What to Do If A Key Gets Stuck in a Lock?

Key stuck in lock

Getting a key jammed in a lock can be annoying, especially when you’re in a hurry or need access to your home or office. However, there are several methods you can try to pull out a stuck key from a lock before resorting to professional help.

This blog will explore techniques and tips to help you handle this common issue.

Understanding Why Keys Get Stuck in Locks

Keys can get stuck in a lock due to various reasons. Here are some common causes;

  1. Worn Key: Over time, keys can become worn down, mainly if frequently used. A worn key may not fit smoothly into the lock, causing it to get stuck.
  2. Poorly Cut Key: If an essential needs to be correctly cut or duplicated, it may have rough edges or inaccurately shaped teeth. It can result in the key getting stuck in the lock.
  3. Dirt and Debris: Accumulating dirt, dust, or debris inside the lock can interfere with the key’s smooth movement. These particles can hinder the proper functioning of the lock mechanism, leading to a stuck key.
  4. Misaligned Lock Pins: Pin-tumbler locks need pins to align correctly for the key to turn smoothly. If the nails become misaligned due to factors such as a jolt or forceful turning of the key, it can let the key get stuck.
  5. Lock Malfunction: Sometimes, the lock itself may be faulty or worn out, leading to a key getting stuck. It could be due to internal components not functioning correctly or the lock being damaged.

Tips & Tricks to Use When Your Keys Get Stuck

Here are a few tips & tricks that will help you in such a situation;

Assess the Situation

It’s vital to assess the situation before removing the stuck key. Ensure the lock is not damaged, and the key is not broken inside. If the lock is damaged or the key is broken, it’s advisable to contact a professional locksmith for assistance.

Lubricate the Lock

One common cause of a key getting stuck in a lock is the accumulation of dirt, dust, or debris within the lock mechanism. To resolve this issue, you can use a lubricant such as WD-40. Spray a small amount of lubricant into the keyhole and gently wiggle the key to distribute the lubricant inside the lock. It may help loosen any obstructions and allow the key to be removed smoothly.

Jiggle and Pull Method

If the key is stuck due to misalignment of the lock pins, you can try the jiggle and pull method. Insert the key into the lock and smoothly jiggle it up and down while applying slight pressure outward. Then, attempt to pull the key out slowly. This method aims to realign the pins and release the key from the locked position.

Use Pencil Graphite

Graphite powder can act as a dry lubricant and help reduce friction inside the lock. Take a graphite pencil and rub the tip on the key, allowing the graphite to transfer onto the key’s surface. Put the key into the lock and gently jiggle it to distribute the graphite. This method can help smoothen the movement of the key and free it from the lock.

Ice Method

You can try the ice method if the key is stuck due to heat expansion or a tightly fitting lock. Rub an ice cube on the key to cool it down and reduce its size slightly. Insert the key into the lock and swiftly wiggle it while applying slight pressure. The cold temperature may cause the lock components to contract, allowing the key to be removed more efficiently.

Seek Professional Help

If all else fails or you need clarification on any DIY methods, it’s recommended to seek professional help from a locksmith. Professional locksmiths have the knowledge, experience, and specialized tools to handle many lock-related issues. They can safely and efficiently remove a stuck key without causing further damage to the lock or key.



Having a key jammed in a lock can be frustrating, but with patience and the right approach, you can often resolve the issue independently. Start by assessing the situation and ensuring the lock is not damaged. Then, try lubricating the lock, using the jiggle and pull method, applying pencil graphite, or employing the ice method. If you need more certainty or are unsuccessful with these methods, it’s best to contact a professional locksmith who can provide the expertise required to remove the stuck key safely.

Contact Speed Locksmith at 561-200-2828. Our team of expert locksmiths is available 24/7 to help you in a lockout situation.

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