How To Open A Locked Door With A Knife (Step-by-Step Guide)

Eli Smith
by Eli Smith

Imagine this scenario: You just got off work, and you’ve come to the staggering realization that you left your house keys behind. You would go back, but your boss locked the shop up and isn’t answering their phone. You remember that you packed a butter knife with you in your lunch, so now would be a convenient time to know how to open a locked door with a knife.

With a short knife, you can jam it into the keyhole and wiggle it around. Keep wiggling until you hear the familiar click of the lock, indicating you are making progress. While doing this, try to apply pressure and rotate the knife.

While this is the most direct method of opening a locked door with a knife, there are others we will be going through below. We will also be discussing how to open a locked door with other kinds of tools.

Do You Need to Hire a Locksmith?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

What Locks Can I Open With A Knife?

The first step in knowing whether you can open your door with a knife is to determine the type of lock you can use with a knife. You can open two locks with a butter knife: Push-button locks or spring-loaded keyhole locks. If you find a lock with a deadbolt, many of these techniques will not be useful.

Opening A Push-Button Lock With A Knife

A push-button lock doesn’t have a keyhole, so you are going to pry it open. You can do this by shoving the knife between the frame and the door, right next to the knob. Your goal is to try and remove the door’s bolt, pushing it away until the lock twists free. It will require several minutes and a lot of patience.

Opening A Spring-Loaded Lock With A Knife

To do this, you will need a knife thin enough to shove into a keyhole. Your goal is to jam the thin knife inside the lock and wiggle it around while turning it. This technique is unsuitable with larger blades. Some people like to file down their knives until they get a scoop-shaped object. This creation will easily fit into most keyholes but will require you to destroy one of your blades.

Picking A Lock With A Knife And A Bobby Pin or Paper Clip

The cliché method of picking locks involves using a bobby pin or a paper clip. Master thieves do this in under thirty seconds and haul off fat stacks of cash in their oversized trenchcoats.

In your case, these instructions assume that you aren’t a master thief, and you are using a paper clip and a butter knife. Also, it will likely take you longer than 30 seconds. You will want to start by making the paper clip as flat as possible. You will be shoving the knife in the bottom half of the lock while using the paper clip to rake across the keyholes.

Given that the paper clip is a bit more fragile, you will want to be more cautious. Start by wiggling the knife until you hear a familiar click and use the thin paper clip for flicking the remaining springs. You will want to keep the knife tilted slightly right as you press into the springs using the paper clip. Press those spings up one-by-one until the blade turns, always maintaining a consistent amount of pressure.

How To Open A Locked Door With A Screwdriver

First, this technique is best with a flathead screwdriver. A Phillips screwdriver is only useful as a pry, so don’t bother trying to shove it into a lock.

Use the same technique that we listed with the smaller knives. Given that flathead screwdrivers are already naturally smaller than locks, they are better suited for this than most knives. You can also use a bobby pin or paper clip in combination with this, pressing up the springs as you go. Your last resort will be to use this as a pry, but there is a significant chance of you damaging your tool at this point.

If you see exposed screws on the outside of the door, that would be the easiest method of getting in. However, you are going to want to replace those immediately. If you can get in quickly, someone else also has the same ease. You can also use your knife to remove screws, be careful with slipping loose.

How To Open A Locked Door With A Card

Another classic door opening method involves the usage of a credit card. This technique is immensely satisfying if your credit card is maxed out or paid off, as you can finally get some use out of the thing.

You can only do this with lever-type doorknobs, so don’t expect it to work on any advanced, spring-loaded locks. The idea is to slip the card between the door and the frame just below the knob and apply pressure upwards. Eventually, the lever system will give up. While doing this, also be sure to turn the knob to the right. If you are trying to preserve this card, try not to be too rough.

If you have a newer chip card, there is a fair likelihood of your card being destroyed. Stick to using library cards and other less critical cards.

How To Pick A Lock With A Bobby Pin or Paperclip

If you don’t have a nearby knife or a lockpicking kit, your other choice is to bend a paperclip and a bobby pin in such a way where it functions as a lockpick.

Much like using a combination of a bobby pin and a knife, your first step will be to bend the bobby pin until it Is a long flat metal piece. If there are any rubber bands attached, remove them with wire cutters. Next, turn the other side of the bobby pin until it angles downward. You should have something of a triangle with a long strand of metal coming out of it for tool number one.

Take a second bobby pin and bend it ninety degrees. You will bend both edges of the pin at the halfway point. Shove the rounded end of this bobby pin into the lock as your lever. After this, try and feel the pins using the other oddly bent bobby pin.

Much like with the knife and paperclip example we used earlier, you need to push up until you hear the spring-loaded mechanism click.

The pin you will want to push up on will be the most difficult to move. These are “seized pins” that your key typically is shaped to handle so that your springs are un-seized in the right order. Don’t push up on the easy to move pins. There needs to be a bit of pressure as you are pushing up; that is how you know you are on the right pin.

You can also apply this technique to deadbolt locks. For more information on deadbolt locks that tend to stick, check out our guide on the subject.

How To Pick A Deadbolt Lock For Beginners

Most of the techniques under our list will work for picking a deadbolt lock. The simplest method involves using bobby pins, which is what we just went through. If you feel iffy about shaping bobby pins correctly, you can also purchase lockpicking tools.

Where Can I Find A Beginner Lock Pick Set?

You can find beginner lock picking sets on a variety of websites. Check out your options below:

  • com
  • com
  • Home Depot (look for hook and pick sets)
  • Walmart
  • com
  • Lowes

How Do You Use A Lock Pick Set?

A lock pick set comes In two different pieces: the pin and the hook. Similarly to how we bent the bobby pin, the hook goes into the bottom half of your lock. You will use the pick to push up the pins within the spring-loaded system. Apply force, turning the hook using a standard house key. You will know that you are pushing up on the right pieces inside the lock once you hear clicks.

Do You Need to Hire a Locksmith?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

Are There Any Locks Impossible To Pick?

The few types of locks that are nearly impossible to pick are magnetic locks and smart locks. Magnetic locks will require you to decode the magnet configuration of your lock. That is difficult, but it isn’t entirely impossible.Smart locks need you to have a phone or a keyfob nearby to open it, meaning no “keyhole” to pick. These are more vulnerable to cyberattacks, but many smart locks have end-to-end encryption that makes it difficult.A chain key is a fragile, form-fitting key that is incredibly odd. While it isn’t possible, the enormous amount of variance that comes from chain keys makes them virtually impossible to pick.Other companies are known to create these multi-hole locks that will require a ridiculous amount of picks. These companies include ZPUZMAG, which makes locks that resemble the holes in a showerhead.

Eli Smith
Eli Smith

I'm a guy who becomes the expert of whatever I stumble upon, writing-wise. I've written tons about cool home products, home improvement, and smart technology in the home. I'm also the proud father of a kiddo born on new years, making my holidays very busy.

More by Eli Smith