3 Simple Ways to Remove a Broken Key From a Lock

You put your key in the door and suddenly you hear a stomach-curdling snap! The key is broken and you have to do something about it. Before you do anything read my suggestions in full. Hopefully one of them will be your solution for dealing with a broken key inside the lock. 

Your first step is to identify how deep is the broken key and also what tools you have available. 

Do not use your key again. Many people think, that even broken in half the key can still be useful in opening the door. That is simply not the case. Leave it aside or put it in your pocket and see what you can with the lock.

This is a stressful situation and it might be difficult to take an inventory of what you have available. Nevertheless here are some examples of useful metal things that you can use to remove the broken key.  

  • Metal hair clip
  • Paper clip Safety pin
  • Button pin
  • First aid kit
  • Swiss army knife
  • Tweezers 
  • Needle nose pliers

You would also require some form of lubricant, preferably the dry version of it, as the WD40 might clog the lock. 


Tweezers are a good option if needle nose pliers are too chunky for the job. Even if tweezers don’t have the same pulling power as pliers they might be your option. They can provide just the right amount of precision so you can remove the broken key.

Pay special attention and avoid pushing the key further into the lock.

When using tweezers is important to use dry lubricant so the half key won’t slip easily. 

Tapping the cylinder 

For this method to work you need to be able to point out the cylinder towards the ground.  

This method will work for you especially if your key is broken inside a padlock as you will be able to point it toward the ground. Once you have positioned it tap it with a hammer.

If you could strike a solid surface by slamming the cylinder, this would be ideal. I would recommend striking the keyway side of the lock over striking the back of the lock, but if this is going to work it should work either way.

The trick to this method is to keep the lock still, so that gravity can pull the broken key loose. 

Emergency Locksmith Superglue

Using the superglue method to remove broken key is a method I see fail quite often. It’s an option for you if you don’t have any other equipment. 

The idea is to glue the key to something like a match, so it can be pulled free.

First off, if your key is pushed back far into the keyway and there is no metal visible, do not try this. The superglue trick works best when the broken key is accessible.

Take a small wire or a match and place some super glue on the end of it.

Before getting this near the keyway, remove any excess glue or add glue if there is not enough.

Too much glue may harm the lock. Not enough will keep the glue from sticking. Hold that match/wire against the edge of the broken key. When you are applying pressure be sure that you are not pushing the broken key further into the lock. Wait the recommended time for the substances to bind and then pull your match away from the lock as if it were the bow of the key.

There is also a professional solution to the problem. You can use a broken key extractor toolset. Although this is a tool that most people are very unlikely to keep handy it is definitely the easiest option.

You can call us to help you with your broken key extraction or any other locksmith services. Contact us here or call us at 02895 320646.

Hi, I’m Daniel Blanchette

Total explorer. Subtly charming problem solver. Bacon nerd. Analyst. Locks fanatic. Food fan.

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