Accessing a Bathroom When Someone Accidentally Locks and Shuts the Door
Image by Edward Paul from Pixabay

Accessing a Bathroom When Someone Accidentally Locks and Shuts the Door

People often call a locksmith for help with their car or front door locks. However, they rarely think to call this professional when someone in the home locks the bathroom door with nobody inside. Quick action needs to be taken in this situation, as the bathroom serves as an essential part of any home. Even people living in residences with multiple bathrooms will find they need this room accessible at all times. Locksmiths become of great help in this situation.

However, before calling for a locksmith, attempt to resolve the problem yourself. There are numerous actions a person may take in an attempt to unlock a door when someone accidentally locks the bathroom door. Texas Premier Locksmith recommends the following steps be tried before you give them a call.

Look for a Bypass Hole

Many bathroom doors and knobs come with a round hole rather than a keyhole. Experts refer to this small hole centered in the doorknob as a bypass hole, and it is slightly smaller than a pencil that isn’t sharpened. Using a flashlight, peer into the hole to find the lock actuator, which is a small bar with an indent.

Find a probe that fits easily into the hole, one made of strong metal, and insert it into the hole. Jiggle it until the actuator moves into the unlocked position. In some cases, the actuator must be pushed in to unlock the door. However, with some doorknobs or handles, the actuator must be moved down.

Don’t force the actuator, as this could break it and prevent the lock from opening. If the lock breaks, the simply bypass method no longer works. Other methods will need to be used.

Rectangular Slots

Certain doorknobs and handles feature a rectangular slot that looks like a slotted screw. The depression rotates horizontally and vertically, locking and unlocking the door in the process. When trying to open a locked door, determine which position the slot is currently in and turn it the opposite way.

Door lock
Image by slightly_different on Pixabay

Many people use a coin or flathead screwdriver to open these locks, which are commonly found in public bathrooms with multiple stalls. As they are extremely easy to open, many people comment on how they only provide the illusion of security. If the lock doesn’t open easily, something else is wrong, and other methods must be used.

Disassemble the Lock

If the previous methods do not work, take the lock apart. Exposed screws make it easy to remove the lock and access the bathroom. If the screws are hidden, turn the rose or part between the door and the knob in a counterclockwise direction. Loose doorknobs suggest the lock will come apart easily.

Take care when disassembling locks. In many cases, doing so leads to the interior knob falling to the floor. This could harm the knob or handle along with the floor. If the latch is stuck after taking apart the lock, use additional pressure to pull it back.

Move the Latch

If locking and unlocking the knob or handle involves turning it, the mechanism contains a spring-loaded latch bolt. You can unlock the door without manipulating the handle because the mechanism only stops the handle from turning. The handle doesn’t have to move for the spring to compress. When this spring compresses, the latch retracts, and the door comes open. Anyone who has ever seen a person unlock their door with a credit card has seen the spring-loaded latch bolt in action.

A person can use any rigid item to unlock the door. Use something that can be disposed of, as opening the lock often damages the item. Once the item is between the frame and the door, begin working it parallel to the handle, doing so slices the latch bolt’s sloped face down. The goal is to force the latch out of the strike plate and toward the door. At the same time, push on the door. It will open, although the lock is still secured.

People often look to other interior doors in the home to determine which type of lock they are dealing with. When a door remains open, the latch freely moves. This technique only works with doors that have a lock with a latch. Deadbolts cannot be opened this way, as they lack springs. Deadbolts require a key or thumb turn to release the lock.

remove the door handle
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Brute Force

In an emergency, a person might find they need to kick in the bathroom door. For example, someone may have left the water running in the bathroom before locking the door on their way out of the room. Water has now escaped the sink or tub and is making its way into other parts of the home. If the locksmith has not arrived, kicking the door in may offer the best solution. However, never use this method when someone is in the bathroom and cannot unlock the door. They may be unintentionally hurt.

The goal is to kick the door near the knob or handle without hitting the fixture. People often aim for the center of the door, which does nothing more than put a hole in the door. In addition, people who try this method often hurt themselves. Only one kick should be needed to open the door and allow you to resolve the emergency.

Contact a Locksmith

If all else fails, contact a locksmith. This avoids damage to the lock or the door itself. People often assume they must replace the doorknob or handle and lock in this situation. Fortunately, that is not the case, and calling a locksmith is less expensive than replacing the door handle and locks, and the door is damaged.

Don’t panic if a child has locked themselves in the bathroom and cannot open the door or someone is injured and cannot let you in to help. Remain calm, as this will help as you work to open the door. However, don’t hesitate to call a locksmith before attempting to gain entry. You’ll feel better if you can open the lock and provide help, even when you have a locksmith on hand to assist.

People make mistakes. Someone could easily secure the lock on a bathroom door, walk out of the room, and pull the door shut. The occupants of the home must then figure out how to get into the room. Using the above methods will resolve this issue, and many times a locksmith won’t be needed. However, know these professionals remain on call around the clock to help regardless of the time of day. They recognize you need assistance and are ready to provide it in a timely manner.

Featured Image by Edward Paul from Pixabay