Many homeowners have experienced the frustration of inserting their key into a lock and finding it impossible to turn. Sometimes after enough jangling, you can re-enter your home, but other times the key won’t budge. Learn more below about what causes this phenomenon, some possible solutions, and when it’s time to call a locksmith

Why Door Locks Stick

Over time, locks collect dirt and grime, affecting the shape of the chamber. Some of that dust may come from the key itself, and other particles will make their way in carried by the air. Either way, if the accumulation becomes significant enough, it can cause your key to jam. 

How to Fix It

locksmithHardware store lubricants will often remedy the situation. However, locksmiths caution homeowners from using an oil-based substance like WD-40®. While this may work in the short term, the residue will attract more dirt and worsen the issue. Only use this product if you find yourself unable to open the door and need a quick solution.

If the lock isn’t yet completely stuck, you can clean and lubricate the lock with a dry graphite lubricant from any hardware store. This substance doesn’t leave behind a film to collect more grime. Before applying the dry graphite, unscrew the cover on the lock and spray a metal cleaner like Gumout into it. Use a clean rag to wipe away the dirt and cleanser, getting it as dry as possible. Then spray the dry graphite lubricant on all the lock’s parts. Reassemble and test the key again.

When to Call a Locksmith

Though this method will clear most jammed locks, grime isn’t the only reason a key might stop turning a lock. Corroded or bent pins may also cause a key to stick or stop turning. Locksmiths also caution inexperienced homeowners from taking apart their locks if they aren’t confident in reassembling them after cleaning. Otherwise, the deadbolt may not be as secure as it once was, leaving your property vulnerable.


For help with your residential locks, in Port Jefferson Station, NY, call Competition Locksmith. With all-hours emergency lockout service, the experienced professionals are always available to help you re-enter your home and return your lock to its old condition. Call them day or night at (631) 807-1366 and visit the locksmith’s website for more information on their products and services.