bathroom door locked from inside

Bathroom Door Locked From Inside – Unlocking a Door From the Outside

Have you ever tried to enter your bathroom only to find the bathroom door locked from the inside? This is a common problem encountered by people who find themselves in a situation of working out how to unlock a bathroom door from the outside. Fortunately, there are some easy solutions to this frustrating problem.

Why Is the Bathroom Door Locked from Inside?

Let’s admit it; we’ve all got locked out of our own bathrooms once in a lifetime. If you think that it will not happen to you, then you may be wrong, as it can happen with almost anyone out there.

So why is the bathroom door locked from inside? The main reason is that you or someone “accidentally” locks the door from the inside. 

This is more likely to happen if you have kids.

But don’t worry, even though you don’t know what will happen in the future, there’s something you can do to free yourself from a locked door. Read on to learn about the five solutions to how to open a locked bathroom door.

Types Of Privacy Locks

There are different types of bathroom locks available in various configurations to meet your own style or preferences. 

A privacy door handle is usually used on bathrooms doors, or bedroom doors where privacy is desired. These locks are perfect if you don’t want to spend money on expensive keyed locks.

Normally, bathroom door locks can be effortlessly unlocked from the outside if needed with the use of simple tools such as a small flat head screwdriver or a hairpin. Here are the three main types of privacy locks:

Turn Button Privacy Lock

This privacy lock is the most common type and usually the most affordable. 

turn button privacy lock

To lock and unlock it, all you need to do is simply turn the button, and it will lock the bathroom door knob in place. And if for some reason, you have to get inside the door, and it is locked, you can use a small flat head screwdriver or hairpin to unlock it easily.

If you want to choose this type of privacy lock, we highly recommend four brands: Probrico, Kwikset, and Schlage.

Privacy Push Pin/Button Lock

A Push button bathroom door lock or push-pin privacy locks come with a push pin/button on the rosette of the door lever or door knob.

To lock, simply push the button or pin in, and it will lock it in place. 

push button privacy lock

These types of privacy locks feature what they call a panic release which means that to unlock it, all you need to do is turn the knob or lever from the inside, and it will release the button or pin and unlock the bathroom door.

It is simple and comes with great features for convenience, and very ideal in case of emergency. Similar to other privacy locks, this can be unlocked from the outside with the use of the same simple tools we mentioned above.

Privacy Bolt with Lever/Knob

The privacy bolt with lever/knob privacy lock is a kind of newer and more unique style of privacy lock. Using it is similar to using a deadbolt but doesn’t need a key from the outside.

In case of emergency, you can unlock it from the outside using anything that can fit in the knob’s tiny slot, such as a flat head screwdriver or even a long fingernail.  Take note that privacy bolts need more prep work, and they are usually not a standard bore size, so you may need some special door preparation to do, but the final output is a refined, high-end look.

5 Possible Solutions to Unlocking a Door from the Outside?

If you’re not familiar with the lock on your bathroom door, it’s a thumb turn on the inside of the door. You’ve most likely all seen these on an entryway door to the main door to your house.

The difference is on the outside of the door. Now, on the outside of the lock, rather than a keyhole (like you would find on the front door of your home), there’s basically just around a tiny hole on privacy levers.

And behind that tiny hole is a spindle with a groove in it. To unlock a door from the outside, your goal is to hit that groove and give it a turn.

That said, with the bathroom door locked from inside, here are the five possible solutions to unlock a door from the outside:

Using Thin Piece of Hard Plastic 

Though this method is not a great solution for a deadbolt, it’s the perfect solution for spring locks, latch-bolt, and lever-type doorknobs.

using plastic top open bathroom door

Just find a thin piece of hard plastic lying around or similar objects such as a grocery store loyalty card or library card.

So what you want to do is very simple; simply slide the thick piece of hard plastic between the lock and door frame and bend the hard plastic and try to push the latch You can try to lean against the door, which may help finish the task faster.

Tip: You can use your credit card if you can’t find any thin pieces of hard objects. But just remember that it could damage the card, so as much as possible, avoid using it!

Use Alternative Keys

One of the faster methods on how to open a locked door from the inside is to use a spam key. But if you don’t have any, you can use some other, similar objects such as:

Flat-Head Screwdriver – If you’ve got a door with a privacy handle, you can utilize a flat-head screwdriver to unlock a door from the outside. 

flat head screwdriver

Just find the hole in the doorknob, and insert the flat-head screwdriver into it as far as you can. 

Then, turn, and wiggle the screwdriver until it catches a groove. 

You’ll know that you successfully finish the job when you hear a click.

Tip: Screwdrivers with thicker rods won’t work well because, obviously, they won’t fit inside the door handle.

Paperclip – A simple, sturdy paper clip is a great tool for unlocking your bathroom from the outside in case of an emergency. The main thing to do is to shape the paper clip for this kind of task. You can make the process even more convenient if you have two paper clips.

What you want to do is simply bend the first one and fold out the second one to be as straight as possible. 

Once you insert the bent paperclip into the lock hole, you must stick the straightened paperclip beneath. Then, simply move and wiggle the second piece around until you open the lock.

A Paperclip and a Tension Wrench – a tension wrench is a small hex key, which you can utilize to maintain the tension inside the lock while trying to unlock the door with the paperclip. 

It’s actually almost the same as the method above. Just insert the tool into the lock’s bottom part and rotate it to get tension on the lock. Then steadily wiggle the paperclip inside the top part of the lock until you hear some clicks.

Use a Metal Coat Hanger

If you have a latch bolt, pulling it with a metal coat hanger is an easy way to open a locked door from the outside. The first thing you need to do is to bend the metal coat hanger just enough to create a long handle with a hook at the tip.

wire coathanger

Then place that hook between the edge of the door itself and the wall and wrap it around the latch bolt. Then, use your other hand to rotate the knob while pulling the hanger toward you. 

Remember: This method only makes sense if you don’t have the jamb blocking the gap between the door and the wall.

Now, if you have a privacy push pin/button lock, there’s no need to insert the flattened tip of the metal coat hanger between the edge of the door and the wall. Simply insert the tip to the hole on the doorknob and wiggle it until you hear a click sound.

Use Bobby Pins

To unlock a locked door from the outside, you can use a pair of bobby pins. But most of the time, it takes time. 

bobby pins to open door

Before starting, you must bend two bobby pins into a specific shape in order to insert them into the hole.

Bend the last 0.4-inches of the bobby pin’s end to make it perpendicular to its free ends. 

Then insert the bent part into the bottom of the keyhole and use the second bobby pin with a bent fulcrum to create a straight piece.

Then just wiggle the bobby pin while turning the doorknob at the same time. 

Even though this method takes longer than the paperclip method above, it’s worth the effort, especially if you don’t have any choice.

Use a Cord

Utilizing a cord with a slipknot or thicker rope is probably one of the simplest methods to open a locked bathroom door without destroying it.

The only condition is that there must be a small window on top of the door. If there is, then you should pick out a cord long enough to reach the lock placed on the outside. Then use the cord to hold the lock and then tug both its sides in order to unlock the bathroom door.

Other Solutions to Unlock a Bathroom Door from Outside (Last Resort)

With the bathroom door locked from inside and the above solutions exhausted, its time to become more creative. Here are our last resort options:

Use Your Foot

If you’re pretty strong and doesn’t have any tools to use for some reason, you can use Newton’s third law of motion and kick the spot above the doorknob because it’s the weakest point of the door. 

Perform the kicks with a flat foot and continue kicking if it didn’t work on the first try.

Take note that you need the door that opens outwards and those designed with weaker materials.

Remove the Door Handle

Only use this method if you can’t unlock your door using the safe methods we discussed earlier. Use a drill or screwdriver to undo exterior screws of the door handle, and then use the screwdriver as a lever. Put it into the lock mechanism and turn it slowly until you hear a click sound.

Use a Drill

Again, this is a last resort method, so keep in mind that drilling the lock will damage your door. Only use this method if you have no other choice.

Your goal is to destroy the pins on the strike plate using the drill and turn the lock. Be careful to drill above the shear line, which is the top of the keyhole. It is the area of the lock placed in the same line with the threshold between the cylinder and pin.

Begin with the small-sized drill bit and keep the lock lubricated. As soon as you manage to drill the hole, get a screwdriver to open the lock.

Use a Hammer

Well, this sounds really aggressive, but it’s a sure-fire way if you can’t find any other tools to unlock the bathroom. If you’re quite strong, simply bash the doorknob downward repeatedly until the lock is destroyed and detaches from the door. Tip: If you don’t want to use any of these aggressive methods and can’t apply the safe and straightforward methods we discussed above, just call a locksmith to fix the problem.

How Can you Prevent the Bathroom Door Being Locked from Inside from Happening in the Future?

Well, the first thing you want to do is remind your other house members to always be mindful not to accidentally lock the bathroom from the inside. You can print some notes and paste them on the bathroom’s wall (or any other room) just to make sure.

Another thing you can do is to keep small little keys all over your house, possibly on the frame above the doors of bathrooms and bedrooms. If anybody ever accidentally locks themselves out, just grab the tiny emergency keys and unlock the door.

Last update on 2022-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API