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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

How To Get A Key Stuck In A Lock

by Taylor July 18, 2022

There are a few reasons you might want to know how to get a key stuck in a lock.

Maybe you lost the key, and this lock is a great entry point for burglars. Or maybe you own a building and just kicked a tenant out and need to keep the door locked until you can replace your lock.

Sometimes the wrong person ends up with a key, and you’re stuck with the consequences until you can change the lock. You can disable or destroy it in a way that renders it permanently locked instead of unlocked. So how do you do that?

There are a few ways to destroy a lock if you’re desperate. Remember that you’ll have to get the lock replaced if you ever want to use it again. Only permanently disable the lock if you’re willing to do this or if you plan on never using it again.

Keep in mind that a properly functioning door is vital for fire safety, so make sure this door doesn’t lead to a place that will have people in it before you can get your locks fixed.

Here’s how to get a key stuck in a lock or otherwise disabled:

  1. Products
  2. Jam The Lock
  3. Liquids
  4. Mess With The Lock
  5. Mess With The Door

Products

There are products designed to disable a lock, either temporarily or permanently. If you’re looking to know how to get a key stuck in a lock, these are the best ways to do it. These products let anyone figure out how to get a key stuck in a lock quite easily.

1. Lockout Key

The most common is probably a lockout key. These are essentially just key blanks that have been cut horizontally down the middle. You insert it into the hole and pull out the top half. The bottom half gets caught in the lock. To remove the bottom half, insert the top half and pull both pieces out simultaneously.

This product is the most common way people know how to get a key stuck in a lock. But the problem is that anything inserted into the top will get the bottom half out. You could use a paperclip or bobby pin. Of course, most people don’t know this, and whomever you’re keeping out may be unaware of this, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

2. Keyhole Lock

There are keyhole locks that can be purchased online or at home supply stores. These block the keyway, and you need a second key to unlock and remove them. This strategy won’t help against a determined lockpicker, but it’ll block someone with the key from using it.

3. Kill Key

Finally, you can get a “kill key.” These are keys that you deliberately break off inside the lock. They’re supposed to be tricky to remove with a broken key extractor, and the only way to get them out is to take everything apart. But with some skill, they are removable.

Jamming The Lock

Sticking almost anything in a lock will cause it to become jammed in a way that’s generally only reversible if you remove the lock. If you’re getting the lock replaced regardless, you can easily clog it with anything that’ll fit. You don’t necessarily need to know how to get a key stuck in a lock. Here are a few possible options out of many.

1. Toothpicks

Toothpicks are good because you can get them into the lock and break them off. Depending on the size, you can try it out with one toothpick or a whole handful of them. Once inside, you can break them off on the outside, making them much more difficult to remove.

If you don’t want the toothpick to be potentially extractable, you can also try breaking off a small piece of a toothpick and using a second toothpick to push it far into the back of the lock. Doing this will prevent a key from fitting, and the user might not even know why.

2. Paper

Paper is another object that can be inserted into the lock quite easily without being very extractable. You can cut off tiny strips or fold up a larger piece of paper. Use either the key or something small and thin, like a toothpick, paper clip, or bobby pin, to fully insert strips into the back of the lock and jam it up.

3. Cut Off The Key

If you have a copy of the real key, you can also cut the tip of it off. That way, the end should get stuck inside. Doing this might take a bit of work, though, and there are better methods above. Doing this is effective if you’re looking into how to get a key stuck in a lock, however.

Liquids

There are sprays you can apply to your keyhole to jam it up for good without having to learn how to get a key stuck in a lock. As with everything else, you’ll need a lock replacement after using one of these.

1. Caulk

An obvious one is a caulk, which fills holes. After filling your keyhole with caulk, you’ll probably want to scrape any remaining caulk off with a putty knife to make sure it doesn’t start dripping everywhere. Use the usual caulk procedure here – it’s no different from caulking any other hole.

2. Spray Foam

Another product used to fill holes is spray foam. It’s what it sounds like – spray foam into the open keyhole, and you can never use a key in there again. It’s as simple as that. Add a key, and you also have an effective method to try out when you want to know how to get a key stuck in a lock.

3. Glue

With this option, you can go about it in several different ways. You can use a hot glue gun to fill your keyhole or be more subtle. You can coat a paperclip with glue and brush it on the inside of the lock towards the top. Doing this will glue all of the pins in place and ensure that the key is useless.

Or you can straight-up glue the key inside. This method is likely what you thought of when wondering how to get a key stuck in a lock.

You can use any glue, although powerful ones are a better idea. Super Glue or gorilla glue will work pretty well if you don’t have a hot glue gun.

Messing With The Lock

There exist ways to destroy or damage the locking mechanisms already present in the lock or key to prevent any unlocking. For some of these, you’ll need to be able to unscrew it and access some of the deeper locking mechanisms. Not all of them require that level of expertise, however. Here are a few easy techniques you can try to destroy the lock.

1. Recut Key

If you have access to all of the keys and believe the person you’re working against may steal one, you can cut the key to prevent the lock from working anymore. You only need a deeper groove in any existing cuts to have it stop interacting with the pins correctly. This cut doesn’t need to be too deep, just a noticeable incline.

You don’t need to know how to get a key stuck in a lock when you can mess up the key itself.

2. Tape The Knob

Stopping someone from opening a door might be as simple as taping down or gluing the inner knob used to unlock the door. If this knob can’t turn, the key can’t either, and whoever tries to open the door will get stuck.

If you’re using tape, ensure you get high-quality duct tape and tape the entire knob over to ensure no movement can happen. It would probably be better to get high-quality glue for this, and glue around the knob to prevent it from turning. The best possible option would be to try both simultaneously.

As you can see, glue is helpful for many things – if you want to know how to get a key stuck in a lock, stop the mechanism from turning, or jam the lock, apply some glue.

3. Cut The Spindle

A specific part of the inside of your lock allows the door to work. When you take apart the handle, you should find a hollow spindle that connects to the lever. If you cut or remove this spindle, the handle will no longer be able to interact with the locking mechanism, preventing it from working at all.

To cut this metal piece, you need a metal cutter. If you plan on removing it without cutting, you’re going to have to take apart most of the lock and then put it back together. Basically, to do this properly, you need to know the different parts of a lock and how to put them together.

Adjust The Door

If you don’t want to touch the lock, there are ways to alter the door to prevent it from opening. Several mechanisms help the door swing open and operate properly, including the hinges and strike plate, so all you have to do is block or alter these mechanisms to prevent the door from opening.

1. Rod In Track

You can place a rod or some other blockage in the door track. That’s enough to prevent it from opening. A long rod is probably the most effective object, as the door will push it along the track and get stuck quickly. You don’t need to know how to get a key stuck in a lock when you can get something else stuck in the way.

2. 2×4 To Jamb

If you’re securing a sliding door, all you need to do is put a 2×4 against the door jamb to keep it from sliding. You can also use any other sufficiently large or heavy object to prevent sliding and get a stuck sliding door. You can block the door quite easily by blocking the door jamb. Once again, you don’t necessarily need to know how to get a key stuck in a lock.

Quick How To’s

How to jam a keyhole

A keyhole is incredibly easy to jam permanently. Keep in mind that afterward, you’ll need to get the lock replaced if you want to use it again.

All you need is to stick something in the lock, and it’ll be tricky to get out. Breaking off a toothpick inside would work, but you can also glue the whole thing shut.

How to get a key stuck in a lock

If you want to know how to get a key stuck in a lock, you can purchase a Kill Key or stick your key inside and saw off the head. If you want to combat a key extractor, you can coat your key in glue before sticking it in the lock. That way, nobody will be able to take it out.

How to destroy a key lock

If you want to destroy a lock to access its contents, the best method of destruction is drilling. Drilling is difficult for the inexperienced and best left to a locksmith that knows where to aim the drill.

If you want to destroy a lock to keep it permanently locked, pouring glue or caulk into the keyhole is effective.

How to jam a key lock

The best way to jam or block a key lock is to fill it with basically anything. Doing this will stop a key from having full access. Toothpicks, paper, glue, or caulk can work, as can any number of things.

Conclusion

If someone that shouldn’t have a key has that key, it can be unsettling. How can you prevent crime when someone has a key? How is a lock going to stop them?

The obvious answer is to get your lock replaced, but what do you do in the meantime? If you can’t do that immediately, how will you stop them from using their key?

As it turns out, there are many ways to disable locks permanently. Nobody builds them to resist permanent locking, so you can easily jam locks and prevent them from being used. You can learn how to get a key stuck in a lock, block it up, take it apart to disable it, etcetera.

Rest assured, whatever you’re trying to block access to is safe, no matter who has the key. You can learn how to get a key stuck in a lock in no time.

Category: How To's, Residential, Safety & Security

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