Dealing with a Sticky Lock? The Problem & the Solution

If you have noticed that the lock on your front door is feeling sticky, as if someone has injected superglue into it, you might be feeling worried. Sticky locks are a very common problem, which can be easily fixed. Below is a guide to the cause of a sticky lock and the steps you can take to fix the problem.

The Problem

Lock lubricant is designed to make the mechanical action of a lock easy and smooth, so it might surprise you to discover that excessive amounts of lubricant can actually cause you lock to become sticky. Good lock maintenance involves adding a little lubricant on a periodic basis. However, over the years, the lubricant can collect within the lock mechanism, leading to a build-up of excess lubricant. This excess lubricant can create the ideal surface for minute particles of dust and debris to collect within the lock.

When you place you key into the lock, and it sticks in place, this is because of the friction created by the excess lubricant in the lock. So, while your first instinct, when faced with a sticky lock, might be to give it a squirt of lubricant, you should avoid doing so as this can just make the problem worse.

The Solution

The best way to deal with a sticky lock is to use graphite powder. You should be able to purchase graphite powder with a special applicator from your local hardware store. The tube of graphite powder contains a thin nozzle which will allow you to apply it to the inside of the lock with a gentle squeeze. Once you have done this, you should insert your key and then remove it several times. Doing so will help to distribute the powder around the interior mechanism of the lock.

You may notice that the key is coated in gunk. This gunk is the excess lubricant which can be wiped away. The graphite powder will help to break down any excess lubricant and will help to remove any particles of dust or debris trapped in the lock. 

While using graphite powder on a sticky lock will probably solve the problem, in some cases, it may not. If your lock is still sticky after treatment with graphite powder, this could be an indication of a more serious problem. Thus, you should contact a locksmith. The locksmith will be able to strip the lock down into its individual pieces so they can be inspected, cleaned and repaired.