As doors are opened, closed, locked and unlocked so often, over time their locks can become damaged, faulty or even jammed. In most cases, a locksmith is required to fix a broken door lock but sometimes, a ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude and the correct instructions are all it takes.
If you cannot easily turn your key in a door lock then it’s likely the lock is lacking in lubrication. This is a common problem that’s most often caused by heat and dryness. The good news is, it can be fixed relatively easily. If you’re stuck with a sticky door lock follow these steps to get it back in working order.
Obtain Graphite Powder
Vegetable oil and WD40 both work fairly well when used to lubricate a keyhole. However, these oil and grease-based products build-ups with long-term use and worsen the sticking. The substances easily attract dust particles and dirt which then layer up to cause further blockage in the keyhole.
An effective alternative to these products is graphite powder; a soft and flexible material that is widely used as an industrial lubricant. The powder is dry but has air and water trapped inside its atoms, making it a mess-free and non-greasy lubricant for locks. The material can be found in hardware or automotive stores and is usually stored in a small tube with a pointed nozzle.
Apply the Graphite Powder
To lubricate a lock, cut off the tip of the graphite powder nozzle and insert it into the key slot. Following this, squeeze the tube just slightly once or twice – there’s no need to use an excessive amount as a little graphite powder goes a long way
Lubricate the Latch
Next, insert and turn your key in the lock when the door is ajar to release the latch. Apply a small amount of powder onto the latch to further lubricate and improve the smooth action of the lock.
Test the Lock
Insert your key into the lock and turn it once or twice to check that the Graphite Powder has provided sufficient lubrication. If sticking still occurs then repeat steps 2 and 3.
Store the Powder
Store the graphite in a safe and dry place that is out of the reach of children. This way, it’ll be handy and suitable for use the next time you get a sticky lock problem.
Some Advice about Graphite Powder
Do not over-use graphite powder as a method for fixing door locks. Over-time the powder can ‘cake-up’ in the lock, making it even harder to operate.
If you cannot fix your lock with graphite powder then this confirms there is a different problem with the lock and you will need to call in a locksmith. Care must be taken not to directly breathe in the graphite particles.
Overalls must be worn during use as the graphite particles may easily spray out and stain clothing.