How To Unlock A Doorknob With Hole On One Side

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf
Door knobs can be annoying when they seem to get stuck for no reason. You easily unlock a doorknob that has a hole on one side with simple objects such as a paperclip. Whether you use a paperclip, coat hanger, or small tool, let’s see how you can unlock a doorknob with a hole on one side.

Locking yourself out of a room can be frustrating and stressful, especially if your doorknob has a hole on one side. It isn’t immediately clear how you can unlock the door without damaging the knob altogether, and using a key isn’t an option. So, how are you supposed to unlock a doorknob with a hole on one side?

You can unlock a doorknob with a hole on one side if you insert a paperclip, screwdriver, or coat hanger into the hole. Maneuver the tool inside of the hole until you catch the locking mechanism. Apply pressure and push the tool against the locking mechanism to release it and unlock the door.

It only takes a few moments to unlock a doorknob with a hole in it. Of course, you want to be careful so that you don’t damage the locking mechanism or your tool. Follow along as we explore how you can quickly and carefully unlock your doorknob with a hole on one side.

Related Content: Types of Door Locks | How To Open A Locked Bathroom Door| Types Of Lock Picks | How To Pick A Lock With A Bobby Pin | Is There A Doorknob That Locks On Both Sides?

Do You Need to Hire a Locksmith?

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

What is the Small Hole on the Doorknob and How Can it Unlock the Door?

For rounded doorknobs, there is usually a twisted tab lock. Even when the tab is set in the lock position, there are ways around it. The easiest way is the hole that sits at the joint of the knob and the arm that connects to the door.

The very purpose of this hole is so that the lock can be set back into the unlock position. It takes a little bit of maneuvering and patience, but this type of door is relatively easy to unlock. Keep in mind that there are other tricks for other styles of door, but that is later.

How To Unlock A Doorknob With A Hole On The Side

Step 1: Choose Your Tool

The hole is pretty small, so you will need a tool to accommodate it. A paper clip is probably the best option as it is quite small when unwound. In a pinch, you might be able to use a wire hanger though there is a chance that it is too large to fit the hole.

Bend the paper clip so that you have a long, straight portion. You want it to be just long enough that it will insert into the hole on the side of the doorknob. The straighter you can get it, the more effective it will be.

Step 2: Find the Hole

Now that your tool is ready to go, look for the hole. The location can vary depending on the brand, but it should be somewhere on the side. Whether it is on the knob itself or closer to the joint depends on the brand of knob.

If you can’t find the hole, you will need to try a different method. There are other methods, but the paper clip method is particular to this style of doorknob.

Step 3: Insert the Paper Clip

Finally, you will need to insert the paper clip into the hole on the side of the doorknob. Keep wiggling the paper clip around until you feel something catch or you hear a clicking sound. If it doesn’t happen right away, that’s fine; it takes time.

In these doorknobs, there is a small button on the inside that acts as the knob’s locking mechanism. Before long, the paper clip should come into contact with that button, eventually releasing the lock so you can turn the knob freely.

Step 4: Use a Tension Wrench (Optional)

Should you find yourself struggling to trigger the locking mechanism with just the paper clip, don’t worry. It can be a bit tricky to properly pull this method off, but there is another helpful tool that you can use.

Using a tension wrench, which is a small hex key, you can keep the tension up on the inside of the lock. By keeping the tension up, you can help unlock it using the paperclip. Put the tension wrench in the bottom part of the lock to get tension. Then put the paperclip in the top part and wiggle slowly until you hear a few small clicks.

Video: Here’s How to Unlock the Doorknob

7 Ways to Unlock Other Types of Doorknobs

The real wild card when it comes to unlocking a doorknob is the type of doorknob in question. They are not all created the same and one method may work better for one than it does for another type of doorknob.

Thankfully, there are a multitude of solutions that you can implement based on the type of lock in-play. Some are also more difficult than others to pull off so don’t get frustrated if you can’t get it quite right immediately.

Method 1: Using a Credit Card

We’ve all seen this done before on television and in the movies, right? Well, that’s because it is actually an effective measure for certain types of doorknobs. Keep in mind that this is best for latch-bolt, open lever, and spring locks.

The stiffer the card, the better. A little flexibility is good and preferably laminated (think a loyalty card or a library card). Don’t use credit cards or ID cards since they can become potentially damaged and leave you with a new set of problems.

Push the bolt. The idea is to slide the card between the bolt and the doorframe. You will have to bend the card back and forth and may even have to lean against the door to gain leverage. When you are successful, the bolt will separate from the frame and the door will unlock.

Method 2: Using a Substitute Key

If you have a spam key, that is easily the best way to open up a locked door. But that is typically a bit too convenient and rarely do we have something that convenient when we need it most. Thankfully, there are a few alternative yet similar methods to mimic the actual key.

Flathead screwdriver. If you have a small flathead screwdriver – the size of one you would use on a pair of eyeglasses – find the hole in the knob and push the screwdriver in. Something with a thicker rod likely won’t work.

Push the screwdriver in as far as you can and move it around until it catches on a groove in the lock. Like the paper clip, this will take a bit of maneuvering and time, but you should eventually hear the lock click, unlocking it again.

Method 3: Picking the Lock

Picking a lock looks cool and simple in the movies but this is a pretty complicated endeavor for the average person. If you have no instructions, it can be especially difficult to pull this task off. You will need to use an Allen wrench to get the job done or one of these lock picks.

When you insert the Allen wrench, put its short end into the lower part of the keyhole and turn slightly. Make sure that you keep constant pressure. At this point, there are two ways that you can get the job done properly.

Pin by pin. The pin by pin method means trying to push the paperclip (or whatever you use) while using the Allen wrench to maintain pressure. The goal is to catch the pin using the paperclip, lifting it up until you finally hear the lock click.

Scrubbing. You can also use the Allen wrench, moving it in circular motions, to try to gently move the locking mechanism. This one takes a bit of skill and experience to properly execute.

Method 4: Using a Butter Knife

Perhaps you find yourself locked out of the bathroom and can’t think of any recourse for getting in. You may be surprised to find that a butter knife can be a pretty effective way of opening a locked bathroom door. They are particularly effective when dealing with push-button locks.

Simply put the butter knife into the keyhole, twisting it until you release the lock. This should allow you to turn the knob completely and open the door. Try to stay away from sharper knives as a slip could lead to a nasty cut and possibly a trip to the hospital.

Method 5: Using a Cord (for Doors with a Window at the Top)

If you have an old school window that has a window on top, you can get downright secret agent when opening the door. Use a length of cord and a slipknot to potentially unlock the door. This really only works if you have a window at the top of the door, but it can help effectively open the lock without doing any potential damage in the process.

Method 6: Take the Hinges Off the Door

Some of these methods may sound relatively easy to pull off but before you know it, you’re five methods down and immensely frustrated. There is one method that is quite aggressive but will get the job done each time: take off the hinges.

Removing the hinges requires two things: a flat head screwdriver and a small hammer. You can then use the screwdriver and hammer to knock the pins out, taking the door off of the hinges. It might be a pain to do this method, but it is the best way to get the door off fairly quickly and correct the lock without having to resort to any other tactics.

Do You Need to Hire a Locksmith?

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

Method 7: Take the Handle Off

Don’t want to take the hinges off and can’t get the door unlocked? Use a drill or screwdriver to take out the exterior screws so that you can remove the handle entirely. Use your screwdriver as a lever, put it into the door’s locking mechanism, and then turn it until you hear a click. You can then unlock the knob and reinstall it.

Related Guides

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

More by Ryan Womeldorf