How to Pick a Doorknob

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Things You'll Need

  • Paperclip, bobby pin, or Q-tip for push-button locks

  • Small flat head screwdriver for twist-knob locks

Most doors come with locks in order to keep unwanted persons from entering or exiting. In the case of most bedroom door locks, there is only a twist-knob or push-button inside the bedroom to activate the lock. This mechanism cannot be reached if one is locked outside of the room, except through a pinhole in the doorknob, in which an object can be inserted to open the lock. A more secure form of a lock is a pin-and-tumbler lock, which requires a specific key to open it. Doors allowing entry into a building typically use this kind of lock. While some, such as the Kwikset brand, can be picked with relative ease, others, including higher-end Brinks or Medco brands, are difficult even for professional locksmiths to open without the key. The difficulty often depends on the brand of the lock, and a single brand may offer locks of varying difficulty.


Step 1

Make your own key, if you cannot find the door key. For the push-button lock, any other thin, firm object can be used, such as a paper clip, bobby pin or Q-tip. If a paper clip or bobby pin is used, straighten it out. For the twist-knob lock, a flat head screwdriver must be used that is thin enough to fit in the pin hole as well as long enough to reach the unlocking mechanism inside the doorknob.


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Step 2

Stick the paper clip, bobby pin, screwdriver or other similar tool inside the keyhole in the doorknob. Push it straight in until resistance is felt.

Step 3

For the push-button lock, this resistance is the mechanism that will unlock the door. Push it in until it clicks, but take care not to use excessive force to avoid damaging the doorknob. For the twist-knob lock, turn the screwdriver until it catches on the mechanism inside. Then turn the mechanism clockwise for one quarter-turn, which will open the lock.


Do not pick a doorknob without the owner's consent.


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