how to get a broken key out of a lock

How to Get a Broken Key Out of a Lock (Safely)

So how to get a broken key out of a lock? It is easy and you can do it at home without calling a lock professional or breaking the door lock.

I will give you some homemade ideas that you can try to get that key out of the lock. If those do not work, the only way to fix the lock is by removing or replacing it.

First, things do not get panic, and think straight about how you can remove that key. Never try to break the glass or the lock, as you can open it with a little patience.

But first, you need to know how this door lock system works. 

The Basic Mechanism of a Door Key Lock

Before you learn how to get broken key out of the ignition, you must learn how this thing works.

In every door lock, there is a cylinder with many pins. The pins are free to move up and down in their chamber due to a spring.

So when you insert your key and rotate it, those key pins get stuck in these cylinder pins and rotate, thus opening the door.

But when those pins got stuck there because you broke them, they could not move anymore, preventing them from being extracted.

So the idea is simple, the cylinder must be returned to its normal position to remove the broken key from the lock.

I mean, you have to rotate it using some outside tools. So let’s understand how to get a snapped key out of a lock using a few tools.

Also, read: How to remove drywall anchors from the wall

How to Get a Broken Key Out of a Lock

How Does this Key Work the Inside of the Lock

So here you have to use some tools to do the job. First, rotate the cylinder to its previous position, and then you can remove the key from it.

 What tools do you need? Below is a list of lock-fixing tools you can arrange easily. So let’s understand how to get a broken key out of a lock.

1. Use a Glue Stick to Remove the Key

Use a Glue Stick to Remove the door Key

You may have seen it, as many people create TikTok videos telling you how to get a broken key out of a lock using a glue stick. They are available in most homes if not, you can buy them online easily. 

Here is how you would remove the key from the look.

  • First, soften the tip of the glue stick and press it into the keyhole.
  • If you have softened the glue stick enough, then it will mold and harden around the key pins.
  • When it becomes hard, rotate the key and try to remove it slowly.

The glue stick tip should be pointy enough to help it reach the keyhole and attach to the pins more accurately. 

If you can not remove the glue stick, use a nose pillar to get more grab of it, and if you do not have a glue stick, use the next idea.

2. Use Super Glue on the Tip of the Snapped Key

Use Super Glue on the Tip of the Snapped Key

People also recommend using super glue to remove the broken key. Be careful with it as it may damage the lock if you mistakenly spill the glue inside the lock.

Do the following to remove the key.

  • Put super glue on the tip of the broken key handle.
  • Then insert it in the lock.
  • Let it join with the broken key pins.
  • Then when it is attached, slowly rotate and remove the key.

It may work if your lock is not that complicated. But if any mistake happens, that glue will spill over inside of the lock thus damaging the inner mechanism of it. 

In that case, you have to take the lock out of the door and soak it in the nail polish remover to dissolve the glue. Do it carefully, or the other ideas in our list will not work anymore.

These two ideas are my feveroit on how to remove a broken key from a lock. But if you do not have the glue stick right now try the below steps.

3. Use a Broken Key Extractor

Use a Broken Key Extractor

You can also use some key extractors you have in your house. It is like a professional method on how to remove a broken key from a lock. Here are the two most common key extractors that you can use.

  • Spiral Key Extractor: It is a thin metal that has a long, narrow hard material. Use it to grip the broken key and remove it.
  • Hook Key Extractor: With the hook extractor, try to hook the first cut of the broken key and pull the key out. 

Be careful, and do not push the key further into the lock. Twist the extractor and gently take out the key. You have to try a few times before successfully removing the key.

The above are professional ideas on how to get a broken key out of a lock. Below are the most common homemade solutions that everyone uses before they try those professional ideas.

4. Use a Needle Nose Plier

Use a Needle Nose Plier for door key removal

Everyone has a nose plier or tweezer in their home. Use it to remove the key. Just insert the nose plier into the lock, garb the broken part of the key, and then try to remove it slowly.

Do not force the nose plier, as it may get worse. Just grab it and then peacefully rotate it, and it will come out unless the inner lock mechanism is too complicated.

Try it now and let me know the result of your lock problem.

5. Try Removing the Key with a Small Jigsaw Blade

Use a Small Jigsaw Blade to remove the snapped key

It is also a similar approach to the nose plier. Inset the blade, try to stick the pins, and then remove it without breaking the key or the blade.

But you may not have the Jigsaw blade at home. Get it from your hardware store or order it online. 

6. Use Small Paper Clips

Use Paper Clips to remove the key

It is not the best solution on how to get a broken key out of a lock but it may work for you. Use those metal paper clips, as the plastic will not work.

That metal paper clip has grooved edges, a narrow thin metal that can go inside the lock. Use it to pull out the key. It is your first and last resort in solving this lock issue.

7. Take the Whole Door Lock Out

Take the door Lock Out

If all the above ideas are not working for you, then your best bet is a professional locksmith who can take the key out of the lock itself from the door. But if you want to do it yourself, here is how to remove the lock. 

  • Expose the back side of the cylinder by removing the lock from the door.
  • Look for any holes to put a paper clip or nose pilar to push the broken key out. 

That is the last thing you can do. If you want to install a new lock, you need a professional, as leveling the lock in a proper place is tough, and you do not want to leave any loose end with your lock. Get a locksmith. 

What is the Quickest Way?

For me, the quickest way how to get a broken key out of a door is to use a few glue sticks, as I have explained in the first point. Heat the glue stick up a bit and insert it into the door lock.

Then wait for a few minutes and rotate it slowly to get the snapped key out of the lock. You can get this glue stick near a hardware store or buy it online.

Door Snapped Key Removal FAQs

door broken key FAQs

How do you get a broken key out of a lock?

The best way to remove a broken key is to use a glue stick. You have to heat the stick a little insert it in the lock and then rotate it.

Can you use super glue to remove a broken key?

Yes, super glue can be used to remove the broken key, but you should be careful as if you mistakenly spill the glue inside the lock, it will be damaged.

Can you still use a broken key?

Yes, but only to remove the broken key part. Add some glue in front of it, insert it in the lock, and wait a few minutes. Then rotate the key to open the lock.

Can you hammer a broken key into a lock?

You should not use a hammer as it may damage the lock. Only use it if you need to replace the whole lock.

Can you push the key through the door?

Possibly you can, with a screwdriver or any thin that is strong. But do it slowly, or the lock will be damaged.

Can I use a broken key extractor to remove the key?

Yes, use it to grip the broken key and remove it slowly without breaking it further.

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remove a broken key from a lock
Broken key removal DIY Ideas and tips
ديفيد عادل وهبة خليل 2, CC0, / Peter Dowley from Dubai, United Arab EmiratesCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Steve Bowbrick , alex roberts on flickr
get a broken key out of a lock

Last Words

So these are how to get a broken key out of a lock using these seven homemade solutions technical and a few professional ideas also. My only concern is that you will damage the lock. Do not force it that much but use those ideas. If they do not work, call the locksmith to replace the lock.

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About Author

Nazim Ali

Nazim Ali is an engineer who loves fixing things at home. He loves to try new things and share the knowledge with the world.