I can imagine how stressful it can be to stay locked in the bathroom. Fortunately, most bathroom doors in the US contain privacy locks instead of security ones that are standard equipment for other doors in your home. That means you won’t have many troubles opening it in most cases.
In case of an emergency, you can always decide to call a locksmith or the fire department. However, there is a possibility to discover how to open a locked bathroom door by yourself on time. Actually, it is not such a complicated job with adequate tools, especially when someone can help you to open a locked door from the outside.
Types of Privacy Locks
There are three basic types of locks that most bathroom doors in the US are equipped:
- Turn button privacy lock – This type is not so common in bathrooms. You can lock them after turning a knob on the interior side.
- Privacy push pin (button) lock – To get a little privacy by using this model, you should push a button in the interior knob of the door, which will activate the lock. To unlock it, you need to turn the knob from the inside.
- Privacy bolt with a lever (knob) – It is a newer type of privacy lock you can use like a deadbolt. Its advantage is that you don’t need a key from the outside at all.
How to Open a Locked Bathroom Door?
There are a few simple tricks on how to open a locked bathroom door without the key.
1. Credit card
It is not an ideal solution for a deadbolt, but you can open lever-type doorknobs, latch-bolt, and spring locks with your credit card without much trouble. Keep in mind that you need to pick out the right card.
The best option is a stiff, laminated, and flexible one, such as a library card or grocery store loyalty card. Avoid using your identification, debit, or credit card to prevent damaging.
The procedure includes sliding the card between the door frame and lock. Then, bend it back and try to push the bolt inside the door. In some cases, you can lean against the door, which may help to finish the job quicker.
2. Substitute key
One of the quicker ways how to open a locked bathroom door is to use a spam key. If you don’t have any, you can use some other, similar convenient means to get out of an awkward situation.
If you have a door with a privacy handle, you can use a screwdriver to remove the doorknob in case of an emergency. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t turn the lock while trying to unlock it.
Find a hole in the doorknob and push a flat-head eyeglasses screwdriver into it as far as you can. The tool with thicker rods won’t work well since you can’t put it inside the door handle. Then, turn and wiggle the device until it catches a groove. You will know that you finish the job successfully when hearing the click.
A sturdy paper clip is an excellent tool for unlocking the bathroom door when necessary. The catch is in shaping it ideally for this type of job. You can make the process even much more comfortable if you have two paper clips. In such a case, bend the first one and fold out the second one to be as straight as possible.
After inserting the bent paperclip into the hole of the lock, you should stick the straightened one beneath. Then, move and wiggle the second piece around until you open the lock.
Tension wrench and a paperclip
A tension wrench is a small hex key, which you can use to maintain the tension inside the lock while trying to unlock it with the paperclip.
In the defining, you should insert the tool into the lock’s bottom part and rotate it to get tension on the lock. Then slowly wiggle the paperclip inside the top part of the lock until hearing a few clicks.
3. Metal coat hanger
Pulling the bolt with a metal coat hanger is an excellent way on how to open a locked bathroom door if you have a latch bolt. It is necessary to bend your hanger adequately to make a long handle with a hook at the end.
Place that hook between the wall and the edge of the door itself and wrap it around the latch bolt. Then, use another hand to rotate the knob while pulling the hanger toward you. Keep in mind that this technique has a sense only if you don’t have the jamb blocking the gap between the wall and door.
4. Pick the lock
This procedure is a bit complicated for most people, especially if you don’t have any instructions. To do it, you should use an Allen wrench and insert its shorter end into the lower edge of the keyhole.
Try to turn the lock slightly while keeping constant pressure on it. There are two possible ways to finish the job successfully.
- Scrubbing method – Push the Allen wrench in gently at the keyhole and try to lift it upward in circular motions.
- Pin by pin method – Try to push the paperclip gradually while keeping the pressure on the Allen wrench. Catch the pun on the bend with the paperclip and lift it upward until hearing the click.
5. Butter knife
Believe it or not, a butter knife can be an efficient way on how to open a locked bathroom door, especially if you have a push-button bathroom lock. Put it into the keyhole and twist it to release the lock. Then, turn the doorknob and open your door. Avoid using sharper knives to prevent cutting your hand.
6. Bobby pin
You can use this simple accessory to pick the lock, but be prepared that it will take time. Before starting, you should bend two bobby pins into a specific shape, to make them an adequate replacement for the key.
Bend the last 0.4 inches (1 cm) of the bobby pin’s end to make it perpendicular to its free ends. Put the bent part into the bottom of the keyhole and use the second bobby pin with a bent fulcrum to make a straight piece.
Then, wiggle the bobby pin while turning the doorknob at the same time. Although it will undoubtedly take longer than on film, this method is most often one of the most successful ways on how to open a locked bathroom door.
If you are strong enough but have no tools, you can combine Newton’s third law and SWAT-style kick to get out of the bathroom. Keep in mind that you need the door that opens outwards and those made of weaker materials.
The system is not complicated at all. You need to determine a spot above the doorknob since it is the weakest point and kick it with your dominant leg. Do it with a flat foot and repeat the action if you fail on the first attempt.
Using a cord with a slipknot or thicker rope is probably one of the easiest ways on how to open a locked bathroom door without ruining it. The only condition is that you have a small window on the top of the door.
You should pick out a cord long enough to reach the lock placed on the outside. Use the cord to hold the lock and then tug both its sides to unlock the door.
9. Remove the hinges
It is a bit aggressive but an entirely successful method. You will need a flat-head screwdriver to wedge it between the pin and bottom knuckle of your door.
Use a hammer to push the screwdriver downward until both the pin and head lose enough. After repeating the action with all hinges, you can remove the door.
10. Remove the door handle
Pick out this method if you can’t unlock your door otherwise. Use a screwdriver or drill to undo exterior screws of the door handle, and then use the screwdriver as a lever. Place it into the lock mechanism and turn it gently until hearing click.
Be prepared that drilling the lock will damage your door and use this particular technique only when you have no other choice. The goal is to destroy the pins with the drill and turn the lock.
Take care to drill above the shear line (the top of the keyhole). It is the part of the lock placed in the same line with the threshold between the pin and cylinder. Start with the small-sized drill bit and keep the lock lubricated. As soon as you drilled the hole, use a screwdriver to open the lock.
Since using a hammer to demolish the lock will damage your door, it should be your last way on how to open a locked bathroom door. If you are strong enough, bash a doorknob downward repeatedly until the lock breaks and detaches from the door.
If you often have a problem with the lock of your bathroom door, you should keep a lock-picking set on the shelf inside. That way, you can open the door without damaging them whenever needed.