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How to Open a Locked Door With a Knife

Emrah Oruc

This article describes how to open a locked interior door with a butter knife. This operation is effective for doors with a knob or latch handle.

Sooner or later, you're going to lock yourself out of a room in your house. Whether you accidentally push the lock button before closing the door, or your rambunctious child does it for you, you are going to have to figure out another way to get into a room without a key.

Most interior doors that lock use a spring-loaded latch system. The latch springs out into a latch pocket in the door jamb, keeping the door closed. Turning the knob or handle retracts the latch, allowing the door to open. If the knob or handle is locked, a simple butter knife or putty knife can be used to retract the latch open and gain entry into the room. Do not attempt this procedure with a sharp or sharp-tipped knife. You can injure yourself if the knife accidentally slips.

    Insert Knife

  1. Insert the knife between the door and the door jamb strike plate until you feel the tip of the knife bottom out on the door latch.

  2. Pry the Latch

  3. Sweep the tip of the knife and move the latch slightly inward.

  4. Push on the Door

  5. Apply moderate pressure to the door with your free arm. This keeps the latch from springing back out.

  6. Repeat

  7. Continue to sweep the latch from outside in until the tip of the latch clears the latch pocket in the door jamb and the door can be opened.