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How to Open a Chain Lock From the Outside? – 4 Methods

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to open a chain lock from the outside

Burglary excluding, knowing how to open a chain lock from the outside is helpful when a locksmith is absent, and there’s an urgent need to enter a house or when you just forgot the key.

Assuming you also don’t have a kid or someone whose hand can fit through the door and maneuver to unlock door latch from outside, there’s an efficient way to solve the problem using household items.

The chain lock, after all, is a secondary security option that can be easily unlocked. With enough practice, knowing this trick will be helpful in many ways.

Step-by-step to Open a Chain Lock From the Outside

Obviously, unlocking a chain lock only works when the main lock of the door is undone. Also, you should use a sturdy string so you can easily unlock chain lock from outside.

Step 1: Ready the string

Prepare a yarn, ribbon, thread, dental floss, thin rope, or any other string long enough that you can pull it from the top of the door when its end is attached to the chain lock. Imagine pulling up a bucket from a well.

Step 2: Create a loop

After having the right measure of the string, make a loop on its end. Like a lasso, tighten it as it will be the key to detaching the chain lock from its slider.

Step 3: Attach the string to the lock

Open the door and attach the looped end of the string to the end of the chain lock. Tighten the string on the chain because you will pull it later on.

Step 4: Pull the string


When the looped end of the string is already fixed on the chain lock, place it atop the door. Close the door and from the other end, pull the string by following the slider’s direction, thereby unlocking it.

Rubber Method for Hotel Locks

Using a rubber is one of the most common ways to undo a chain lock, especially when you want to open hotel door latch.

Step 1: Loop the rubber

Open the door and loop the rubber band on the end of the chain lock. Make sure to use a sturdy rubber band so it won’t easily break off when pulled.

Step 2: Attach the rubber band to the door handle

When the rubber band is already fixed on the end of the chain lock, loop its other end on the door handle, which is usually located just below the slider.

Step 3: Close the door

Once the rubber band is looped on the door handle, it will automatically pull the chain until it’s unlocked. The elasticity of the rubber makes it easier to slide the chain especially since the handle serves as the pulling force.

Rubber Method for Households


A rubber band can also be used to open a slide lock from outside your home. A tape is needed for this trick.

Step 1: Loop the rubber

Open the door and loop the rubber on the middle part or end of the chain lock. Make sure to use a sturdy rubber band and tighten it on the chain.

Step 2: Tape the rubber

Put adhesive tape on the rubber band. Afterward, put the taped rubber a couple of inches above the slider. Add tape if you must to ensure that it won’t easily fall off.

Do not put the taped rubber parallel to the slider as doing so will not let the chain fall off.

Step 3: Close the door

When you close the door, the rubber will serve as a pulling force that will undo the pick chain lock. This is made possible by its position above the slider. Putting it in any other position will not do the trick.

Open a Swing Bar Lock From the Outside


The tricks mentioned above can also be used when unlocking a swing bar, which is also a common fixture in hotel rooms.

  • You can use the string method, with the string looped on the swing bar and then pulled on the other side of the door.
  • Another trick with the string is by putting it between the screws of the swing bar, forming a letter U. The curved end of the string will be placed on the base (the one attached to the door). When you pull the end of the strings from the outside, it will then unlock the swing bar.
  • You can also use the rubber method, but instead of placing the taped rubber above the base, you will put it on the wall facing an unlocked swing bar. That way, the rubber can easily pull the bar when you open the door.
  • Another efficient trick to undo a swing bar is by sliding cardboard, like the ‘Do Not Disturb’ tag, between the door just where the bar meets the base.
  • You have probably seen it in movies, and yes, you can defeat a swing bar lock with a stuffed envelope or a similar object. When the door is open, put the edge of the envelope where the bar and the metal loop meet. Afterward, slowly close the door, jiggling it along the way until the bar unlocks.


Surprisingly, it’s so easy to open a latch lock from the outside that even a kid can do it with enough practice.

A chain lock or a swing bar should only be used as a secondary lock given that they can be easily undone. Be that as it may, knowing how to open a chain lock from the outside is more than just a trick. It’s a trial-and-error at first but a solid skill once learned.

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