The lock on your home's exterior door keeps out intruders and keeps you and your home's contents safe. But when the lock becomes gummed up and stuck from years of dirt that have collected inside it, you won't be able to use your key to gain entry into your own house. Here are some tips to help you get your key lock unstuck.
Use A Lubricant Like WD-40
One of the easiest ways to free of the interior pins of your lock is by spraying a lubricant like WD-40 into it. Most households have WD-40 available for lubricating hinges and other mechanical components, and a can of WD-40 usually comes with a little red straw to help you direct the spray of lubrication directly into your lock.
This lubricant will oil up the inside of the lock, freeing up the dirt and debris that have accumulated with the oil already inside the lock. Over time, the oils can solidify with the debris, causing the lock to become stiff and hard to unlock with your key.
However, using WD-40 is not the most highly recommended way to properly free gummed-up lock mechanisms, as the oil inside the lubricant can attract even more dirt and dust to cause the lock to become gummed up again later on. This lubricant is a good option when you don't have any other tools available, but the next method is one of the more preferred by locksmiths.
Graphite spray is a more efficient type of lubricant to free up your keyhole pins, as it uses powdered graphite without oil, so there is nothing to attract and trap additional dust and dirt. You can find powdered graphite spray at most home improvement stores, or you can talk to your locksmith about getting a spray bottle to use on your locks. Spray this directly into the keyhole and onto your key, and then push the key in and out of the lock until the lock freely moves.
You can also use the graphite from a regular pencil to free up a stuck lock. Pencils contain a cylinder of graphite, not actually lead, which is what locksmiths use in keylock lubrication.
First, use a knife to whittle the wood from the end of the pencil, exposing some of the pencil's graphite. Place your key on a paper plate and use a metal file to grind the graphite over the key, coating the teeth of your key. Push the key into the lock, working it in and out, repeating the process to coat the key with additional graphite until the lock works freely.
Use these tips to help you free up a stuck lock. Or if those methods don't solve the problem, contact a professional locksmith, such as Migoley Stephen K.