Few months ago, a toilet paper dispenser was installed at my work place. It looks nice, and usually functioning well, here is how it looks like normally:

dispenser when it's working fine

As you can see, there is a big toilet paper roll inside the dispenser, and one can just pull the paper out of a small hole in the middle.

However, sometimes when taking the paper out, it gets stuck right in the exit, and it's impossible to pull it out in such situation:

Toilet paper stuck in dispenser

I can see there is paper, it's just stuck there inside the dispenser.

I also can't open the dispenser itself since it's locked:

dispenser is locked

The workplace does have a janitor who fix this when seeing it or when someone tells him, but this can take a while, and he's not always around, so it's better if I'll have alternative.

Is there any way to reach the paper?

  • Remove the cover, as the toilet paper assistant would to install a new roll? Jun 22, 2020 at 13:59
  • @WeatherVane thanks, but the cover is locked. Jun 22, 2020 at 15:12
  • 1
    I have not seen this style before, does the toilet paper feed from the center where your red circle is? If so it seems like a really bad design. Jun 22, 2020 at 17:29
  • Get a pair of thin-nosed pliers and try to tease the paper out gently. Jun 22, 2020 at 18:09
  • 1
    +1 for a clear well-defined question with some research effort. Nice revision.
    – Stan
    Jun 23, 2020 at 15:44

2 Answers 2


Hack: If the tissue is packed tightly enough, try twisting a cork-screw into the centre of the packed opening. Then, after it has become seated, pull gently.

enter image description here

With a bit of luck, you can pull enough of the paper to grip to finish pulling the next sheet from the dispenser.

Good Luck


Hack: You could make a key to fit the lock in the centre on the dispenser.
Any flat scrap of stiff material should work.
While you are sitting there, you could use a small file to make one if you have the materials handy. Alternately, bending stiff wire to make the '+' shape could also work with some practice, too.

A Universal Paper Dispenser key looks like this: It is 1cm wide.
Universal Paper Dispenser key

Good Luck!

  • It's not a lock, it's just a hole through which the paper should come out. The lock is on top of the dispenser, I'll take some more pictures and edit the question to make it more clear. Thanks, and sorry for being unclear. Jun 23, 2020 at 6:30
  • Either way, this is a good option for opening it if needed. If you watch Lock-Picking Lawyer videos, you soon realize that locks like these aren't designed for security, just to slow down vandals :) Jun 27, 2020 at 14:00

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