June 3, 2023

Nothing is more inconvenient than attempting to unlock your front door only to have your home key break as you turn the lock and become trapped inside. Keys mostly break or stick in the lock if worn out or the locks are too old. While it’s frustrating, removing a stuck key isn’t usually tricky, so long as nothing is broken inside the lock. If the key breaks off inside one of them, removing it becomes more complicated. 

If you have a key stuck in a lock, take a few moments to inspect the lock and see if there are any visible signs of dirt or damage. A key can get stuck for several reasons.  

This article looks at five quick ways to get a key unstuck from the lock. 

1. Lubrication 



Wondering how do you get a stuck key out? This is the best way to get the key out of the lock. Apply a small amount of spray lubricant to the lock to remove the stuck key. Applying a lubricant will help clean out the debris because a key can become stuck in the lock due to the buildup of grime and debris. Hence, a little squirt of penetrating lubricant can free up the buildup. 

You must find an easy-to-use spray lubricant, such as graphite-based or Teflon-based. These two options won’t accumulate dirt inside the lock. They have a tiny straw nozzle for getting into spaces as tight as a keyhole to help retrieve a key stuck in a lock.  

However, do not use solvent-based lubricant, which can make the inside mechanism more susceptible to sticking. After applying the lubricant to the lock, you can easily pull out the broken key using pliers.  

2. Jiggling 

bunch of key

A worn-out lock can often bend a key, making it difficult to pull it out. You only need a simple jiggle of the key to free it. Lightly jiggle the key while spraying some lubricant into the keyhole to release it. Try shaking the key back and forth while pulling it out to dislodge the debris or dirt causing it to stick.  

Push your key into the lock until it is far enough in, then turn it for the keyway slot to march the exact position it was when you inserted it, and then pull it out. This jiggling helps loosen the grasp on the pins and springs inside the lock, releasing the key. Once the key is in place, turn it so that it releases and pull it out. Once the key is out, smoothen any sharp points on the key teeth to prevent further sticking. 

3. Tapping 

This is where you tap the end of the key with a small hammer or mallet while gently pulling it out. The keyhole plug in a lock is just one part of a larger locking cylinder. You only see the face of the plug, a small circle surrounding the key. If the plug is loose, it can move slightly within the cylinder and prevent the pin tumblers from aligning, making it difficult to unlock the door or remove the key. 

One solution is to tap at the key’s end and then push it in as far as it goes. Now turn the key so that the keyway slot is in the exact position when you insert the key, which is the correct position for the pin tumblers to align with the cylinder.  

Tap the key to push firmly on the face of the plug and gently twist it to pull out the key. The light pressure applied by tapping the key prevents the plug from shifting as you try to remove the key.  

4. Needle-nose Pliers 

keys hanging

In limited cases, pliers can remove a broken key from a lock. Sometimes excessive key bending can break the lock in half. If that happens, needle-nose pliers can help before you consider calling a professional. This method is possible if the key is protruding from the lock.  

You can find several needle-nose pliers that gently grip the key end to pull it out. Pliers can reach where human fingers cannot and grip the portion of the key sticking out.  

A pair of vice-grips is also an option if the key’s neck protrudes from the lock, allowing you to get a solid grip. Once you have a firm grip, try jiggling to remove the key from the lock. A glue stick can also work if a broken key sticks out of the keyhole.  

With a glue stick, soften its tip and gently press it into the keyhole. It should be soft enough to mold to the key, and then pull out the key section after it cools off to harden. However, don’t try this method if there are not enough sections of the key available.  

5. Call A Locksmith 


Your last option could be to call a professional locksmith with the expertise and tools to remove the key without damaging the lock. If all the other methods have proven ineffective, you may need to contact a locksmith. Getting a stuck key out of a lock can be easy if you have the right tools and know-how.  

A professional with experience and expertise can remove a broken key using specialty tools and even make a new one on the spot. They will easily pry out the key without damaging the internal mechanism. 

Bottom Line 

You should try these five quick ways to get a stuck key out. The success of getting the key unstuck depends on selecting the best method for your particular situation. Just ensure you don’t force the stuck key out because it can cause it to break off in the lock.  

If you’re still stuck after trying all the fixes, find a professional to retrieve the key or replace the lock. You can also spare a handy key to switch into the keychain if your primary key bends with wear.

Author Bio:

Lisa D’Souza is a passionate writer & guest blogger. Writing helps her to improve her knowledge, skills & understanding about the specific industry. She loves writing & sharing her knowledge mostly in the health industry. She believes health is the real wealth & wants to spread her belief across the world. Apart from writing, she loves travelling & cooking. Currently she is working on Elite Locksmiths.

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