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How to Unlock Bathroom Door With Hole in 2024

How to Unlock Bathroom Door With Hole in 2024

It can be pretty stressful to find yourself locked out of the bathroom, especially when you need to use it.

As seldom as this situation occurs, you need to be prepared and know how to unlock a bathroom door with a hole.

Fortunately, doing so is relatively straightforward; you just need a screwdriver.

We’ll show you the steps to take in our complete guide below.

Unlocking a Bathroom Door With a Hole: A Summary

Image showing how to unlock bathroom doorknob with hole

Business Stock/Shutterstock

You need to unlock the door correctly and safely, or you might end up with a broken door, which will cost you more than getting a locksmith’s services.

But first, you need to know how to properly open a locked bathroom door. The steps to take include:

  1. Find the hole in the lock.
  2. Get a small screwdriver.
  3. Insert it into the hole.
  4. Wiggle it around.
  5. Twist the screwdriver.

How to Unlock a Bathroom Door With Hole in 5 Steps

No matter how stressful it may be to be locked out of the bathroom, do your best not to panic.

Instead of forcing your way in or opening the door by destroying it, you can follow the steps below and find a simpler solution to the problem.

1. Find a Hole in the Lock

You can find the hole in the middle of the lock, something that you can instantly see. However, sometimes you can’t find it with just one look. In such cases, check the body or stem of the doorknob. The hole can be located on the side.

Locks with small holes are called privacy locks, and they are designed for privacy purposes instead of security. Such locks either have a push-button lock or a turn-button type of lock on the inside.

This allows the person inside to lock the door quickly for privacy. On the outside, the lock has no keyhole. However, a small hole is present. Once you detect this hole, you can proceed to the next step. 

2. Get a Small Screwdriver

After identifying the hole, you will notice that it is quite small. It can fit thin rods like a bobby pin or a paper clip, but these things won’t be effective in doing the job you require.

To successfully unlock the door, you need something small but strong that has a flat end that can turn the lock open—something like a small flathead screwdriver or those that come with your glass repair kits.

If you don’t have this tool at home, try to find something similar and use that instead. 

Behind the small hole in the privacy lock is a hollow space. There’s a little bar inside with a groove. This groove is what you need to catch. And a flathead screwdriver is the perfect tool for it.

3. Insert the Screwdriver Into the Hole

Once you have your small screwdriver or any similar tool, insert it into the hole. Move it straight forward and feel your way around the hollow area.

Finding the groove can be quite challenging. If you don’t insert the screwdriver properly, you might find your tool tilting in one way or another.

The trick here is to go in an exact straight line. When you do, you’ll feel resistance in the end.

4. Wiggle the Screwdriver

When your screwdriver reaches the end of the hollow space, wiggle it around until it catches the groove. This is why a tool with a flat end is necessary.

Other tools won’t be able to catch the groove inside the lock. During this step, keep in mind not to turn the knob. Your goal is to get the screwdriver firmly into the indentation in the lock.

5. Twist the Screwdriver

If you find the groove and the screwdriver has latched on securely, twist it around until you hear a click. This means the lock is disengaged and the door is open.

Unfortunately, there are times when you meet some resistance while turning the screwdriver. When you do, remove the tool and do the steps again. Don’t force it and use too much pressure, or you’ll risk damaging the lock. 

Things to Consider

Guy installing a door knob on a door that was previously locked


Now that you know the steps on how to unlock the bathroom door with a hole, you need to consider some things.

  • Make sure the screwdriver or any tool you use can’t break inside the lock.
  • To open doors without the privacy lock or those with a regular keyhole, a different method should be used. You can use a substitute key, such as a knife or bobby pin, or use a flexible but sturdy card to slide between the lock and the door frame.
  • Using bobby pins to unlock doors takes time, so be patient.
  • If you plan on using a knife to unlock doors, make sure you use a butter knife to prevent cutting yourself.
  • If all else fails, you can try drilling the lock open. Or you can use force by kicking the door or destroying the lock. You can even remove the hinges. But remember, doing these steps will damage your door and might require replacement.
  • Locksmiths can open locked doors. If you don’t find success with the above steps and don’t want to damage your door, you can call for professional help instead.

There is another type of privacy lock commonly used for bathroom doors in the US. This is the privacy push-pin or button lock. For this kind of lock, you can use the following steps to unlock it:

  1. Get a bobby pin, a paperclip, or any similar object—something small that won’t damage the lock. But make sure the tool you choose is not flimsy and can handle some pressure.
  2. Straighten the pin or clip before attempting to insert it inside the hole.
  3. Push the small tool gently but firmly until you feel the lock pop. You can also hear a click when this happens.
  4. Turn the doorknob, and the door will open easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Two sides of a doorknob for a piece on how to unlock bathroom doorknob lock with a hole


Here are some common questions and answers that can help you when you can’t open a bathroom door. 

How to unlock a bathroom door with a butter knife?

Use the butter knife as a substitute key to open a locked door. Place the knife into the keyhole as far as it can go and turn or wiggle it around.

Keep on moving the knife until it moves in a full circle or when you hear a click. Another way to use a knife is to insert it between the door and the frame, just above the door knob’s position.

Then, when you feel the bolt, slide the knife in and push it out of the door jamb.

How to open a locked door with a screwdriver?

You will need a flathead screwdriver to unlock privacy doors. But make sure your screwdriver is small and can fit into the hole on the knob.

Then, when you have your tool, insert it into the hole and push forward until you hear a click. For a standard lock, simply insert the screwdriver in the keyhole and turn it around until the door unlocks.

How to remove a locked doorknob from the outside?

If you can’t unlock the door, removing the doorknob is the next thing you can do. For this, you need to find the hidden hole in the shaft.

Insert a tool similar to a screwdriver or paperclip into the hole and push firmly. There will be some resistance when you move the tool forward. Keep moving with one hand while turning the doorknob with your other hand.

If the lock resists, try twisting the tool inside and remove the knob. Then, you can unscrew the lockset, and the knob can be removed entirely.

What is the little hole on the side of my doorknob for?

The little hole on the side of the doorknob is called a privacy lock. It’s used to open the door in an emergency or when you can’t open it.

How to unlock a bathroom door without a hole?

For doors without a hole, you can use a knife to open them. Insert the blade where you would usually put the key and move it around.

Or you can pry the door open with it. You can also use flexible plastic or a laminated card and slide it between the door frame and the lock.

What’s the easiest way to open a locked door?

One of the easiest ways to open a locked door is by using a small screwdriver. Push the tool inside the keyhole and move it forward until the lock clicks open.

If you don’t have a screwdriver, you can use a paperclip, a knife, thin wire, or other small rods as alternatives.

Final Thoughts

If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being locked out of the bathroom, you can easily find a solution.

You don’t have to call for help or destroy your door in the process, either.