After locking myself out of my apartment yesterday, I managed to make
the problem worse by fiddling with a piece of plastic in the lock
which broke off and ended up being shoved pretty far into the back of
the key hole. I tried using some needles to get it out, but no dice.
Anyone have a reasonably cheap solution? Would injecting acetone
damage the mechanism in any way?
I used to service the locks at a hotel, that used Lock Ease
Graphited Lock Fluid. That awful black crap caused more
problems than the tenants. Dried up, and got sticky.
As to the plastic piece, someone has to take the lock apart
to get the piece out.
Try a piece of coping saw or fret saw blade. [if you've been able to
poke the plastic back in, maybe a *hot* needle would pierce it, let it
cool and see if they bond, and pull gently.]
The acetone might not melt anything in the lock- but if it melted the
plastic it would most likely gum things up enough so the lock would be
If the saw blade won't get it, I'd try [long shot] blowing canned air
from the other side--- then I'd take the cylinder out, bang on it a
while- and if all else failed, take the cylinder to a locksmith and
watch him pluck that plastic out in 10seconds.
Not all plastics are soluble in acetone, and I suspect, as others, that
it will gum things up. To dissolve it you would probably need to flush
quite a bit with acetone then you risk harming the paint on the door.
maybe heating up a wire like a paper clip,and sticking the hot end into
the plastic,and after it cools,pulling it and hopefully the plastic,out
Or try a very fine scrollsaw blade,oriented so the teeth hook the plastic
on the pullout.
BTW,Deadbolt locks will not let you lock yourself out.
I never use the doorknob lock,that can lock you out.
And keep a spare key in your wallet.
When we moved to a new house about 4 years ago, in the first month or two my
wife locked herself out about 5 times. She still does it from time to time.
I have a garage so I installed an opener with a keypad and hid a key where
she can find it in the garage for the house door.
if the door would not lock behind her -without the use of a key-,she'd
never get locked out.she would always need a key to lock the door.
open garage doors are an easy way for a burglar to enter one's home.
Once in the garage,they can close the garage door and have plenty of time
to work on the inner home door,and not be observed or heard.
re:"open garage doors are an easy way for a burglar to enter one's
Is this just a random observation?
Ralph said "I have a garage so I installed an opener with a keypad and
hid a key where she can find it in the garage for the house door."
I take that to mean the garage is closed until the wife enters the
code to open it.
Acetone works on plastic by temporarilly melting it. When the plastic
resolidifies, you'd have a mess a hudnred times worse.
You should have been able to use a pin to pull it out.
Call the apartment supervisor, admit that you're an idiot, and let them
solve the problem.
Do you have an air compressor? Try using a fine jet nozzle to blast air into the
key hole through edge of the hole that has the pins (The saw-like edge of the
key. If you are lucky, the air will blast in behind the plastic, and push it
out. If that doesn't work at first, try moving the air jet back and forth along
the key hole to move the plastic around until it loosens and comes out.
Just an observation.... If the OP lives in an apartment ; does he own and
or have a need for a compressor?, If so where does he store it? Inside his
apartment (which he is locked out of!). If he has and has access to his
compressor, hopefully he doesn't live on an upper level where he has to drag
the compressor up the stairs ( elevator maybe ). Then, I'm sure the
neighbors would appreciate hearing the sound of the noisy compressor :>)
I still believe an, although embarrassing, call to the Manager would be the
intelligent approach !! Or a Locksmith, Good luck with the compressor :>))
IF (that's a big if) you can get into your unit you can just remove the lock
from the door and take it apart. You want to take out the "pins" that are
pushed up and down when you insert your key.
If you lock isn't "master keyed" you can just dump the pins out and sort
things out using your own key to determine which pin goes where.
Otherwise, you should carefull remove one spring and one pin at a time and
carefully record what goes where.
Once the pins are removed you can use find wire to push the plastic out from
the inside of the lock.
"Next time" you try to pick a lock, start with the right tools.
Professional picks aren't made from plastic.
If you carry your lock (or just the cylinder if it's a mortise lock) to the
locksmith, he can "fix things" in a fraction of an hour at a reasonable
cost. Locksmiths can be expensive when they come to you but I have had
good luck bringing in work to them. (I once took in a good sized truck
when we couldn't find the key.)
Going back to your original question: many plastics aren't much affected by
acetone and even if your plastic is, it will take a lot of acetone to
disolve a bit of plastic and until you get ALL of it out, in the short run
you have really made a mess of the insides of your lock.
Am confused by the post:
I thought you used plastic (eg credit card) to slip between
the door and the frame, to push out wedge-shaped "bolt"-like thingie.
So what's all this about plastic ending up WITHIN the KEY-HOLE?
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.