You depend upon your locks to function well so that your home remains secure. This can backfire spectacularly if your key gets stuck in the lock, since this means you can't lock your door properly. The following tips can help you handle this issue so you can leave your home locked up and secure without wasting too much time trying to fix the lock.
Tip #1: Stabilize the lock
A common cause of a stuck key is that the center locking mechanism on the doorknob or deadbolt has become loose. This means that it jiggles slightly out of alignment when you try to pull out your key, thus trapping the key inside. To overcome this, carefully line your key up properly for pulling it out. Then, with the other hand, place two fingers on the center locking mechanism on either side of the keyhole to stabilize it. Now try to pull the key out. You may have to try a couple of times to make sure you have your alignment right.
Tip #2: Try some lubrication
Dirt and debris can result in a key jammed in the lock. Lubrication is the next step if the alignment trick above doesn't work. A spray lubricant is best – you can use a product like WD40 if you don't have one made specifically for locks. Insert the spray tube next to the key and spray plenty of the lubricant inside the lock. If you are spraying a lock with a a keyhole on both sides, you can spray from the side opposite the key. The lubricant will force out much of the dirt as well as loosening the key. It may take some jiggling but the key will usually slip out.
Tip #3: Disassemble the lock
This isn't as quick as the other methods, but as long as you can open the door you can disassemble the lock to get the key out. Unscrew the lock faceplate on the inside of the door and slide it out. This should reveal the inner workings and the stuck key, allowing you to free it. You may need to use a spray lubricant directly on the now visible key. Once the key is out you can reattach the face plate.
Even if you free your key, you should call a locksmith from a company like Suburban Lock at your earliest convenience. A stuck key is a minor issue compared to a key broken off in the lock or a full broken lock. These can leave you locked out of your house. By having the lock inspected and repaired, you won't have to worry about stuck keys or worse.