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How to Remove Door Latch Stuck : 9 Methods [DIY]

How to Remove Door Latch Stuck

Last Updated on February 20, 2023

You can’t open your door when the latch gets stuck, which wastes time. A stuck door knob, a key that won’t turn in the lock, or a deadbolt that won’t turn is a nuisance. 

During an emergency, your door may also be tough to open, whether inside or outside. It can happen to any type of door latch, including those interior doors, exterior doors, cars, and RVs. 

You may have wondered how to remove the door latch stuck? With patience and attention to detail, you will be able to fix a stuck door latch on your own. It will be easy for you to repair your door with this knowledge quickly.

How to Remove Door Latch Stuck: Easy DIY Methods

hinge screws

Over time, door latches can become stuck, making it difficult to open doors. While it may be tempting to use force to try and remove the latch, this can damage the door or the latch itself. Instead, try one of the following methods to open a stuck door without hurting it.

Method 1: Using Coke Bottle with a Scissor

The humble Coke bottle can come to your rescue if you find yourself in a situation where your front door latch is stuck. Using only a Coke bottle and a scissor, you can unstick a door latch in just a few minutes.


  1. You need a plastic piece that’s thin enough to fit inside the door gab. Cut off the top of the coke bottle using a scissor or sharp knife. Ensure to cut straight across so that you end up with a nice, even edge.
  2. You can also use an unused credit card. If your credit card is too wide to fit between the gabs, you may need to trim it down using a sharp knife. Insert the plastic piece or credit card into the space between the door gab and the knob.
  3. Push down the plastic piece until the door latch pops open. In most cases, this will take just a few seconds, and you’ll be able to open the door without any further trouble.

Method 2. Using Lubricant:

Whether it’s due to grime buildup or simply because the mechanism is old and corroded, being unable to open your door can be a real pain. There’s an easy way of fixing a stuck door latch using WD-40.


  1. Simply spray some WD-40 onto the affected area and wait a few minutes for it to work its way into the mechanism. 
  2. Then, try opening and closing the door a few times to see if it has loosened the latch. The lubricant will help to loosen any dirt or debris causing the latch to stick. 
  3. Otherwise, you may need to spray a little more WD-40 and wait a bit longer before trying again. Typically, this will be enough to fix the problem.
  4. If the latch is still sticking, you may need to use a brush or other tool to remove any stubborn buildup. Try again, and you should be able to open and close the door as usual.

Method 3. Using a Screwdriver to Loosen the Latch:

If the previous two methods have failed, try using a screwdriver or knife to loosen the latch. Be very careful when using this method, as you don’t want to break the door or damage the latch.


  1. Start by inserting the screwdriver or knife into its gap and the frame.
  2. Gently twist or wiggle the tool until you feel the latch loosen. Be careful not to damage the door in the process.
  3. Once the latch is loose, use the hammer to tap on the screwdriver until the door pops open.

Method 4. Removing The Door Hinge:

hinge pin

By removing the door panel, you’ll have access to the latch from both sides, making it much easier to loosen and remove. This method will also prevent any further damage to the door or the surrounding area.


  1. You will see a metal plate on the side of the door frame. It is held in place by two metal pins. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the visible screws that hold the door hinges in place. 
  2. Once the door is free from the hinges, you can simply pivot it out of the opening. Keep in mind that this may require some force, as the door may be stuck due to paint or other debris.
  3. To remove the screws, you will need a Phillips head screwdriver. Remove the screw at the top of the strike bolt. Then, remove the bottom screw as well. 
  4. With both screws out, the strike bolt will be loose, and you will be able to remove it from the door. You can now remove the latch by gently pulling it out of the door.

Method 5. Using a Hammer:

In most cases, a simple bump with a hammer can release the door latch. The following are steps to follow when using a hammer to remove a stuck door latch: 


  1. Use a screwdriver to remove the nuts holding the latch plate in place. Take a hammer and place the head of the hammer against the end of the door latch. 
  2. Hold the shaft of the hammer with your other hand. Pull back on the hammer shaft until it is parallel with the ground. 
  3. Swing the hammer forward, striking it with as much force as possible. The impact should loosen or break the door latch free from where it is stuck. 
  4. If necessary, use a wrench to remove any remaining pieces of the door latch from the hole in which it was stuck.

Method 6: Cleaning the Door Lock

Vinegar is a strong acid that can eat away dirt and grime, making it an ideal cleaner for door locks. Vinegar is also effective at dissolving rust, which can cause a door latch to become stuck.


  1. Remove any dust from the door lock with a soft cloth. 
  2. Apply vinegar to a cotton ball and rub it into the lock. Let the vinegar sit for a few minutes, then use a toothpick or other sharp object to scrape out any remaining dirt. 
  3. Rinse the lock with warm water and dry it with a clean cloth. Clean the door lock and get rid of that pesky stuck latch.

Method 7. Strike Plate Alignment:

When a door is closed, the latch bolt extends into the strike plate, which is mounted to the frame. Over time, the strike plate can become misaligned, causing the latch to stick. One way to fix this problem is to use strike plate alignment. 


  1. Remove the screws that hold the strike plate in place and take it off the door frame. 
  2. Line up the hole in the strike plate with the hole in the door frame. 
  3. Mark where you need to drill new holes for the screws. 
  4. Drill new holes and screw the strike plate back into place. 
  5. Close the door to make sure that it latches correctly. 

Method 8. Using a Plunger:

The suction created by the plunger can help to loosen the latch, making it easier to open the door. It can help to protect the finish on the door, as it will not damage the surface like a screwdriver or other tool.


  1. Ensure the plunger is the right size for the door latch. If it’s too small, it won’t create enough suction.
  2. Wet the plunger and place it over the door latch. Apply firm pressure and push and pull the plunger up and down several times.
  3. Remove the plunger and try opening the door. If it still doesn’t budge, repeat the process until it opens.

Method 9. Using a Crowbar:

The long, metal shaft of the crowbar provides leverage, making it easier to apply force to the latch. With its sharp end and tapered end, it can also be used to pry open a door if necessary. It creates downward pressure on the door, helping to prevent it from being damaged by the force of the removal.


  1. Insert the crowbar between the frame and the door. Apply pressure to the door handle to pry the door open. 
  2. Wedge the crowbar under the lip of the door latch. Use your other hand to squeeze the handle and pop the latch open. 
  3. If the door is still stuck, try inserting the crowbar into another opening, such as the space between the doorknob and the doorframe. Pry the door by pressing on the door handle.

With these nine methods, you can remove that stuck door latch and get your door open. Choose one that you think will work best for your situation and try it. If one doesn’t work, move on to the next until you find one that does. 

Why does a Door Latch Get Stuck?

locked position

A door that won’t open can be frustrating, and a door that won’t stay shut is even more so. There are usually simple explanations for why a door latch is stuck. The following are some of the most common reasons for a stuck door latch.

Misaligned Hardware:

The problem usually lies with the hardware rather than the door when a door won’t open. The three main components of a door latch are the knob, the strike plate, and the latch bolt. If any of these are misaligned, it may lead to a stuck door. 

The doorknob is attached to a rod that goes through the door and connects to the latch bolt. The strike plate is mounted on the frame and has a hole that lines up with the latch bolt when the door is closed. 

Jammed Latch:

When the latch becomes jammed, it can no longer move freely. A jammed latch usually occurs whenever the door is not properly aligned with the frame, which leads to the latch becoming stuck. This can also be caused by dirt or debris getting caught in the mechanism. As a result, the door cannot be opened until the latch is fixed.

While a jammed door lock can be annoying, it’s usually a relatively easy problem to fix. Simply cleaning out the lock mechanism and realigning the parts should do the trick.

Damaged Strike Plate:

The strike plate is the metal part of the door frame that the latch catches onto when you close the door. Over time, the metal can become bent or warped, causing the latch to catch less securely. In some cases, strike plate screws can also become loose, resulting in an even greater loss of security.

In extreme cases, a completely damaged strike plate can cause the door to become completely stuck, making it impossible to open or close. In order to repair a damaged strike plate, you will need to remove the old one and replace it with a new one.


Q: How do you force a door that is stuck open?

inside door handle

The first way is to use a pry bar. If there is a gap between the door and the frame, you can insert the pry bar into the gap and lever the door open. Another option is to use a screwdriver. If the door is stuck because the latch is not fully engaged, you can also try inserting a screwdriver and twisting it to disengage the latch.

Q: How do you lubricate a door latch?

Applying a lubricant to the door latch is a simple way to improve its function and extend its life. The best lubricants for door latches are water-resistant and do not attract dust or dirt. WD-40 is a popular option, but other oils such as petroleum jelly or silicone spray can also be effective.

To lubricate a door latch, simply apply a small amount of lubricant to the moving parts and work it in with a cloth or brush. Once the lubricant has been applied, operate the door latch several times to distribute the lubricant evenly.

Q: Can you use cooking oil on a lock?

One common household item that can be used to lubricate a stuck lock is olive oil. Just pour a small amount into the keyhole and insert the key. Turn the key back and forth a few times to work the oil into the mechanism, then remove the key and try again. 

If the lock is still not budging, you can try using a little more olive oil or repeating the process. In most cases, olive oil will provide enough lubrication to get a stuck lock working again.

Q: Can you use white lithium grease on door locks?

Lithium grease is more viscous than other types of lubricants, which means it will stay in place longer and provide better protection against friction. It does not contain any solvents so it won’t damage plastic or metal parts of the lock. 

Your lock will stay cleaner for longer because it is less likely to attract dust and dirt. For these reasons, white lithium grease is an excellent choice for lubricating door locks.


Now you know how to remove the door latch stuck with different methods. It is a minor annoyance that is usually fixable without needing a professional locksmith. In most cases, the problem can be traced to a build-up of dirt and grime on the latch mechanism or loose screws.

Examine the latch itself to determine the exact reason it is stuck. In either case, follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging the door or frame. With patience and the right tools, you can unlock a stuck door yourself. So don’t let a stuck door latch stop you from getting into your house or car.

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How to Remove Door Latch Stuck : 9 Methods [DIY]

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