Have you ever locked yourself out of your bathroom? It can be frustrating and sometimes alarming, especially if you need to use the loo. But what is more alarming is to lock yourself inside the bathroom. What do you do? Shout for help or get yourself out of the situation?
There are easy steps to open the door, and this article explains how to open a locked bathroom door. Following the steps in this article can help you fix the problem without a substitute key. However, call for assistance if all the methods fail; you can hire a locksmith or contact the fire department.
Different Door Lock Mechanisms
Each door lock works differently, and bathroom door locks are no different. The installed doorknob and lock will determine how easily you open the door and get yourself in or out of the bathroom. In other words, examine the door lock and understand it before attempting to open it.
Fortunately, most public or private bathrooms feature different types of privacy locks instead of security ones. Locks installed to ensure the privacy of the bathroom user are easier to open than those installed for security purposes. Let us look at some of the common door locks you will find in a typical bathroom.
1. Privacy Bolt with Door Knob or Lever
This type of lock is new and works like a deadbolt lock, but it does not need a key to open when you are on the outside.
Any object that fits into the lock can open even if you are locked inside. So, your fingernail or a small flat-head screwdriver is handy for opening this lock in an emergency.
2. Turn Button Privacy Lock
As the name suggests, you can turn the lock to the left or counterclockwise or the right or clockwise to lock or open it. It is one of the easiest door locks available and is quite affordable.
You will find it in many public bathrooms for easy access if there is an emergency, such as someone is locked inside.
3. Privacy Push Button Lock
It is another common bathroom lock type because of the privacy it affords the user. The push-button bathroom lock features a button or a push pin on the kob or lever.
You engage the lock by pushing the push pin or button to create the desired privacy. A panic release technology is installed so you can open the door when the lock is difficult to open.
Turn the knob or lever from the inside to release the pin or button outside. In other words, you enter the bathroom by pushing the pin or push-button mechanism, but you must turn the knob or lever from the inside to leave the bathroom.
Other lock mechanisms are used in bathrooms, but these are the common ones. They are easy to engage and open if you are locked inside the room or locked out of the restroom. While it may be tricky to open locks, knowing simple methods can save the day.
Effective and Safe Methods of Opening a Locked Bathroom Door
If you have never tried opening a locked door, your first instinct may be to panic. It does not solve the problem but removes rational thinking. Therefore, knowing how to open locks safely and effectively is crucial, especially when there is no one around to reach you.
1. Use a Paper Clip
While a paper clip may not be readily available in all bathrooms, it is crucial to look around to see if you can find one. If you are out of the house, check your back for a paper clip to enable you to open the locked bathroom door.
You may need more than one clip, but that depends on your prowess and whether or not you have done it before. Stretch one clip until it is fully straight, and bend the other clip to achieve a curve.
Insert the bent clip into the hole of the lock while sticking the straight one under the first clip. Once both clips are in, wiggle and turn the straight one while holding the bent one steady until the lock clicks and opens.
Although they are not always available, paper clips are usually handy with lock types and mechanisms. It may help to have one or two pieces on you wherever you go in case of emergencies.
2. Try a Metal Hanger
A coat hanger is one of the best ways to open a locked bathroom door in public and private places. Find a metal one inside the bathroom or out in the hall and bend it. Ensure you bend it enough to create a long handle with a hook at one end.
Next, insert the hooked hanger between the door frame and door, ensuring it wraps around the latch bolt. With one hand holding the hanger hooked to the latch bolt, use the other hand to turn the door handle. Do this while you continue to pull the hanger toward you. The lock should pop open after a few attempts.
However, this metal coat hanger method can be tricky. If there is a door jamb in the way, you may be unable to insert the hooked end between the door and frame. If that is the case, you may need another method that does not involve working between the frame and the door.
3. Consider a Bobby Pin
Take or find a bobby pin if you have your hair in a fancy hairdo or are stuck in a bathroom with a vanity table. It is good for making hair pretty and an excellent tool for opening a locked door, whether a bathroom or bedroom door.
However, using a bobby pin to open a locked door may take longer than other methods. This is especially true if you have never tried it before. If you are willing to try this method, get two pins and bend them until you get the shape of the key to the lock.
That may take some expertise and time. It may also mean turning the two pins into one. Ensure the end of the pin is as flat as the other free end. There must be no curve at that end so you can easily insert the pin into the lock’s keyhole.
Now, wiggle the pin as you turn the knob; ensure you do both simultaneously. Keep doing this until the pin enters the right position, which may take some time.
4. Use a Credit Card
A credit card, or any similar card, is one thing most of us have on us. Therefore, it may be your best bet to open that locked bathroom door. It can open a knob with a lever, a spring lock, or a latch bolt. However, it may not work for a lock with a deadbolt mechanism.
Slide the laminated card of your choice between the edge of the door frame and lock, and bend it while pushing in the door. It may work if you put your weight against the door to release the lock mechanism and open it. Note that it only works if you have a card on you or are outside the bathroom.
The card must be laminated, strong, and flexible to work for any of these locks. That is why a credit card is your best option in this situation. A library or store loyalty card may also work, but ensure you do not damage them. Nevertheless, consider using less important but equally appropriate cards if you suspect the lock may damage the credit card.
5. Try a Butter Knife
Since you may not carry a butter knife everywhere, this method may only work if you are locked out of the bathroom. But if you have such a knife, it is excellent for opening locked doors.
Insert the tip of the knife into the keyhole the same way you would a key when locking or unlocking the door.
Next, twist or turn the knife to open the locked door; you may need a few minutes to get a feel of how it works. It works well for the push button lock mechanism, but you must know how to use it well.
6. Tear Out the Door Hinge
Removing the hinges on the locked door may be a drastic step, but it is handy when nothing else seems to work. If you are locked out of the bathroom, getting help or reach tools is easier. However, only a handful of tools are available inside the bathroom.
If you have the skills and strength, you can tear the door hinges out of the frame from the inside. A hammer and a small flathead screwdriver should do the job; firmly place the screwdriver against the hinge. Ensure it wedges between the bottom knuckle and pin.
Hit the bottom of the screwdriver with the hammer until the hinge comes loose. Then, you can easily pull it off the door frame. Follow the same steps for the other hinges until the door can open from the frame. Use this method only if you have the right tools and can use them.
7. Remove the Handle
Note that removing the door handle may be slightly less drastic than the hinge, so you may want to consider this method. Check the screws on the handle and consider how easily you can remove them. Once the screws are off, the handle should easily come off the door.
Use a screwdriver to turn the lock mechanism inside the door behind the handle. However, pry the door handle loose using a screwdriver if there are no visible exterior screws to remove.
Insert the head of the flat-head screwdriver under the handle and firmly lift it off the door. You can see the lock once the handle comes off; unlock it with the screwdriver.
Figuring out how to open a locked bathroom door is not difficult; you just have to know what to do. We have discussed different methods to try, and while some are easy, others require some skill. Therefore, pick the method that works best for you.
It is usually easier to fix this problem if locked outside the bathroom. However, opening the door from the inside may take a little more; the handy tools in the room determine what you can do. Nevertheless, you can still get resourceful and find a way out of the bind.