Open Privacy Locks In Minutes: Learn How To Unlock A Door With A Hole

Key Takeaway

  • To open a door with a hole, use a flat-head screwdriver for lever-type locks and a Philips-head screwdriver for push button locks and rotate into the lock hole.
  • You may also use a credit card or a knife to open a door with a hole by sliding it between the door and the door frame.
  • In cases of emergency, you may open the door by force.

Last weekend, we had a scheduled fire drill in our apartment. I rushed around my apartment trying to get ready for the fire drill when I suddenly realized that my nephew had gone into the bathroom and locked himself inside. With only a few minutes before everyone was required to leave, I quickly went over to the door and called out his name, trying to coax him out. 

Since he panicked due to the alarm, he took some time to open the privacy lock. But thankfully, he eventually emerged from the bathroom just in time for us to evacuate together. However, this made me worry about a potential real-time emergency situation and inspired me to research the topic and write an article on how to unlock a bathroom door with a hole from the outside.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to unlock a door with a hole so that your loved ones never have to be locked inside in emergencies. 

What Is A Privacy Lock With A Hole?

Privacy locks typically have a locking system that is accessible from the inside with a turn of a knob or push button but cannot be accessed from the outside. The lock utilizes a thumb turn (or button) on the interior side of the door to engage a latch. When the thumb turn is rotated, the latch engages a metal plate, keeping the door locked and preventing it from being opened from the exterior. Generally these locks don’t have a mechanism to open from outside but a small hole.

These locks have a small hole on the outside of the lock that allows the latch to be released without having to use a key. The hole is usually located in the center of the face of the lock and is used to release a button that unlocks the door.

How To Unlock Door With Hole

In this section of the article, we will discuss how to unlock doors with holes. The methods mentioned below are some incredibly easy and inexpensive ways to get into a locked space without using a key or causing damage.

How To Unlock Door With Hole Using A Screwdriver

How To Unlock Door With Hole Using A Screwdriver

If you find yourself locked out of a room with a privacy lock and a hole, then you can use a screwdriver to gain access.

Lever-Style Privacy Lock

The first step is to identify the type of lock. If the lock is a lever-style lock, then you will need to insert the flathead screwdriver into the hole. The size of the screwdriver’s head should be in comparison with the hole in the lock. Apply pressure until you feel the latch begin to move. Once it has been moved, the door should unlock. Make sure that you are using a flathead screwdriver, as other types may not fit into the hole.

Push-Button Type Privacy Lock

If the lock is a push-button privacy lock, then you will need to use a Phillips head screwdriver. Insert the tip of the similar-sized screwdriver into the hole and turn it in a clockwise direction. This will cause the deadbolt to retract, allowing you to open the door.

If this doesn’t work, you may need to try another method. Additionally, be careful when twisting the screwdriver; too much force can damage the lock.

How To Open Locked Door With Hole Using A Plastic Card

How To Open Locked Door With Hole Using A Plastic Card

Using a credit card or similar card is another way to open a privacy lock from the outside without the key. You may even use a knife or a butter knife for the procedure.

  • Step 1: Insert the card into the gap between the door and its frame, with the card facing away from you. 
  • Step 2: Wiggle the card back and forth to jimmy the latch or lock mechanism while applying gentle pressure against the door.
  • Step 3: You may need to increase the pressure if it’s a particularly tough lock.
  • Step 4: Slide your card further down into the gap, about halfway up, until you feel the latch click and pop open slightly.
  • Step 5: Move your card in an up-and-down motion slowly, carefully widening the space between the door and its frame until it’s wide enough for you to fit your fingers in and open it by pulling outward gently.

How To Open The Door With Hole By Removing The Door Hardware

How To Open The Door With Hole By Removing The Door Hardware

Opening a locked door with a privacy lock and a hole can be made by removing the door hardware. 

Here’s how, 

  • Step 1: Remove the screws that hold the door handle in place, then use a flat-head screwdriver to unscrew the lock mechanism. 
  • Step 2: Once the lock mechanism is loose, you can then use a small pry bar or a flathead screwdriver to pry open the door. If necessary, you can use a pair of pliers to remove the screws that hold the door handle in place. Be careful not to damage the wood around the lock.
  • Step 3: Once the screws are removed and the lock mechanism is loose, you can use a flathead screwdriver to slide out the latch from the hole carefully. 
  • Step 4: Next, you can use a pair of pliers to pull the latch off the door. 

With this method, you should be able to unlock the door and gain access to the room or area beyond. However, if you do not feel comfortable with this method, it is recommended that you seek help from an experienced locksmith.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What type of rooms is a privacy lock ideal for?

Answer – Privacy locks are most commonly used in bedrooms and bathrooms, where some privacy or restriction is required. Since these are not high on security, they are rarely used to front doors. 

Q2. Are there any disadvantages to using privacy locks?

Answer – Privacy locks are not very high on security therefore they are not to be used on front doors or doors where security is paramount. They are meant to provide privacy and privacy is not to be confused with security.


Unlocking a door with a hole or privacy lock can be a tricky task, but it is certainly possible. There are several techniques you can use to open a locked door with a hole, such as using a screwdriver, using a plastic card, or removing the door hardware altogether. I hope the article must have helped you find the step-by-step instructions for the process.

For any other assistance on bypassing locks in cases of emergency, write to me in the comment section. I shall be happy to help!

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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.