How to Clean Locks

When your lock becomes hard to operate and the turning of the key is difficult requiring more effort than usual it may be as a result of a build up of dirt. This article will show you how to clean both the exterior and interior of a lock, a seized lock as well as how to loosen a stubborn deadbolt.

Cleaning products recommended in this article can be found at your local hardware or car accessories store.

Cleaning the lock exterior

Step 1
Damp wipe the surface with a sponge or cloth
If you need more cleaning power add a few drops of mild dish washing detergent to your cloth. Follow my rinsing the cloth clean of detergent and wiping the lock once more.

Step 2 Drying and shining

  • Wipe dry with a clean cloth and buff.

  • A little metal polish applied to the lock can add even more shine

Cleaning the door lock interior

Douse the interior of the lock with a good penetrating lubricant. *Q10 is a readily available commercial brand. Ordinary vegetable oil found in your kitchen will only clog the clock causing dust and grime to accumulate.
Step 1

Hold an absorbent paper towel underneath the lock to catch excess overflow lubricant

Step 2

Flush out grime and dirt by spraying the lubricant into the keyhole for at least 10 seconds.

How to clean a lock that has seized or no longer works

Step 1
Take the lock apart

Step 2
Wash the interior of the lock with a degreaser; follow directions of the product carefully.

Step 3
Lubricate all parts with a good multipurpose lubricant.

Do you have a stubborn deadbolt that is hard to turn? Try this trick -

A little graphite sourced from your local hardware store can be inserted into the keyhole to loosen the deadbolt.

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