How to Open a Locked Door with a Screwdriver

Alex Clarkson
Alex Clarkson

It’s better to know how to open a locked door with a screwdriver and not need it, than need it and not know it. Knowing how to do it can come in handy if you’re ever locked out of your house or room. Although there are many ways in which you can open a locked door, using a screwdriver seems like the most popular method. It’s easy and convenient, especially since most people have a screwdriver somewhere outside of the house.

Continue reading to discover a step-by-step guide on how you can get to the other side of your looked door using nothing more than a screwdriver.

Damage and Safety Concerns

Before we get into the guide, it’s important to mention that opening your door this way might be a bit dangerous. If you have wooden doors, it’s almost sure that there will be some fragments and wooden chips flying around. For this reason, try not to do this without some gloves and possibly even safety goggles.

If you don’t have goggles, use whatever glasses you can find to protect your eyes as best as possible. Another thing you should keep in mind is that you’ll probably do some damage to the door. As mentioned, wooden doors will break and chip, while plastic ones will likely show some scratches once you’re done forcing your way in.

How to open a locked door using a screwdriver

There are several methods of opening a locked door with a screwdriver, depending on accessibility, door type, and several other factors.

Know your Door

removing door knob

You should know that some doors are simply impossible to break in with a screwdriver. This method works well for standard, old-school entrance doors and those inside your house. Entrance doors that have a high-security level aren’t so easy to break in. The higher the security level, the more difficult it will be for you to open it.

Even if you manage to open your high-security door using this method, you’ll probably damage either the door or the lock beyond repair, so that’s just something to keep in mind. It might be best to call a professional locksmith to open the door for you in those cases.

Opening Indoor Doors

Does your door have privacy handles? If so, worry not, because these are pretty simple to open with a screwdriver.

These have a small hole in the knob, which is where you can push an eyeglass-sized screwdriver. You can also use a thin flathead (otherwise known as a slot) screwdriver, pushing it through that hole as far as you can. Twist and turn until you hear and feel a tick that means your door is opened.

Removing the Door Knob

Removing the door-knob is another method you can use for either indoor doors or low-security level front doors. It can be a time-consuming process and might raise suspicion if someone sees you doing it. And explaining the situation to the authorities can be pretty unpleasant, especially if your documents are left locked inside.

removing door knob

What you have to do is find the knob’s mounting screws which hold it in place. It’s easier to find in some doors where it’s located in front of you. The process is a bit more complicated in other doors, requiring you to remove shanks, roses, and other parts before reaching the screws. The method isn’t overly complex but does require several different screwdrivers and lots of patience and accuracy.

Removing the Hinges

Removing the hinges is the most challenging method and possibly the most damaging. On top of that, you’ll also need a few other tools other than a simple flathead screwdriver. A hammer usually works the best.

Wedge and insert the screwdriver between the bottom knuckle and the pin of the hinges. Tap the handle downwards with a hammer slightly, using appropriate amounts of force. Make sure that you start things gently and apply a greater amount of force when necessary.

Tap until you feel that the pin and head are loose enough for you to remove them. It’s a time-consuming process because you have to repeat it for every hinge until you remove them all. It shouldn’t take too much force, but this very much depends on your door. Sometimes, pins end up stuck in place, and then you have to tap the hammer quite firmly or even use an electric screwdriver.

Things to Keep in Mind

Regardless of which method you use, it’s best to keep in mind that something might go wrong. The worst-case scenarios include you causing irreparable damage to the door or someone reporting a burglary in progress in your house, even if it’s just you trying to get into your own home.

This might not pose an issue if you’re a long-term resident of your neighborhood, but some people might not buy into the story. It would help if you also kept in mind that there’s a wide range of tools you can use that aren’t as damaging to the door. A butter knife or a credit card can also help open locked doors, although probably not the high-security ones.


Things are always best left to the professionals, so you shouldn’t attempt to open any door using a screwdriver if you want to avoid causing damage or possible injury. In a situation where you find yourself locked out of your home, your best option is to call a locksmith. The information we provided in this article should be used as a last resort only.

The best prevention is to keep spare keys outside of the house. Hide them in the shed, garage, or somewhere on the front porch. This is something you should be creative with so that nobody else can find them. If you’re too scared to keep the keys outside like that, you might want to consider giving a set of spare keys to family members, trustworthy neighbors or keep an extra set in your car. This way, you’ll have your keys at hand in case you stay locked out of your home, and you won’t have to break anything trying to get in.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to open a locked door with a screwdriver is likely to come in handy at some point. But it’s better to know and not need it, than need it and not know it.

Still, forcing your door open like this will likely result in damage you won’t be able to fix. In some cases, you’ll have to replace the lock or even the entire door, which is why it’s always better to seek professional help beforehand. It shouldn’t be too expensive, and it definitely costs less than a brand new door.

If not, consider buying a lock-picking set to keep somewhere outside of your home. These come in all sizes and with a user manual for first-time users.

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