How to Open a Cylinder Lock


What do you do if you find yourself locked out of your home? Do you call a locksmith, wait an hour and pay him as much as $50 for five minutes of work? If your door uses a common cylinder lock, you may be able to open it with a strong-gauge wire, constructed with a small loop on one end and a small handle attached to the other end. It's not hard to construct and will work on most cylinder locks.

Things You'll Need

  • Cylinder lock
  • 6-inch-long heavy-gauge wire (stiff)
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Drill
  • Small handsaw
  • 2-inch-long piece of wooden of a broom handle
  • Make a small, 3/8- to 1/2-inch oval loop at one end of a 5-inch length of heavy-gauge wire. The loop serves as a catch-and-turn device and allows you to withdraw the wire after turning the catch.

  • Saw 3 inches off the end of a wooden broom handle. Drill a very thin hole with a bit slightly thinner than the wire through the center of the wood. Insert the straight end of the wire through the hole. Use the needle-nosed pliers to bend and wind the wire completely around the center of the wood piece. Twist the wire two or three times so it remains fixed to the wood. You should now have a 4-inch, stiff wire length attached to a 2-inch handle.

  • Insert the loop end of the wire straight into the cylinder lock as far as you can with the straight wire on the left edge of the keyhole and the loop part of the wire facing the right. After the loop is inserted as far into the keyhole as possible, grasp the handle and turn it counterclockwise several times until you feel the cylinder turn inside. This will unlock the door. Remove the wire loop by jiggling it around until it's free from the cylinder catch.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never pick locks that you do not own without permission. It is illegal.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit lock image by enens from Barbed Wire image by Hedgehog from barbed wire image by Annika from office doors image by Ragne Kabanova from
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • What Is a Double-Cylinder Door Lock?

    A double-cylinder door lock is a type of security device primarily found on residential doors. Homeowners often use these locks in conjunction...

  • How to Drill Through a Door Lock

    If you are going to remove a door lock to replace the cylinder you will need the key to remove the cylinder....

  • How to Repair a Kwikset Door Lock Cylinder

    Having a lock that does not operate correctly is frustrating as well as potentially dangerous. Most issue with Kwikset door lock cylinders...

  • How to Drill Open a Lock

    If you lose the key to your pin-tumbler cylinder lock and cannot afford a locksmith, your last resort for opening the lock...

  • How to Remove Cylinder Door Locks

    Whether it's to replace a lock with a lost key or change an ailing lock for a new one, removing your cylinder...

  • How to Assemble Door Locks

    Door locks come in a variety of finishes and styles, but usually have a common assembly process. Most door locks consist of...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!