Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.

How To Remove A Locked Door Knob From The Outside

Posted On by

If you are stuck on the exterior side of a door wondering how to remove a locked door knob from the outside, this is the article for you. Whatever the reason is for your predicament, and no matter what type of door knob you are using, this information will be of some benefit.

The basic steps for how to remove a locked door knob from the outside are:

  1. Interior Access
  2. Locate Fasteners
  3. Tricky Removal

FAQs

Can you remove a locked door knob from the outside?

Disassembly and removal of a door knob require access to the set screws, which are found on the interior side of the door. So in order to remove a locked door knob from the outside, you will have to get the door open, which is almost always possible, even if the lock is broken.

How do you remove door knobs with no visible screws?

Door knobs with no visible screws will have either a rose covering the set screws or a catch hole on the length of the spindle between the knob and rose. Look for the spindle hole before trying to pry off your rose. Insert a small screwdriver into the hole and press in as you turn the knob.

Are exterior door knobs harder to remove than interior door knobs?

How to remove a locked exterior door knob from the outside can be simpler than removing an interior knob when there are multiple ways into the building. Because you need to gain access to the side of egress for a door, the difficulty to get inside makes all the difference.

When can’t I remove my door knob from the outside?

Door knobs and door locks are generally designed to be removable when the door is open. If you cannot open the door because the lock is broken, beyond manipulation, you can still remove the door knob from the interior side of the door.

1. Interior Access 

It may be a bit counterintuitive, but how to remove a locked door knob from the outside starts with making sure you are not outside the door. Door knob fasteners are only accessible from the interior side of a door. Your first step has to be moving from outside to inside.

Accessing the interior side of a door can be done in one of two ways. You can open the locked door knob from the outside or use another entry point. Finding another entry point can be difficult if you are dealing with bathroom door locks or you are locked out of your apartment.

In these cases, there is often only one entryway. Windows and back doors are not viable to fit through or reach. If you find yourself with no alternative entry point, you will have to get the door open before you worry about how to remove a locked door knob from the outside.

A locksmith’s home lockout service is going to be the most universal and reliable way to open your door. For tips on opening your locked door knob yourself, there is a whole section below that will give an overview of the various methods. You can jump to that section now or keep reading.

Key Takeaways:

  • Door knobs are secured by fasteners on the interior side of the door.
  • You must move from outside to inside or get your door open before removal.
  • If you cannot find another way into the room, the door will have to be opened.

2. Locate Fasteners

How to remove a locked door knob from the outside comes down to how the device is secured to the door. For keyed door knobs, you are likely to find either two set screws or a catch release hole on the interior side of the door. If you cannot see visible screws, they may be hidden.

Screws can be covered by the rose of the door knob, which is the flat part of the handle between the door and knob. Before replacing door knobs by attempting to remove the rose, you should determine if there is a catch release.

While looking for a pry point for the rose, check to see if there are any holes in the spindle. This hole may provide a release pin for the door knob. If there is a small hole, insert a metal tool into the opening and turn the handle.

For non-keyed door knobs, you may encounter either of those fasteners or threaded roses that twist off for removal. If they are loose already, this is one instance where how to remove a locked door knob from the outside may not require interior access. But when it is not already loose, the rose may need to be gripped from both sides to turn.

Key Takeaways:

  • Door knobs are commonly secured with two set screws on the interior side of the door.
  • If you do not see the head of a screw, look for a catch release hole or remove the rose.
  • Non-keyed door knobs may have threaded roses that twist off.

3. Tricks For Tricky Removal

When you are dealing with a broken lock, how to remove a locked door knob from the outside can be trickier. If the door has expanded, certain parts may be harder to move and remove. Even with the door open or parts removed, full removal might be hung up by sticking or jammed components.

The first step to loosening stuck parts is lubrication. Because you are looking for how to remove a locked door knob from the outside, there is no need to worry about the type of lubricant. For your purposes, any type of lubricant will work. This includes oil-based products like WD-40.

Beyond lubrication, you can directly turn the spindle or actuator with a flat-head screwdriver. This allows you to apply more torque to the mechanism responsible for retracting the latch. More force can sometimes pull grinding parts past each other for a one-time opening.

If you are trying to fix a loose door knob through removal, you might run into issues with leveraging or forcing the device. Hardware that has too much give can begin to damage the door as they are leveraged. Make sure your knob is not moving by wedging or holding it before applying force.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lubricate locks that are not turning or moving properly.
  • Partially disassembled door knobs can be forced open by directly manipulating exposed actuators.
  • Any loose parts must be secured before applying leverage or torque.

How To Open A Locked Door Knob From The Outside

As we have already covered, how to remove a locked door knob from the outside will often require the door to be opened. If you can find a way to access the interior side of the door, you do not need to worry about these processes. Without a way in, you will have to open the door.

The simple cheat is to look up, “What is the best lockout service near me?” and find a locksmith who offers residential lockout services. For those who want to try the work themselves, we will briefly provide an overview of the various problems and solutions.

1. Locked From Inside

When the door knob is locked from the inside, it is working properly. This means you have access to the full array of entry methods. Do not worry about anything as complicated as how to pick locks unless it is a last resort for an exterior keyed door knob.

In most cases, you are going to be using the more simple techniques you would use if you were locked out of your bathroom or locked out of your bedroom (check out those articles for more info). These exploits work on spring-loaded door knobs and are especially effective with interior door locks.

2. Door Alignment 

Though door warping is most commonly associated with solid wood doors, solid core doors or hollow core doors can sometimes wedge or misalign as well. This could be caused by the foundation lifting and not the door distorting.

In any case, the door needs to be lifted, pushed, or otherwise moved as you go about opening procedures. If the door is locked, manipulate the door to remove tension on the latch as you attempt the various ways to unlock a locked door.

3. Disconnected Handle

If the handle has fallen off entirely, you have already started the process of how to remove a locked door knob from the outside. You should be able to manipulate the spindle or actuator as described in the tricky removal section.

In cases where the handle is disconnected internally, resulting in the door knob turning without opening, you can try pushing in the latch with a credit card (or any thin piece of plastic). The focus should be on the latch, as manipulation of the knob will not influence the latch.

4. Jammed Latch

You may not be able to turn the knob and retract the latch even when it is unlocked. Direct manipulation of the latch with a credit card is unlikely to work. Most bypasses are going to be thwarted by the latch not being able to move.

If you can not fix your stuck door latch, your options will be to torque the lock so whatever is in grinding or clogging is overwhelmed. Other than that, you can try cutting the latch with a reciprocating saw. It is also possible to cut away a part of the door frame and repair the entryway later.

Final Advice

Remember, how to remove a locked door knob from the outside begins by getting the door open or getting on the interior side of the door. Find your way in, then determine how your door knob is secured to the door. Removal requires unfastening your specific type of fastener.

How to remove a locked door knob from the outside can get rather complex, especially when it comes to getting your door open with a faulty or locked door knob. If you need any assistance, reach out to your local locksmith or see if United Locksmith services your area.

Category: How To's, Residential


Need a locksmith? Schedule an appointment today. 866.338.9997