Breaking In (Without Breaking It): How To Open A Door With A Hanger

Key Takeaway

  • Doors with push button or latch bolt locks can be easily opened with a coat hanger. 
  • To open a push button lock,straighten the coat hanger first and then insert it into the hole to push the button on the lock.
  • To open a latch bolt lock, insert a straightened coat hanger into the space between the door and the frame, and manipulate the latch bolt to open it.

Who would have thought that door locks can also be opened with coat hangers? Well I certainly didn’t until one of the members in our lock-picking community showed it to me. After learning the trick, I tried it myself on our bedroom door and was able to achieve the feat after a few unsuccessful attempts.

Therefore in this article, I will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to open a lock using a humble coat hanger. So, gear up and join us on this thrilling journey to becoming a master lock-picker!

How To Unlock A Door Using A Hanger

Before attempting to open a door using a hanger, it is important to identify the type of lock you are dealing with. 2 types of locks are generally found on doors – the latch bolt lock and push button lock. 

  • A latch bolt lock has a latch bolt mechanism that secures the door in place, which is retracted by turning the door handle or knob. 
  • On the other hand, a push button lock has a button on the inside, which, when pressed, releases the lock. 

The mechanism to pick these two different types of locks differ slightly so pay close attention to the steps. But before we jump on the steps, a quick note about the kind of hanger to use.

The best coat hanger to use is a wire hanger made of a strong, flexible metal, like steel or aluminum. Plastic or wooden hangers won’t be able to bend or twist in the required way, and thin or flimsy coat hangers might not be powerful enough to control the lock mechanism.

Picking A Push Button Lock

Opening a push button lock with a coat hanger can be done with the following steps:

Straighten the coat hanger: First, straighten the coat hanger so that it is long and straight enough to reach the lock. Use pliers to straighten the coat hanger.

Straighten the coat hanger

Insert the coat hanger into the lock: Insert the end of the coat hanger into the hole of the push-button lock. 

coat hanger

Locate the button: You need to locate the button inside the lock mechanism by moving the hanger a bit and a few hits and trials. Push the coat hanger into the lock until you feel it touch the button.

Push the button: Use the hook to push the button inside the lock mechanism. This will release the lock and allow you to open the door.

To learn alternate ways to open a push button lock without a key, you may refer to one of my past articles.

Picking A Latch Bolt Lock

Opening a latch bolt lock with a coat hanger can be done with the following steps:

Straighten the coat hanger: In order to reach the lock, the coat hanger needs to be long and straightened.Use a pair of pliers to bend the hanger into a straight line.

Straighten the coat hanger

Bend the coat hanger: Next step, bend the coat hanger to create a hook at the end. This hook will be used to manipulate the lock. Use the pliers to bend the end of the coat hanger into a hook shape.

Bend the coat hanger

Insert the coat hanger into the lock: Insert the hooked end of the coat hanger into the lock through the gap between the door frame and the door. Insert it as close as possible to the latch bolt mechanism.

Locate the latch bolt: Now, move the hanger to reach the latch bolt.

Lift the latch bolt: Use the hook to lift the latch bolt mechanism. You may need to wiggle the hook a bit to get it under the latch bolt. Once the hook is under the latch bolt, lift the hook up to retract the bolt and release the lock.

Open the door: Once the lock is released, turn the door handle or knob and open the door.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. Can I use any type of hanger to open a lock?

Answer – While a coat hanger is a common tool used to open locks, not all types of coat hangers are suitable for this task. The best type of coat hanger to use is a wire hanger that is made from sturdy and flexible metal, such as steel or aluminum. Thin or flimsy coat hangers may not be strong enough to manipulate the lock mechanism, while plastic or wooden hangers will not be able to bend or twist in a necessary way.

Q2. Is it possible to open a car lock using a coat hanger?

Answer – Yes, it is possible to open a car lock using a coat hanger. The method involves straightening the coat hanger and shaping it into a long, thin hook that can be used to manipulate the lock mechanism through a small gap in the car window or door. Ultimately the process is the same as mentioned in the article.


In conclusion, opening a lock with a coat hanger is a useful skill to learn when you find yourself locked out of your house or car. While it may seem difficult at first, with some patience and practice, it can help you become proficient in this technique. 

If you found the information given in the article helpful, share it with your friends and family. For any other queries on picking a lock with a hanger, write to me in the comment section.

Leave a Comment

Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.