I have an interior door with a twist lock. It locks from the inside and on the outside takes this type of key:


However, I lost the key, and seem to have locked the door before my last exit. What can I use to access the room without damaging the lock?

Note: my precision screwdriver set is locked inside this very room.

  • It looks like this can be made out of iron wire. Actually how big is this key on the picture, is it like wire or more like a rod? And which part of it have to be inserted in the lock
    – vladiz
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 14:22
  • @Mooseman The question title is very ambiguous after your reverted, as there are thousands of different interior door locks. Just google images on 'interior door' and you won't find easily the one which you're describing.
    – kenorb
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 14:18
  • the answers above don't work on mine which needs a key to get in. Is it me not doing it right? Commented Apr 22 at 9:20

6 Answers 6


As you mentioned, a small flat screwdriver works best. However, you can use basically anything that's thin, stiff, and non-round. I used to do this all the time to my brother to piss him off (ah, youth).

Some of the things I've used:

  • The metal clip from a cheap pen
  • A paperclip with the very tip bent to a 90 degree angle (to simulate a screwdriver)
  • A safety pin (bent like above). Works a bit better, due to stiffer metal.
  • The end of an old tangled up Slinky (bent straight)
  • A metal coat hanger with the tip hammered flat

Creativity goes a long way here.

  • I like the paperclip one.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 14:23
  • 1
    That one's kind of tricky. A safety pin really does work better if you have one that's large enough to reach the lock mechanism. Paper clips tend to twist and/or unbend easily.
    – TIO Begs
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 14:24
  • True, but I (hopefully) only need it once.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 14:25
  • Yep, hopefully. Good luck!
    – TIO Begs
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 14:26

The flat end of a cheap teaspoon. Not all types work though, more expensive teaspoons often have fancier handles that won't work.


It's stronger then most other methods using paperclips or other improvised things and you don't have to hammer anything flat.

If you don't care about the spoon you can bend it in the middle for extra leverage.

  • 2
    The key hole is only about 5mm in diameter.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 12:41
  • @Mooseman that's exactly the type of teaspoon I'm talking about, I measured the one in my coffeecup and it's 5mm.
    – Pieter B
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 13:41
  • I don't have anything quite that narrow. A did upvote though.
    – Mooseman
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 13:42

If there is a round hole in the middle of the door knob, push a carpenter nail into the hole, dead-center and push against the spring. The lock will release, as if magic.


2.5 inch nail works everytime in my experience.

  • 3
    Please elaborate your answer to include how to use the nail.
    – A J
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 13:31

Bobby Pin or even Safety pin will work too.

If you don't have either open your wallet and take out an old laminated card. Insert it between the door and the door frame about where the lock cross bar goes into the door jam. If the curved part is facing you place the flat edge of the card sung against the curved lock bar and pull the door knob towards you as you are pushing the card snug. The door will open.

If the curved lock bar is facing away from you use the corner of the card to tickle the top or bottom back edge of the lock cross bar. This might mean bending the card slightly. Again you are trying to release the lock bar by applying pressure on the curved edge that goes into the door jam. After a few seconds when you feel the corner edge of the card is snug against the lock cross beam, again apply pressure to the doorknob pushing it away from you and pulling it towards you as you press on the card. After you get the card in the right spot when you pull the door towards you you should feel the cross bar give and the door will swing open.

This also works for outside door locks with more substantial locks. Just not deadbolts.


On every bedroom door with a privacy handle, a tiny screwdriver works wonderfully. These doors are frequently locked by pressing the button on the door handle.

When you're locked out of your bedroom and can't find your key, look inside the doorknob for a little hole. Insert a small screwdriver into the hole as far as possible. After that, twist and twirl your tool until it catches a groove and unlocks the door lock.

  • That answer has already been given.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 9:22

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