What’s the point in learning how to open a locked bathroom door? Here’s the situation: there will be times when your friend tells you that they need to go to the washroom, but it’s getting long, and you start to worry. Then, you realize that he or she has been stuck inside!
What else should you do besides panicking? Well, your very first idea is probably to call a locksmith, but that’ll probably take a few hours, and your friend won’t be happy with that. This is when the tricks come out to play.
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Did Someone Get Locked In A Bathroom? Try These Tricks
First and foremost, it’s important to tell the person inside the bathroom to remain calm. Then, look around and see if you have any of the following tools. They can be used to open the door without breaking it:
- Butter knife
- Bobby pin
- Tension wrench and paperclip
- Metal coat hanger
- Lock picking set
If the above tricks failed, you will have to break the lock or even the door to get that person out:
- Kick the door open
- Remove the door handle
- Detach the door hinges
- Drill the lock
- Break the lock
- Bust the door
Moving on, you will learn about some types of lock that are in use in the United States. Let’s go!
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Types Of Locks
You’ll be relieved to know that most bathroom doors in the United States are equipped with privacy locks instead of security ones, which means that it’s pretty easy to open the door if you have the proper tools available.
Common Types Of Locks
These are some common types of locks you can expect to find in most bathroom doors in the United States for easy usage and curb appeal.
Turn Button Privacy Lock
As the name implies, when turning the knob on the interior, the door will be locked. To unlock, you will turn the knob in the opposite direction. This type of lock is the most affordable and therefore is very common.
Privacy Push Pin/Button Lock
This type of lock comes with a push pin or a button situated right next to the lever. If you are trapped from the inside of the bathroom, you’ll be glad to know that you can pull the lever to trigger the pin or the button, and the door will unlock.
This is frequently known as “panic release.”
Privacy Bolt With Lever/Knob
Similar to a deadbolt regarding the usage, this type can be leisurely unlocked from the exterior without a key since the bolt’s trim has an emergency release. It is relatively new compared to the two locks above and also less popular.
Uncommon Types Of Locks
The following types of locks are somewhat outdated, so the chance that you come across them is low. They are a bit inconvenient and have no aesthetics, so it’s understandable why they are no longer widely used.
A deadbolt lock is, in fact, the privacy bolt lock but without the lever. It is operated using a thumb-turn mechanism, and it can be opened from both sides of the door without any problem.
You won’t see this type of lock much nowadays. It is designed to limit bathroom use, with every coin or token you inserted allows you to enter the bathroom. When the door is shut, the lock stops accepting coins or tokens until you leave the stall.
Credit: Qi Locks
This kind of lock is normally used in toilets of schools or staff facilities to restrict unauthorized people. However, it’s rare, and it’s a bit bizarre – imagine that you are in a rush to urinate, and it asks you to enter the passcode!
There are more than six types of locks for sure, but those are what are in current use and have been used in the United States. Now that you have mastered the theory, it’s time to get into practice. Are you ready?
How To Open A Locked Bathroom Door (15 Ways)
Don’t fret if you or your family or friends are stuck inside the bathroom. With these everyday tools, you can easily unlock the door and get them out in no time.
Option 1: Work With The Lock
The lock is the culprit that gets you into this annoying situation, so you will start working with it. The following approaches call for everyday tools only, and rest assured you will succeed on the first attempt.
If you happen to have any card in your wallet, it should help you open the door. Your best bet is a card that is stiff and laminated, such as a library or shopping card. Avoid using your ID or credit card if you don’t want nasty scratches all over them.
You will slide the card between the lock and the door frame. Slightly bend the card towards the knob and wiggle it back and forth. Lean against the door, and it should open after a few minutes.
Note: This trick may not work for the deadbolt.
Watch this video to know more:
2. Flat-Head Screwdriver
Look for the hole in the doorknob and insert a flat-head screwdriver into it as far as you can. If the rod is too big, the chances are that it won’t fit. You will turn the screwdriver back and forth until it catches a groove and pops open.
3. Small Knife
This is a classic trick that never gets old. In this situation, the knife is used as a key. All you have to do is insert the knife into the keyhole, turning it back and forth until the lock is released. Any small knife such as a utility, steak, or butter should do the job.
Watch this video to know more:
4. Bobby Pin
Credit: Security Care Tips
If the knife does not seem to help, resort to something smaller, such as a bobby pin, which is also a timeless hack you often see in the movies. Bend the bobby pin so that it is as straight and flat as possible. Insert the pin into the keyhole and wiggle until there’s a click.
The paperclip trick is similar to the bobby pin but should be more straightforward to operate since it is smaller and sturdier. You can speed up by using two pins, one bent and one straightened, with the latter used to open the lock by wiggling slightly.
You should see the video below:
6. Tension Wrench + Paperclip
If the paperclip method fails, try again with a tension wrench (a hex key), and you should be able to unlock the door at ease. The wrench is utilized to hold the lock, whereas the paperclip is inserted into the lock’s upper part and wiggled until the door opens.
7. Metal Coat Hanger
Provided that there’s some space between the door and the wall, a metal coat hanger is a great option you should try. You will need to turn it into a long handle by bending it but leave its hook as it is. The hook is the key that opens the locked door.
Insert the hanger into the space between the door and its panel. Next, wrap it around the latch bolt and start pulling it, with your other hand turning the knob. The hanger will force the latch bolt to release from the strike plate.
Note: The trick only works if your door comes with a latch bolt and has no jamp that blocks the space.
8. Pick The Lock
This method requires some skills and effort, plus a special tool designed for this purpose. If you don’t have a lock-picking set, you can consider grabbing one from your local Home Depot since it can pop open almost all types of lock.
There are two approaches to open the locked bathroom door with this tool.
Insert the Allen wrench into the upper end and apply gentle pressure to the lock. With your other hand, insert a paperclip into the lower end of the keyhole and try to lift it upwards in circular movements. Repeat the motion until the door is unlocked.
Pin By Pin Method
This method is similar to the one above, but you will push the paperclip inside this time. As it comes into contact with the pin, you’ll need to catch the bend and lift it upwards until it clicks. Repeat with other pins until the door opens – patience is the key.
Note: You cannot pick a Bowley lock. It is made to prevent the pins from being picked.
You should see the video below:
If the above tricks are too complicated for you, here’s a simpler trick, provided that there’s a small window on the top of your bathroom door. You will use a cord that has a slipknot and is long enough to reach the lock. Tug both sides until the door opens.
Option 2: Work Beyond The Lock
If your bathroom lock is stubborn and refuses to release, you will need to resort to these methods, which call for a bit of strength. Note that the following techniques will lead to partial or complete damage to the door and should only be applied in an emergency.
Are you ready for some action? Assuming that none of the tools mentioned are available or do not work for you, you will use a little violence to unlock the door. Use your dominant food and kick the spot above the knob – the weakest point of the door.
Note: If your foot strength is not enough to kick it open the first time, try again. The lock should be loosened after several kicks. Keep in mind that you should do it with a flat foot to avoid getting hurt.
Watch this video to know more:
11. Remove The Door Handle
Credit: United Locksmith
Removing the handle is not a daunting task. All you need is a drill or a screwdriver to remove the screws of the handle. Next, use the screwdriver as a lever and place it into the lock mechanism. You have made it as you turn and hear a small click.
12. Remove The Door Hinge
This is a little extreme, yet necessary in case of emergency. To remove the hinge, hold a screwdriver (preferably a flat-head, but a Phillips should work, too) at the hinge pin’s bottom and tap it gently with a hammer until the pinhead is pried off.
Repeat the steps with other hinges until the door is completely free.
13. Drill The Lock
Sure enough, doing this will terribly damage the lock, but again, it’s one of your final options if the door won’t come off if you have tried the methods listed above.
First, use a hammer to create a guidance point for drilling. It should be just below the shear line. Next, start drilling through the guidance point and destroy the pins inside. Most locks have five to six pins, so take your time.
Note: The resistance increases as the drill bit meets the pins. However, as the drill bit cuts through them, the effects are mitigated.
Go slowly, as you’re trying to destroy the pins, not the whole lock. Lubricate the drill bit if necessary. Ensure that the drill is kept level. Switch to the larger bits if it takes more time than you expected.
Finally, use a flat-head screwdriver to turn the locking mechanism. The door should open quickly.
Note: Some locks are not drillable due to a pin or a ball bearing in the middle. Ask your local hardware store or an expert if you are uncertain about this. Plus, make sure that you have disabled the alarms so that you won’t make a scene out of it.
14. Break The Lock (With A Hammer)
Needless to say, using the hammer to demolish the lock will result in severe damage to the door, but it’s what you have to do if other methods don’t work. Hit the doorknob repeatedly until it breaks away. The door should open by now.
15. Bust The Door (With A Battering Ram)
This method relies on heavy strength, particularly when your foot strength is not enough to kick the door open, and the door is a heavy, stubborn one (think of an exit door to illustrate). Instead of calling the locksmith, you can make a battering ram yourself.
Purchase a manual pile driver. It should be a few feet long and has handles on both sides. Fill it with cement (it doesn’t have to be full) and let it dry. After that, use a side-tossing motion to hit the door as hard as you can until the lock mechanism is destroyed.
Note: The door is likely to be ruined entirely with this method, so be considerate. It should be the very last option.
Above are the fifteen most helpful tricks to save your loved ones from a stuck bathroom. Some methods don’t work for some types of lock, so make sure that you attempt several ways until you succeed. And remember, the less damage to the door, the better!
I know you are still left with some questions, which is why I’ve rounded up some frequently asked ones to help you out. Check them out.
Don’t Panic – It Only Gets Worse
Now that you know how to open a locked bathroom door, there’s no need to panic when you find yourself in such a mishap anymore. Instead, take a deep breath, then look around to see if there’s any tool that can help you open it.
It’s well-advised that you bring your phone with you when you go to a public restroom in case of an emergency. If possible, look for other exits, such as a window. Only attempt to climb out when you are on the ground floor.
For residential bathrooms, it’s a good idea to keep a pick-locking set, a pin, or a paperclip so that you can open the door from the inside when it’s locked and there’s no one home. Be calm and patient – you’ll get out faster than you thought!
Should you find this post helpful, share it with your friends so that they know how to do it, too. If you have further questions about the instructions, comment below, and I’ll respond immediately. Take care!