Home Improvement

How to Get a Broken Key Out of a Lock Fast and Easy

Lady Luck is very unforgiving when she wakes up in a bad mood. You can end up with a bird pooping on your head on your way to a date, dropping your ice cream on a hot summer’s day, or…

Breaking your key inside a lock.

Now, unlike getting your key stuck in the lock, getting a broken key out is a tad bit more difficult. So, your first stop will be the internet, hoping there is a handy DIY option available to you. Well, thankfully there is! Your bad luck has just turned because Fantastic Services is here to save the day!

In this article, you are going to find out what kind of “tools” you can use to extract the key and useful tips on how to use them.

But first, let’s start with…

The most important part of getting a broken key out of a lock is NOT trying to jam the rest of the key inside, in an attempt to still get the door opened. You see, by inserting the part left in your hand, you are pushing the broken piece even further inside. In translation – you are basically making things a whole lot harder for yourself.

So, take a deep breath, place the broken end in your pocket or wallet, and try the tips we are providing below.

Tools that you can use for the job

The idea behind this article is to get your broken key unstuck the DIY way, right? Right. With that in mind, the “tools” you are going to use aren’t going to be fancy-schmancy, to say the least. We are going to get the key out with the help of an item that you already have in the house or on yourself, like:

  • Tweezers
  • Paper clips
  • Swiss army knife
  • Jigsaw blade
  • Hot glue gun
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Prepare the lock (optional)

This step isn’t necessary but will make things a bit more easy for you. Ok, so what do we do when something gets stuck? We apply some kind of lubricant to make it slippery, so it comes out. Same applies from the whole broken key scenario. So, if you decide to proceed with this step, you’ll need to get yourself a graphite spray lubricant. Oil-based ones are also an alternative, but they tend to gum, which can lead to additional lock problems in the future.

Let’s say you go for the graphite spray option. Before you apply the product, you’ll need to get an old rag or piece of cloth, because this thing stains a lot. So, what you have to do is alight the nozzle of the spray bottle to the lock and apply a bit of product. Once you’ve lubricated the keyhole, wipe the excess graphite that spills out with the rag and you are done.

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3 easy ways to get a broken key out of a lock

Now that you’ve chosen your tool, prepped the lock, it’s time for the fun part – to extract the key. Below we’ve listed 3 of the most effective ways to get a broken key out of a lock that you can try out.

1. Use tweezers to pull the key out

We are going to start with the tool that you most certainly have laying around – a pair of tweezers. However, not every type of tweezers will work. You need a pair that is not bent on the end and is thin enough to fit inside the lock.

Of course, this rule doesn’t apply to situations in which the broken part is visible and can be removed without inserting the tool. In terms of how to actually do it, just take a deep breath, keep your hand steady and gently pull the part out – there is nothing to it. If you happen to push the key further inside the lock, don’t worry – you can try one of our other methods.

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2. Try the paperclip method

For this option, you are going to need two paper clips. Try to straighten the paper clips by bending them. Basically, you are creating yourself a custom pair of tweezers. Once you’ve gotten them as straight as possible, align the wire pieces to each side of the key.

Try to “pinch” the key piece with the wire, applying a bit of pressure. The broken part should start moving, but don’t expect to extract it in one go. Pull the key slow and steady. When the piece starts showing, you can remove it using your fingers.

Note: You can also use bobby pins, safety pins, a swiss knife, or even a jigsaw blade for this method.

3. Get the key out with a bit of hot glue

Ok, we know that this sounds a bit weird – applying glue to something that’s already stuck. But hear us out – this method has a pretty high success rate if done correctly. However, it works only if the broken key is sticking out. So, get your hot glue gun and apply a bit of glue on the visible key end.

Wait for the glue to dry. Once it has firmed up, grab the glue blob and pull it. The broken key should come right out.

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Hire a professional locksmith to fix it for you

Ok, so you don’t have a pair of tweezers in your back pocket and you’ve locked yourself outside of your house. What now? Well, you just pick up the phone and give Fantastic Services a call!

We offer emergency, 24/7 locksmith services for scenarios exactly like these ones. You can have a trained and experienced locksmith professional arrive at your property within 30 minutes and extract the broken key in zero time! So, if you find yourself in such an inconvenient situation, contact us today for a fast and trouble-free solution.

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  • DON’T try to unlock the door by inserting the broken piece inside – you will make the removal process more complicated.
  • Make sure to keep the broken piece left in your hand. You are going to need it after you’ve got the other part out to make a new key.
  • You can make the job easier for yourself by lubricating the keyhole with a bit of graphite spray lubricant.
  • Last but not least – we know that breaking your key inside a lock can be stressful, but panicking won’t help you at all.

So, you’ve decided to get an expert local locksmith to help you out. How much can you expect to pay for it, though? We answer this question and more in our helpful post on how much a locksmith costs!


Did you find our article helpful? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section located below!

Image source: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

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