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How To Fix A Sticky Door Lock

It’s a common problem, you go to close your door, but it doesn’t entirely shut all the way. You give it a little push, but it still won’t budge. The culprit? A sticky door lock. Luckily, there are several ways to fix this common issue. This article will give you some different ways to fix a sticky door lock, so you don’t have to waste money replacing the entire lock.


Graphite Powder

Graphite powder is a standard solution to fixing sticky door locks. All you need is a rag and some graphite powder. Rub the cloth in the graphite and make sure it has an even coat on it before you wipe down the inside of the door. Using your finger or a toothpick, slide around the lock where there may be a slight layer of gunk or corrosion. Another method is to take some graphite powder and pour it into the keyhole, then poke around in there with something thin like a toothpick.

Dissolving Soap And Water

Most people don’t take the time to clean their locks, but this is an easy way to fix a sticky door lock. You need some soap and a toothbrush or a rag. Put the soap on your rag, then scrub away at all parts of the lock that you can access through the keyhole. The goal here is to break up any gunk or corrosion that might be inside the lock. 


WD-40 is another standard solution for fixing sticky door locks. All you need is a cotton swab and some WD-40. Dip the swab in the oil and run it around all parts of your lock that you can access through the keyhole. Then, open and close the door several times to let it work its way into the lint trap. After that, wipe off any excess oil to avoid staining. You may have to do this several times before the door opens and closes without sticking.

Rubbing Alcohol And Vegetable Oil

The combination of rubbing alcohol and vegetable oil works well on sticky door locks. Mix equal parts of both things on a cotton ball or rag, then rub it down the length of the lock. You can also pour some into the keyhole to access the inside. Let this soak in overnight. The next day, wipe away any excess oil, and your door should open and close normally again.


Vaseline is a lubricant, so it will reduce the friction between your door and its hinges, allowing for ease of opening. All you need to do is apply some Vaseline from the cover of the jar to the center of your door’s top hinge, close the door until the lock clicks, and open it again. Vaseline tends to leave a greasy residue, so be sure to clean it with soap and water afterward.

Pencil Lead

Waxing your key with a pencil lead is another trick to help reduce the friction between the lock and key. All you need to do is use a pencil sharpener to shave some off of a no. 2 pencil, then run it along the length of your key. It may take several tries before you have appropriately waxed your key, so this may be a better solution for those who prefer long-term smoothness. The downside is that it’s not as effective as graphite or WD-40, and your waxing on the key will wear out after several uses.

Remove Worn Out Screws

If there are screws that need to be tightened or replaced, they can cause a sticky door lock. Loosen the hinges and rotate them with your hands until you feel it move freely. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you might have to replace some of the screws because they may be worn out and ineffective in keeping the door closed.

Take The Lock Apart

It might be as simple as taking the lock apart and cleaning it or greasing some parts, but this is a bit more work. You may need to remove the door handle for access to the inside of your door. There might even be some screws that you will have to replace with new ones. If there are any springs, then take pictures so you can put them back in the right place. This is a delicate procedure so be careful not to lose anything small and look for any broken pieces that might need replacing.

Replace The Lock

Although the objective of this article is ways to avoid this, if none of these tricks work, you will have to replace the whole lock. Replacing the lock is a relatively simple task that you can accomplish on your own. New locks are very affordable, and they come with templates for drilling the appropriate holes in your door. Be sure to match the correct lock type to make installation as easy as possible. If you choose one that isn’t compatible, this will be a more complex process and may require a locksmith or carpenter.


Although there are many different ways to fix a sticky door lock, finding the problem is always the first step. Be sure to go through the list of procedures and choose one suitable for your specific situation. If none seem like they will work, replacing the lock might be necessary. If you take the time to clean it first, this shouldn’t be as costly as just throwing a new one at it. In general, fixing a sticky door lock is an easy task. So hopefully, one of these simple methods works for you!