6 May 2024 By Jonathan

Mastering the Art of Non-Destructive Door Opening: A Practical Guide


In certain situations, we may need to open a locked door without having the correct key. It is important to clarify that these methods must be used legally and responsibly, only in the context of a personal emergency or to help others. In this article, we show you different techniques for opening a locked door using common tools such as a credit card, x-ray, paperclip, impact wrench, and screwdriver.

Open a door with a bank card

This method mainly works on simple locks and doors equipped with a spring-loaded latch. Here’s how to do it:

  • Choose a rigid but flexible plastic card (loyalty card type) so as not to damage your bank card.
  • Insert the card between the door jamb and the latch by sliding the card down while pushing lightly against the door.
  • When you feel that the card touches the latch, tilt it slightly so that it passes behind it then use leverage to push the latch back into its slot and thus unlock the door.
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Check that the door is not equipped with an additional security lock that could damage your card or render it ineffective. If you cannot unlock the door with this method, try another technique or call a professional.

Opening a door with an x-ray

The X-ray method is similar to the credit card method, but it works on more complex locks and can be used for doors equipped with a deadbolt:

  • Take an old x-ray and cut it into an inverted L shape so it can slide behind the deadbolt.
  • Insert the long end of the L between the jamb and the deadbolt, sliding down until you feel resistance.
  • Lever carefully to push the bolt back into its housing and thus unlock the door.


This method may slightly damage your door frame. If you can’t do it after several attempts, stop to avoid further damage to your lock or door and call a professional if necessary.

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Open a door with a paper clip

This technique mainly applies to simple locks without complex mechanisms:

  • Untwist a paperclip to get two straight sections forming a right angle.
  • Insert the longer section into the lock and turn it like a key, while holding the other section for leverage.
  • If you feel the mechanism unlock, continue turning until the door opens.


This method can damage your lock if used improperly. If you can’t open the door with a paper clip, try another technique or call a professional.

Opening a door with an impact key

The impact wrench is a specific tool designed to force locks by applying rapid and violent pressure to the cylinder. This method requires a certain amount of know-how:

  • Choose an impact key suited to the type of lock you want to open (single or double cylinder).
  • Insert the key into the lock and hold it firmly in place.
  • Quickly tap the end of the key with a hammer while simultaneously applying a slight twist to it to engage the locking mechanism.
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Using an impact key can irreparably damage your lock. We only recommend this method to experienced people and strongly advise seeking professional help if you are unsure.

Open a door with a screwdriver

This method can be used on simple locks and doors equipped with a spring latch:

  • Insert a small flathead screwdriver between the door jamb and the latch, then pry the latch back into place.
  • If that doesn’t work, try using a Phillips screwdriver to unscrew the screws on the locking mechanism and remove the handle or plate that holds the deadbolt in place.


Be careful not to damage your door or lock by using too much force. If you are unsuccessful after several attempts, stop and seek professional help if necessary.

Call a professional

Please note that it is always best to call a professional to open a locked door. An experienced locksmith has the equipment and skills to quickly and efficiently unlock a door without causing unnecessary damage. So do not hesitate to contact a specialist if necessary.