9 Useful Tips on How to Open a Jammed Door or Stuck Door

We’ve all been there – you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, and as you push or pull a door, it just won’t budge. A jammed door can be a frustrating experience, but before you resort to any drastic measures, there are practical and straightforward ways to tackle the problem. In this article, we will explore how to open a jammed door, covering various techniques and safety precautions to ensure you get past that stubborn obstacle.

Please note that attempting to open a locked door without proper authorization may be illegal, so make sure you have the right to access the locked area before proceeding.

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 activates the bolt.
  • The lock cylinder may be broken so 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 find inexpensive ways to open a jammed door.

Additionally, helps 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 is 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 in the door frame or any swollen wood and frozen door hardware.

If you happen to find gaps in 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, and 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 use the SCRUBBING METHOD: push the paperclip in gently at the lower end of the keyhole, then lift it back and upward.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  4. 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 and 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 do 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Graphite powder is an alternative lubricant if it’s still stuck or you don’t want to use spray lubricant.
  5. 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.
  2. To do this, apply a small amount of graphite powder on the key, insert and turn it in the lock, then take it out.
  3. The parts that do not have graphite powder rub against the internal locking mechanism need to be filed down.
  4. The key should turn smoothly in the keyhole and unjam the lock.
  5. 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!

How to Open a Stuck Door

  1. Stay calm and assess the situation: Take a moment to remain calm and assess the reasons why the door is stuck. Is it due to a misaligned frame, a swollen door, a faulty latch, or another factor? Understanding the cause will help you determine the best approach to open the door.
  2. Check for obstructions: Look for any visible obstructions that may be preventing the door from opening. It could be an object blocking the path or a rug caught in the door’s bottom. Clear away any obstacles before attempting to open the door.
  3. Apply lubrication: If the door seems to be sticking due to friction or a dry lock mechanism, applying lubrication can help. Use a lubricating spray or silicone-based oil and apply it to the hinges, lock mechanism, or any other moving parts. Allow the lubricant to penetrate for a few minutes.
  4. Use gentle force: Apply gentle pressure to the door while attempting to open it. Push or pull the door while wiggling the handle or knob. Sometimes, a stuck door can be loosened by applying firm but controlled force.
  5. Try different angles: If the door doesn’t budge initially, try applying pressure from different angles. Push or pull the door while slightly lifting it or angling it in different directions. This can help release any pressure points that may be causing the door to stick.
  6. Use a rubber mallet or hammer: If the door remains stuck, you can gently tap the door near the frame using a rubber mallet or a hammer with a protective cloth to prevent damage. Apply light taps to loosen the door and create enough space to open it.
  7. Remove hinge pins: If the door is hinged, another option is to remove the hinge pins to detach the door from the frame. Locate the hinge pins on the door’s hinge side. With a hammer and a screwdriver, tap the bottom of the hinge pins upward until they come out. Once the pins are removed, carefully lift the door upward and away from the frame.
  8. Seek professional help: If all attempts to open the door are unsuccessful, or if you are dealing with a complex issue, it may be best to seek professional assistance. A locksmith or a door repair specialist will have the expertise and tools to address the problem without causing further damage.

Remember to prioritize your safety and take caution when attempting to open a stuck door. If at any point you feel unsure or uncomfortable, it’s best to seek professional help to avoid any potential accidents or damage.

How to open a jammed door lock from the outside

Opening a jammed door lock from the outside can be quite a challenge, but don’t worry, there are some methods you can try. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to open a jammed door lock from the outside:

  1. Stay calm and take a moment to assess the situation: Before you try anything, it’s important to stay calm and observe the jammed lock. Try to understand what might be causing the problem, such as a mechanical issue, a misaligned key, or a frozen lock. This will help you choose the best approach to open the lock.
  2. Give the lock some lubrication: If the lock feels sticky or doesn’t turn smoothly, applying some lubrication can often do the trick. Grab a silicone-based lubricant, graphite powder, or a specialized lock lubricant. Insert the lubricant into the keyhole and around the key. Then, gently insert the key and give it a few turns to spread the lubricant inside the lock mechanism.
  3. Test a different key, if available: If you have multiple keys for the lock, it’s worth trying a different one. Sometimes, a specific key may be worn or slightly misshapen, leading to a jammed lock. By trying another key, you might find one that fits better and allows you to turn the lock.
  4. Give the lock a gentle tap: Take a rubber mallet or wrap a hammer in a protective cloth. Lightly tap the lock to provide a gentle impact. This tapping can sometimes help free any stuck pins or components inside the lock. Remember not to use excessive force, as it may damage the lock further.
  5. Apply pressure while turning: As you insert the key, apply steady pressure and try turning it. By combining pressure with rotation, you may be able to overcome the resistance and unlock the door. Use a moderate amount of force, as excessive pressure can damage the key or lock.
  6. Consider lock picking, if you have the skills: Lock picking is an advanced method that requires specific skills and tools. If you’re familiar with lock-picking techniques, you can give it a try. However, keep in mind that improper lock-picking attempts can damage the lock or make it inoperable. So, only proceed if you’re confident in your abilities.
  7. Seek professional assistance: If your attempts to open the jammed lock prove unsuccessful or if you’re unsure about trying these methods yourself, it’s best to seek professional help. Contacting a locksmith is a wise choice. They have the expertise and specialized tools to assess the situation and safely open the door without causing further damage.

Remember, opening a jammed door lock from the outside can have its limitations depending on the lock type and its condition. Your safety is important, so don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if you

How can I prevent a door from jamming in the future?

Preventing a door from jamming in the future involves regular maintenance and addressing potential issues promptly. Here are some tips to help you prevent door jams:

  1. Lubricate hinges and moving parts: Regularly lubricate the hinges, lock mechanism, and other moving parts of the door. Use a suitable lubricant, such as silicone-based spray or oil, to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation.
  2. Tighten loose screws: Periodically inspect the door and its components for loose screws. Check the hinges, strike plate, doorknob, and other hardware. If you find any loose screws, tighten them using a screwdriver to ensure proper alignment and stability.
  3. Adjust misaligned components: Keep an eye out for misaligned components, such as hinges or strike plates. If you notice any issues, such as a sagging door or a misaligned latch, address them promptly. Adjust the hinges or strike plate as needed to maintain proper alignment.
  4. Fix swelling or warping: Doors can swell or warp due to changes in temperature or humidity. If you notice a door sticking or rubbing against the frame, it may be a sign of swelling. Sand or plane the affected area slightly to restore proper clearance and prevent future jams.
  5. Clean and remove debris: Regularly clean the door and its tracks to remove dirt, dust, and debris that can hinder smooth operation. Use a vacuum cleaner, a brush, or a damp cloth to clean the door, tracks, and hinges. Pay attention to the areas around the hinges and the door bottom, as debris can accumulate there.
  6. Avoid excessive force: Be mindful of how much force you apply when opening or closing the door. Avoid slamming or forcefully banging the door, as it can cause misalignment or damage to the components. Encourage others to handle the door with care as well.
  7. Address structural issues: If you notice structural issues like a sagging door frame or settling of the building, it’s important to address them promptly. Structural problems can affect the alignment and operation of the door. Consult a professional if you suspect underlying structural issues.
  8. Regular maintenance checks: Make it a habit to conduct regular maintenance checks on your doors. Inspect the hinges, locks, and overall condition of the door. Look for signs of wear, damage, or misalignment. Address any issues promptly to prevent them from worsening.

Related: Where To Hide A Spare Key Outside Your Home

Tips on how to fix misaligned components in a door?

  1. Identify the misalignment: Before attempting any adjustments, determine which components are misaligned. Common misalignment issues include a sagging door, a misaligned strike plate, or hinges that are out of position.
  2. Tighten loose screws: Check if any screws on the hinges, strike plate, or other components are loose. Tighten them using a screwdriver, but be careful not to overtighten, as it can strip the screw holes or cause other issues.
  3. Adjust the hinges: If the door is sagging or not aligned properly, you may need to adjust the hinges. Start by removing the hinge pin by tapping it upward with a hammer and a nail or a screwdriver. Place a wedge or have someone support the door while removing the pin. Once the pin is out, reposition the hinges by tapping them gently with a hammer. This can help raise or lower the door to achieve better alignment. Replace the hinge pin and check if the door operates smoothly.
  4. Shimming the hinges: If the misalignment persists even after adjusting the hinges, you can try using shims. Shims are thin wedges made of wood or plastic that can be inserted between the hinge and the door jamb or frame. Place the shim behind the hinge leaf that is closer to the misaligned area. This can help adjust the alignment and improve the operation of the door. Trim the excess shim material if necessary.
  5. Adjust the strike plate: If the door latch doesn’t align properly with the strike plate, you can adjust the strike plate’s position. Unscrew the strike plate from the door frame and enlarge the screw holes on the strike plate slightly using a drill. Reposition the strike plate, ensuring that the latch aligns with it when the door is closed. Tighten the screws securely and test the door to ensure proper alignment.
  6. Sand or plane the door: If the misalignment is causing the door to rub or stick against the frame, you may need to sand or plane the door slightly. Use a sanding block or plane to remove small amounts of material from the problem area. Check the door periodically during the process to avoid removing too much material.
  7. Seek professional help if needed: If the misalignment issue is complex or if you’re unsure about making adjustments yourself, it’s best to consult a professional. A skilled carpenter or door repair specialist can assess the situation and provide the necessary expertise to fix the misaligned components.

Remember to exercise caution when making adjustments to the door. Work slowly and carefully, and make small adjustments at a time to avoid causing further damage.

Final Thoughts on How to Open a Jammed Door From Outside

To sum it up, dealing with a jammed door, whether it happens from the inside or outside, can be a rather exasperating and unexpected ordeal. It often catches us off guard at the most inconvenient times. However, maintaining a sense of calm and following the correct procedures usually allows us to resolve the issue without requiring professional assistance.

Safety should always be a top priority when dealing with jammed doors. Avoid using excessive force to prevent any injuries or causing additional harm to the door or its frame. It’s crucial to take your time to evaluate the situation and choose the most suitable method based on the type of door and the underlying cause of the jam.

Regular maintenance of your doors is key to preventing future jams. This includes ensuring that hinges remain well-lubricated and keeping the door frame free from any debris or structural issues.

In the end, remember that a jammed door doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle. With some patience, the right tools, and a bit of knowledge, you can often restore that door to its normal, smooth operation, ensuring unhindered access and peace of mind.


  1. What should I do if the door is jammed shut, and I can’t access any tools or lubricants?
    • In such cases, you may need to seek professional assistance to avoid damaging the door or frame.
  2. Can I use cooking oil or another type of lubricant if I don’t have WD-40 or similar products?
    • While it may work in a pinch, dedicated lubricants like WD-40 are designed for these situations and tend to be more effective.
  3. Are there any DIY solutions for addressing misaligned doors or frames that cause jamming?
    • You can attempt to reposition the door or frame by adjusting hinges, but this may require some carpentry skills.
  4. Is it advisable to force the door open with excessive pressure if it’s jammed?
    • No, using excessive force can lead to damage, injury, or further jamming. It’s best to apply gentle, even pressure and use the methods outlined in the article.
  5. What is the best way to prevent doors from jamming in humid environments?
    • Regular maintenance, including keeping hinges lubricated and ensuring the door frame is free from swelling, can help prevent jamming in humid conditions.

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

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

Related: How To Adjust Old Cabinet Door Hinges

Leave a Comment