How To Unlock A Bathroom Door Twist Lock

Kirstin Harrington
by Kirstin Harrington

Whenever you move into a new place, one of the first things you should do is buy new locks. While it’s initially a safety tool, it also allows you to customize your home a little more by choosing any doorknob you want. One of the most commonly picked styles are handles with twist locks.

Whether you’re just getting used to new ones or something else happened, it can be easy to lock yourself out of a room. If you’ve found yourself locked out of a bathroom that has twist locks, you’re in the right place.

Even when the tab position is set to lock, it’s fairly simple to get past it. I like to use a safety pin and poke it into the hole to trigger it to unlock. It’s easy, cheap, and almost anyone can do it.

There are several different methods that will get you past a locked door. Below I’ve included several handy ways to get in or out of a room. Let’s dive into what you need to know before applying these tips and tricks.

Before You Get Started

The first thing you’ll need to do before we start our lock picking endeavor is to identify the type of lock you’re working with. Almost every bathroom door is a twist lock, and these are also common in bedrooms. These have a twisting lock mechanism inside the doorknob that you’ll need to unlock.

An easy way to identify a twist-lock knob is to look for a small circular hole in the center of the handle. This is built-in for easy emergency access when needed. If you’re working with a knob that has a keyhole, a few of the methods below will work for you as well.

How to Unlock a Bathroom Door With a Twist Lock

Pulling the Bolt

For the first method, the only thing you’ll need to get the job done is a wire coat hanger and a bit of patience. If you’re working with a lock that has a latch bolt, you’re going to use the wire hanger to hook it.

Step One: Bending the Hanger. Take the hanger and bend it so that it looks like a long handle with a hook on the end.

Step Two: Inserting the Hook. Next, place the hook in the space between the edge of the door and the jamb. Doing this will let you hook the latch bolt around. After you’ve done this, keep the hanger in one hand and put the doorknob in the other.

Step Three: Turning the Handle. For the third step, you might need to add a bit of force or pressure. Turn the knob in the same direction you’d turn it to open the door. At the same time, pull the hanger towards you, forcing it to come out.

At this point, you should be in the bathroom with the door unlocked. If there is anything blocking the space between the wall and the door, this likely won’t work. Thankfully, there are a handful of other methods still left to read about!

Paper Clip Method

This is by far the easiest route to take if you have a twist lock. Here are the simple directions to get the job done in no time!

Step One: Grab a Paper Clip. The first thing you need is a paper clip. Bend is so that there’s a long, straight section that you can use to put into the small hole on the knob.

Step Two: Find the Hole in the Door Knob. Next, locate the hole on the doorknob. It’s usually in the center of the handle but can also be found on top of the curve of metal that meets the door.

Step Three: Inserting the Paper Clip. For the third step, simply put the paper clip into the hole. Once you’ve done this, move it around until you hear a clicking sound. If there’s no sound, move it until you can feel that it catches onto something.

The goal here is to get the paper clip to hit the locking mechanism inside the knob. Doing so will release the lock, unlocking it for you to enter the room.

Removing the Doorknob

If all else fails, always remember that you can remove the doorknob. To get this done, you’ll need a sturdy screwdriver. While you might be able to see the mounting screws, some are hidden in the knob.

You’ll need a butter knife or something to pry away the part of the knob that meets the wood of the door. This will help you get access to the mounting screws. Once the screws are loosened, you should be able to get into the bathroom.

Credit Card Method

One of the most classic door-picking methods in the book involves using a credit card. If you don’t want to damage a credit card, I suggest finding an old gift card or a rewards card that can be replaced if needed.

This is best used on latch bolts that have an angled edge facing you. Using a plastic card is strangely similar to using a metal wire hook. Repeat the same steps above for that method and make sure you’re applying plenty of pressure.

Using a Bobby Pin

The last method we’re going to go over is one of the most trustworthy ones in the book. Using a bobby pin is not only reliable, but it’s practically free. Everyone has bobby pins lying around their house, and they’re perfect tools to unlock a door.

Similarly to the coat hanger, you’ll want to bend a bobby pin, so it’s totally straight. It acts as an alternative key to turn the cylinder in the knob. Stick it into the bottom of the keyhole and push until the door is unlocked.

Calling a Locksmith

If you’ve tried the different options above and still find yourself locked out of your bathroom, there’s something else you can do. Calling a locksmith should be a last resort, as they can be quite spendy. If you’re on a time crunch or have something heat-sensitive, like a flat iron on in the bathroom, this may be the safest option.

Like anything else, the prices can vary depending on things like your location and the time of day you call. On average, you’ll likely spend between $90 and $215 to get your bathroom door unlocked. If you live in an apartment and it’s during your landlord’s working hours, they could unlock it for you.

Service ProvidedAverage Price Range
Hourly Rate$50 – $100
After-Hours Rate$75 – $125
Trip Charge$50 – $100
Emergency Trip Charge$100 – $150
Home Key Unlocking$100 – $200

Related Questions

What is better, door knobs or levers?

When it comes to comparing door knobs and levers, it’s mostly a matter of opinion. If you live in an older property, a doorknob is the best option. The doors have been fitted for the mounted rim locks, so it will be less work. Some folks believe that levers look more elegant. Something to note on a post about picking locks is that levers can make that more difficult. This can be a positive thing to keep out intruders but can come back at you if you’re the one locked out. 

How do I choose the right doorknob?

Choosing the right doorknob is essential and will save you time, money, and stress in the long run. The best way to do this is to remove the doorknob you may already have in the door. Measure the center of the hole to the edge of the doorway and take note of the measurement. You’ll usually end up with 2 ⅜ inches or 2 ¾ inches. Though these are close, you’ll definitely notice if you buy the wrong size. 

Should door knobs match throughout the house?

Despite popular belief, there’s no reason to match doorknobs throughout your home, besides aesthetic purposes. Have fun choosing different finishes, colors, and styles for each room. Some people go as far as matching the doorknobs to the light fixtures and other hardware in the home. If you’re on a budget, you can go with a cost-efficient option. When it comes down to it, the safety of your family and belongings is much more important than the decor of your home. Opt for the safest and most heavy-duty options when it comes to the doors leading into your house.

Kirstin Harrington
Kirstin Harrington

Kirstin is a passionate writer who loves helping people learn new things when it comes to home improvement. When she's not behind a keyboard, she enjoys DIY projects, crafts, spending time with her pets, and making videos. She hopes that with all she writes, someone is finding a solution to their home improvement needs.

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