9 Useful Tips on How to Open a Jammed Door?

It’s advisable first to examine the door if you’re looking for inexpensive ways on how to open a jammed door.

Look for gaps on the door frame or any swollen wood and frozen door hardware.

It can be pretty infuriating when you have the unfortunate luck of getting stuck at the door.

Moreover, you will likely be faced with the task of opening a jammed door from the outside at some point in your life.

It might be probably you’re trying to open a closet door, stuck at a bathroom door that won’t budge, an exterior door, or a garage door that’s stuck.

When it comes to determining what could lead to having a jammed door, it’s advisable to look at a couple of different factors and how they might be influencing your situation.

  • If you have an older lock, you might find that the bolt or internals have rusted into position or otherwise been gummed up.
  • The key may be worn or damaged, so it will not work in the cylinder. Just check to see if a different key will work or if the thumb turn actuates the bolt.
  • The lock cylinder may be broken so that you cannot use your key or anything else to move your door lock into the locked position.
  • The door could be misaligned such that while the door is ajar when closed, the door cannot lock.

Related: How To Stop A Bed From Squeaking?

DIY Steps on How to Open a Jammed Door

To understand how a door lock works, we have to first look at what brings about the problem in the first place.

For instance, an exterior door may get jammed in wet climates.

The increased moisture and humidity can swell a wood door, causing it to rub on the inside face of the jamb.

Additionally, the jamb can shift if a building settles on its foundation and the door gets jammed.

Keep reading on to get inexpensive ways to open a jammed door.

Additionally, help you fix the issues that might be causing the door to get stuck.

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful!

Please share this post with your friends if it was helpful for you or anyone in your family.

Related: How to Fix Squeaky Floors

Begin with First Trying to Identify the Problem

It’s advisable to examine the door and look for gaps on the door frame or any swollen wood and frozen door hardware.

If you happen to find gaps on the door frame, either on the sides or on the bottom, it’s evident that the door is sagging due to loose hinges.

Keep reading to find a more practical solution.

1.   Using A Credit Card to Open A Jammed Door On A Spring Lock.

This will only work on doors with spring locks for doors with deadbolts.

It’s advisable to use a credit card that you aren’t using because it might get damaged in the process.

  1. Begin by sliding the plastic credit card between the door and the frame where the latch is located. This will hopefully force back the latch, and the door will open.
  2. However, if you note that there’s no room between the lock and the frame, try to insert the card between the door and the frame above the lock.
  3. Then swipe quickly downward while angling the wedging the card between the latch and the hole it sits in; this is where a thicker, sturdier card may come in handy.
  4. This will enable you to open it without turning the handle. Just slide it in, wait until the latch is fully retracted.

2.   How to Open a Jammed Door by Picking the lock

Though it’s quite a complex method to go about, you will be good to go with these instructions.

  1. To start, insert the short end of an Allen wrench into the lower edge of the keyhole while slightly applying some pressure to turn the lock.
  2. Ensure to keep the pressure as steady as possible, and then use an unbent paperclip with a small crook at the end to pick the lock.
  3. You can either use the SCRUBBING METHOD: push the paperclip in gently at the lower end of the keyhole, then lift it back and upward.

Repeat in a circular motion while increasing the pressure on the Allen wrench slightly each time until you feel the lock shift.

When this happens, keep the pressure steady as you repeat the motion until the door unlocks.

If you are not getting results, jiggle the handle vigorously (fast, though not with too much force).

You can try the PIN-BY-PIN METHOD:

  1. If you can’t succeed with the scrubbing method, keep the pressure on the Allen wrench slightly and steadily while you gradually push the paperclip into the lock.
  2. When the paperclip makes contact with a pin, try to catch it on the bend and lift it upward until it clicks into place.
  3. Repeat with additional pins until the lock turns.

Read more on How To Lock A Door That Doesn’t Have A Lock

3.   How to Open A jammed Door Using a Lockpicking Set

You can also attempt to pick the lock yourself with a lockpicking set.

Lockpicking sets are essential for picking a lock.

Not to mention, they come with various sized hooks and rakes to access any style lock.

Just remember to choose a high-quality lockpicking set for maximum durability and efficiency. Additionally, it’s imperative that you know how to pick the lock, or else your efforts will be for nothing.

4.  How to Open a Jammed Door By Removing The Hinges

This is the simplest and quickest way of getting yourself out of the problem of dealing with a stuck door.

However, this process is best for a person inside the house because you can easily access the hinges.

  1. Start by loosening the screws or any pins on the hinges. Insert a long, sturdy item with a flat tip–preferably a Philips head screwdriver, if available-between the top rung of the door’s top hinge and the head of the bolt securing the door to the hinge.
  2. Firmly pry the bolt loose, then lift it out of the hinge; holding the door in place, repeat this process for the bottom hinge.
  3. When the door is free, remove the latch from the door frame (unlocking the door).

Afterward, reassemble the hinges to secure the door to the wall.

5.   When A Locking Mechanism Has Become Dirty And Sticky

  1. I would begin by oiling the lock with WD-40.
  2. However, if there could be some internal resistance due to weathering, please do not use any other oil or lubricant.
  3. Unless it has been approved explicitly for locking mechanisms, or you may get more than you bargained for since some oils like to collect dust.
  4. However, if the lock has gummed up rather than gotten stuck in its situation, it would probably be best to remove it and let a professional locksmith clean it.
  5. One additional service you may wish to avail yourself of would be to have the lock plug replaced, correct any issue of worn pins.

Related: House Cleaning Secrets Step-By-Step Guide 

6.   How To Open a Jammed Door When a Mechanical Misalignment Is a Problem

  1. A mechanical misalignment problem can be confirmed with a bright light and a few photographs.
  2. For example, a bedroom lock does this and recesses into its latch mechanism, where it gets stuck. None of the other latches in the house does this, although of the same type.
  3. The problem can be fixed temporarily by pressing in on the latch, oblige and pop out.
  4. This problem has come about because the latch shield is not exactly flush with the latch mechanism recess.
  5. If the latch could be temporarily removed, the surface could be filled with a hardening agent and sanded smooth, then reassembled and re-installed back into the door.

7.   Removing a Key Stuck In A Deadbolt Lock Mechanism

It often happens because the key is new and still has burrs that catch on the lock pins.

The springs push the pins against the key and bind them, and it just takes a little lubrication to release them.

The key can also get stuck when the lock mechanism is old and loose, and the entire rim cylinder

  1. Push the rim cylinder — If it’s loose, you should be able to stop it from turning with the key, and you’ll be able to extract the key.
  2. If that doesn’t work, spray lubricant into the keyhole.

Use the plastic tube that comes with the lubricant can to direct the spray alongside the key. Spray on both sides of the key, wait a minute, then pull the key out.

Graphite powder is an alternative lubricant if it’s still stuck or you don’t want to use spray lubricant.

Wiggle the key while you’re squeezing the powder from the plastic bottle to get it into the lock and make it settle against the pins. Pull the key out as soon as it loosens.

8.   Fixing problems with the key

Possible causes of a key that won’t open or lock the door include ridges on the key, inadequate lubrication, and even cold weather.

  1. Check for ridges on the key that may prevent it from turning the lock.

To do this, apply a small amount of graphite powder on the key, insert and turn it in the lock, then take it out.

The parts that do not have graphite powder rub against the internal locking mechanism need to be filed down.

The key should turn smoothly in the keyhole and unjam the lock.

If the deadbolt does not turn with the door in an open position, try lubricating the key and keyhole to eliminate any rust that might be binding the lock.

9.   Picking a Lock Using a Bobby Pin

  1. Insert your bobby pin tension wrench into the lock and give it the necessary pressure to bind the first binding pin.
  2. Note that you must continuously hold tension on the plug throughout the entire process of picking and setting pins.
  3. Once the plug binds, you can insert our bobby pin lock into the lock with the small hook facing into the pins.
  4. Starting from the back, probe each pin by lifting it slightly, gauging how difficult it is to lift.
  5. Most pins should be relatively easy to lift except for the binding pin, which will feel stiffer and harder to move.
  6. Once you have probed around and found your first binding pin, it is time to get it out of the way.
  7. Using your pin, apply upward pressure to the pin, and once it reaches the shear line, there will be a very slight rotation of the plug as the pin sets.
  8. Also, keep in mind that you have only pushed the driver pin out of the plug; so don’t be alarmed if you feel the key pin wobbling around inside the plug. All is well.
  9. Now that you have set your first pin, you need to locate and set the next binding pin.
  10. Just as before, you need to begin probing the remaining pins until you yet again find the stiff one.
  11. Once found, you can give it a little nudge to the shear line, thus setting our second pin.

The entire process of picking a lock is repeating these two steps of locating the binding pin and setting it.

Once all the pins are set, the plug will fully rotate as if you had a key, and the lock will disengage.

If this happens, Congratulations! You have picked your first lock!

Is it Advisable to Repair or Replace a Door Latch?

You can try to repair the door latch if you can open the door without damaging it.

On the other hand, a defective door latch will almost always necessitate replacement.

Because latches are relatively inexpensive, it may be prudent to do so.

How do I fix a doorknob that turns but doesn’t open?

There could be two reasons it’s not opening:

The latch mechanism itself has worn out or

More likely, the rod that connects both knobs through the door also passes through the latch mechanism.

This is usually either a square tube or around one with an offset lobe and runs through a matching hole in a plate on the latch mechanism.

Often, that hole can get worn to the point that the rod no longer makes adequate contact with the mechanism to pull the striker into the door to open it.

Probably the easiest way to fix it is to replace the whole assembly, knobs and all.

If it’s an interior door, it’s up to you if you want it to be able to lock.

Nevertheless, an exterior door should have a lock.

Related: Where To Hide A Spare Key Outside Your Home

Process Of Fixing A Jammed Door Lock

You’ll only need a Phillips head screwdriver to do it.

  1. First, remove the screws holding both sides of the knobs together. They should then slide out easily.
  2. Then, facing the edge of the door with the latch, remove the two screws holding the mechanism to the door.
  3. To install the new lockset, reverse the order. Install the latch mechanism first tighten the screws snugly; (be sure not to overtighten the screws holding it in, or the holes can strip).
  4. In the picture below, an exterior door lockset is shown. You’ll notice there’s a flat piece protruding from the end of that square tube.

How to Open a Jammed Door

That controls the small lock knob when the key is turned.

When putting the new knobs on, be sure the square tube goes through the hole of the latch mechanism; and that flat piece fits easily into the slot for the lock knob on the other door handle.

You’ll then have to insert and tighten the screws that hold the handles together.  sometimes, you will have to turn one handle base slightly to make the screw holes align.

Be sure the knob/handle screws are tightly secured so that the handles don’t slide around on the door face.

That should do it. You can study the diagram above before you do anything to familiarize yourself with the whole unit.

The new lockset should also come with instructions you can consult if you run into problems.

Final Thoughts on How to Open a Jammed Door From Outside

Door locks are very faithful. But, in some cases, if it gets jammed or doesn’t work when you try to open it is the worst thing in life.

Nevertheless, with the above-outlined methods on how to open a jammed door, you will open the door with the least effort.

I hope you have found these tips on how to open a jammed door helpful!

Please share this post with your friends if it was helpful for you or anyone in your family.



  1. Try Lubricating the Lock

Probably the most advisable way to deal with a jammed door lock is to lubricate it with a quality lubricant.

This usually works because door locks get jammed due to rust, and the lubricants allow the lock mechanism to work as expected.

  1. Heat the Frozen Lock

There may be times when the door locks get jammed due to the changing climate. When frozen, the lock mechanism is unable to function as the cold temperature causes locks to freeze.

The best way to deal with the frozen locks instantly is to use a blow dryer to thaw the door lock.

If you cannot solve your issue, do not hesitate to call a locksmith.

Fixing your problem yourself is not always the best possible avenue for addressing your jammed door lock issue.

Related: How To Adjust Old Cabinet Door Hinges

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