It’s probably happened to everyone at one time or another. You are walking through your home or office, start to open a door, and it sticks. The doorknob won’t work. Forget any ideas about entering that room. It’s hopeless.

Well, maybe not. The truth is that there are ways to open a stuck doorknob without looking to find locksmith services. This article will get you started and, hopefully, through that door unscathed.

What Causes a Doorknob to Stick?

Doorknobs stick for a variety of reasons. The good news is that a limited number of fixes will correct virtually every stuck doorknob situation you will encounter.

Doorknobs stick because they get old and lose their lubrication. This might cause a latch not to retract when a knob is turned or return when it is released.

Plain old wear and tear will also take their toll. Doorknobs even stick because of changes in the temperature and humidity in an area.

This affects both the knob and the lock and the door itself and will often fix itself when those conditions change. Fixing a stuck doorknob can be easy or more complicated, depending on what is wrong with it. Try these four fixes and the chances are good your door will return to working order.


Step 1 Apply Elbow Grease

That’s right. All that pesky, stuck doorknob might require is a little wrist action. It might seem kind of silly, but it’s true.

Just jiggle the knob a little, and if the problem is a jammed lock mechanism, it will probably release. This will likely also fix a stuck doorknob if the springs inside the lock aren’t correctly aligned or the latch isn’t extending or retracting.

Step 2 Lubricate

Lubrication should be something that is done regularly to maintain a lock. If a doorknob sticks, it could be that it just needs a little more, which can be done quickly with a spray or liquid lubricant.

Another lubrication option is powdered graphite lubricant. The jury is still out on the advantages and disadvantages of each of these. A lot comes down to personal preferences, and whatever works.

If there is rust on the doorknob, the rust should be removed, preferably with a wire brush, then apply lubricant.

Step 3 Inspect the Latch

If the latch is retracted and the doorknob won’t turn, it’s probably because of a misaligned latch.

This is usually solved using a flathead screwdriver and a gentle tap with a hammer above the latch. This will often dislodge the latch.

Step 4 Take a Closer Look

If you go through all these steps by the time, and your doorknob is still stuck, you probably have a more complicated problem.

In this case, it would be good to remove the cover from around the knob so you can inspect the inside to check for obstructions, rust, or breaks.

If any of these are present, you will need to deal with the problem using a small brush or a pair of needle-nose pliers. If it appears that something inside the assembly is broken, you will probably have to replace the lock.

Fortunately, with a bit of shopping, locks and doorknobs are very reasonably priced, so you could probably pick up one for not too much money.

If none of these options work on your doorknob, don’t hesitate to call a locksmith. Fixing a troubled doorknob yourself isn’t always the right choice, especially if you don’t have any experience or don’t have much mechanical aptitude.

Using a locksmith isn’t cheap, but it’s a better choice when you compare it to having a locksmith replace a doorknob because your efforts damaged it further.