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How to Unlock a Locked Bathroom Door From the Outside: 9 Easy Methods

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to unlock a locked bathroom door from the outside

Imagine yourself in a hurry for school or work and heading to the bathroom for a quick moment before leaving. But then you realize the door is jammed. So how to unlock a locked bathroom door from the outside quickly in such a situation?

The good news is you will find most US bathroom doors containing privacy locks rather than security units. Due to this, we believe you can open your bathroom door with low costs and some effort.

When in an emergency, you can reach out to the fire department or a locksmith. But we think unlocking a bathroom door is simple enough for any homeowner to do on their own. This article offers a total of 9 methods for you to try.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial


The methods for how to unlock bathroom door push button lock from outside are easy. Don’t be afraid that you will mess up since they use simple tools you can find around the house. Here’s what you need:

  • Credit card
  • Eyeglass screwdriver
  • Paper clip
  • Tension wrench
  • Coat hanger from metal
  • Allen wrench
  • Butter knife
  • 2 Bobby pins
  • Drill/Screwdriver
  • Hammer

Step by Step Instructions


Take a look at our step by step instructions below for each of these 9 methods; they’ll enable you to unlock a bathroom door with no hole with ease. We promise that you will be able to deal with this inconvenience as quickly as possible.

Method 1: Credit card

Although a credit card will not work for a deadbolt, you can still apply this method to open spring locks, latch bolts, and doorknobs with a lever quite easily.

Remember that you should have a suitable card option. A flexible one that is stiff and laminated, for example, like a grocery store customer or library card would be great. Do not use your debit, credit, or identification card to avoid damaging them.

Slide your card between the lock and door frame. Next, bend the card back and push the bolt in your bathroom door. We suggest you lean against this door to get the job done in less time.

Method 2: Eyeglass screwdriver/paper clip

Without a doubt, a spare key is certainly ideal when it comes to unlocking any door in your house. In case there is no substitute key, you can make use of other means below with easy-to-find equipment to get out of this situation.

  • Eyeglass screwdriver


If your bathroom door is engineered with a privacy handle, you can remove its doorknob with a small screwdriver in case of emergency. You should not turn this lock when attempting to open it.

Take a flat-head screwdriver for eyeglasses and push it as far as possible into the hole on your doorknob. Remember that any tool having thicker rods will not work since it cannot get inside the handle.

Turn and wiggle your item until you feel it touch a groove. You will hear a clicking sound that indicates a successful door lock opening.

  • Paper clip


One of the most excellent choices to unlock a bathroom door is using a strong paper clip. You can modify the clip into a suitable shape for this task. The process can even become easier if you have 2 paper clips.

Bend the first clip and fold out your second one to make it straight. After you enter the bent clip into your lock hole, insert the straight tool below. Move and wiggle this second tool until the lock opens.

  • Tension wrench and paper clip

A tension wrench can be used for tension maintenance in your bathroom door lock as you try to unlock it using a paper clip.

Place this tool inside the bottom part of your lock and rotate it for tension. Wiggle your paper clip on the lock’s top part in a slow manner until you hear some clicking sound.

Method 3: Coat hanger


A locked bathroom door with a latch bolt can be unlocked from the outside by pulling this bolt using a coat hanger made from metal. Bend the hanger enough so that it becomes a long handle with a hook at its end.

Put this hook between the edge of your door and the wall, then make a wrap around its latch bolt. Make use of your other hand for knob rotation as you pull the hanger in your direction.

Note that if there is a jamb between the door and wall’s gap, this technique cannot perform at its most effective.

Method 4: Lock picking

Lock picking is not simple for many homeowners, especially when there are no instructions for you to follow. After taking an Allen wrench, place the shorter end inside the keyhole’s lower edge.

As you keep on adding pressure on the lock, slightly try to turn it. Here are 2 ways you can finish the job with this method.

  • Pin by pin

Gradually push the paper clip while you maintain pressure on your Allen wrench. Use the clip to grab the pun on the bend, then lift the thing upwards. A clicking sound will indicate a successful unlock.

  • Scrubbing

Aim for the keyhole, and push your Allen wrench gently inside it. Lift the thing upwards, but remember that this step needs to be done in circular motions.

Method 5: Butter knife


You might be surprised by how a butter knife is able to open a bathroom door locked from inside push button. Insert it inside your keyhole, and twist the item for the release of your door lock. Turn its door knob to open the bathroom door.

We advise choosing the knife wisely; avoid sharp ones that may cut your hand.

Method 6: Bobby pin


This simple and small accessory can pick your lock; however, it would take more time than expected. Before you start, bend 2 bobby pins into a suitable shape that makes them an ideal key replacement.

Measure the end of your hairpin, and bend it at 0.4 inches (1 cm) so as the item will become perpendicular to its free ends. Place the bent part inside the keyhole’s bottom, then form a straight piece with the second pin that has a bent fulcrum.

Turn your doorknob and wiggle the bobby pin at once. Without a doubt, this process will take much longer than in movies, but it is clearly an effective way to unlock a bathroom door from the outside.

Method 7: Door kicking

If you are confident in your physical strength, plus there are no tools around, it is best to combine a strong kick and Newton’s third law. For this to work, your bathroom door should open outwards and be made out of fairly weak materials.

Find a weak spot above the door knob, and kick it with the dominant side of your leg. Do this action using a flat foot. Repeat if your first attempt fails.

Method 8: Door handle removal


Remove the handle only if you are unable to open the bathroom door otherwise. Take the drill or screwdriver to undo the exterior screws of your handle. Use this screwdriver as the lever to be inserted in the lock mechanism. Turn the item in a gentle manner until a clicking sound comes up.

Method 9: Hammer

Given that a hammer will certainly demolish your bathroom door lock, you should only apply this technique as the last option. If you have enough power, repeatedly bash the doorknob in a downward direction until you see this lock falls apart from your door. Check out details of this method here.

Check out this video for more information on how to open a locked bathroom door from the outside: How to pick a bathroom door lock.

Popular Privacy Lock Types

Aside from learning the steps of unlocking bathroom doors, you may want to know the 3 basic privacy lock types on most US bathroom doors.

  • Turn button lock: This one is locked by turning its knob on the inside of your bathroom door. This lock type is not widely applied to bathrooms.
  • Push pin lock: Activate this lock with a button push on the door’s interior knob, then you will have your privacy.
  • Bolt lock with lever (knob): This type is fairly new; it is similar to a deadbolt. You do not need a key to lock it from the outside — a major advantage.


That was a detailed guide on how to unlock a locked bathroom door from the outside in an awkward situation. What is your opinion on the methods we suggested? Do you think they will work for you? Leave a comment below, and do not forget to share the article with friends and family too!

Thank you for reading.

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