world. It becomes a common problem that people may find in many homes.

The keys with rough edges and locks that are aged are the most common causes of this issue.

Several methods above can help you to take out the stuck by yourself. All of those recommended products can make everything so much easier, right?

Besides buying products, there’s an old-fashioned method that’s also worth to try. Who needs to spend money when you can deal with it for free.

Some ice cubes can also be the help you need to handle the key stuck in lock.



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