12 Ways to Lock a Door Without a Key

There are so many different situations where you may need to lock a door, but you do not have a key. So what do you do if you do not have a key (or even a lock for that matter)?

How to lock a door without a key? To lock a door without a key, you can use a portable door lock, a floor-mounted door lock, a latch, or a security bar. Alternatively, other DIY methods can be used to lock a door without a key like using a screwdriver, a modified fork, or even a strap or a belt.

Lock a Door Without a Key

Before we start, keep in mind that not all of these will provide the same level of security.

Many of these methods and techniques for locking a door without a key are suitable for providing some much-needed privacy, but will not be burglar-proof. Not locking your door the way it was meant to be locked may pose some serious safety hazards as thieves may be able to open the door.

However, if you are in a pinch, these methods may be just what you need.

Ways to Lock a Door Without a Key

To lock a door without a key, use one or several of the following methods.

Use a Door Stopper

Use a Door Stopper

If you haven’t tried it before, you will be amazed at how difficult and straight out impossible it may be to open a door that has been secured with a door stopper.

Some of the best door stoppers are made of rubber, like this one on Amazon. Rubber does not slide because it creates a lot of friction and will keep the door shut tight until the wedge is removed.

One thing is worth mentioning here. If you will be using a door stopper, or any kind of a wedge, make sure that it is not accessible from the other side of the door as somebody may be able to push it away.


Use a Portable Door Lock

Portable Door Lock

I know the fork method (which I talk about more later in this article) may seem a little too complicated, especially if you are not very handy. Fret not; there is another solution.

This door lock by Addalock (link to Amazon) is based on the same principle the fork method is. It is a very straightforward way to secure a door without a lock or a key.

Alternatively, there are some great traveler’s security locks like this one from TSL on Amazon.


Door Lever Lock

Door Lever Lock

Technically, a person may not be able to get in if they cannot push down on the door handle, this is why a door lever lock like this one on Amazon can be a nifty way to lock and secure your door.


Use a Door Security Bar

Door Security Bar

Use a door security bar like this one on Amazon. This door security bar works the same way people block doors with a chair. It is made from heavy-duty steel that can withstand a lot of pressure. The rubberized foot will ensure the bar will stay in place.

The best part is that you do not need any tools whatsoever, and when you don’t need it, it can be stored anywhere, as it doesn’t take a lot of space.


Use a Floor Mounted Lock

Floor Mounted Lock

Now let me present to you another great way to secure and lock your door without a key—the OnGUARD floor-mounted lock (link to Amazon).

This simple gadget will give anyone a hard time getting inside your home. This lock is very easy to install, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. It can resist up to 3,000 pounds of force;

In fact, the chances are the door will break before the lock.  Just take a look at this demonstration video.


Use a Bolt Lock or a Door Latch

Use a Bolt Lock or a Door Latch

People have been using door latches to secure their doors for years. These little gadgets are inexpensive, easy to install, and very effective.

A good quality door latch can be found on Amazon here.


DIY Methods to Lock a Door Without a Key

So far, we have explored the best gadgets that have been designed to lock or keep a door locked.

Below I share with you the best DIY ways to lock a door without a key.


Put a Chair Under the Door Handle

This is as simple as it gets. But just because it is a simple method that doesn’t mean it does not work. It does. And in fact, it works even easier to pull off today if you have a chair with adjustable height.


Use a Fork to Lock the Door

Did you know that you can actually lock a door using a fork? Well, you can, but there are a few things that you need to do first.

  1. Use a fork that has about 1-3/4 and 2″ long prongs.
  2. Measure the depth of the latch hole and bend the prongs accordingly.
  3. Use a vice or pliers to bend the prongs at 90 degrees.
  4. Use pliers or a hacksaw to cut the handle of the fork.
  5. Insert the bent part of the prongs into the latch hole.
  6. Close the door.
  7. Insert the handle of the fork through the gap between the prongs.

You will find that this is an excellent way to lock a door without a key and will prevent anyone from barging into your room


Use a Belt or a Strap to Lock the Door

If there is a hook on the door, you can make good use of it.

  1. Hop a belt, a strap, or a string over the hook.
  2. Stretch it down and over the door handle.

The belt will create resistance, and nobody will be able to push down on the handle.

If you are trying to secure a door that has these automated door closing arms, you can clamp them down using a strap or a belt. All you have to do is wrap the strap around the closing arm as tightly as you can.

What will happen is if somebody tries to enter through the door, the door may give just a little, but it will not open.


Use Pennies to Lock the Door

This is an old, but very effective, college dorm prank that we used to do.

  1. Stack between four to six pennies and use tape to wrap them and keep them together. Make two stacks of pennies that way.
  2. Close the door. Insert the first stack above the door handle between the door and the frame and slide it down as far as you can. The second stack goes the same way but beneath the door handle. Slide it up as far as you can.

This method can be used to prevent the door from unlocking as the pennies will bend the door. However, it may cause more problems than solutions.


Make an Improvised Barricade

I know it is a very simple method, but one worth mentioning for the sake of making sure this list is complete.

An improvised barricade can come in handy when you want to keep a door closed, but you don’t have a key or a lock. This is probably the most straightforward method to achieve that.

Just find a few heavy objects—ideally, the heaviest pieces of furniture in your home—and pile them in front of the door.


Use a Screwdriver

Depending on the type of door handle you have, this method can be very practical, and all it takes is a few seconds to fully set up.

All you need is a standard screwdriver.

Just take a look at this quick video.


Will Removing the Door Knob/Handle Lock the Door?

Oftentimes I hear that if you remove the doorknob or handle, you will be able to keep the door locked. However, depending on the design of the locking mechanism, this may not work.

Certain doors can be opened even without the door handle on them, so removing the door handle or knob will not necessarily keep a door locked.


How to Lock Double Doors Without a Key?

Lock Double Doors Without a Key

It may be a little trickier to lock without a key, but it is certainly not impossible.

The right gadget will depend on the design of the door handles. In certain cases, a simple cabinet lock like this one can do the job. Alternatively, you can use a bike U-lock or a standard chain and lock. (All of which can be found on Amazon by following the links.)


How to Lock a Door Without a Key If You Are Leaving Your Home

This method may not work for everyone, as you will need to use the deadbolt on the door to lock the door from the outside.

To be able to do this, you need to do the following:

  1. Secure a pen or a pencil on to the deadbolt while it is in the locked position. (Alternatively, tape can also be used.)
  2. Attach a string to the pencil and run it across and over the door.
  3. When you are outside, just pull on the string until the deadbolt is locked.

Keep in mind that you will not be able to enter the house without a key once you lock the door. This is a useful solution for guests or other people that may need to leave the house but do not have a key with them.


How to Lock an Outwards Swinging Door Without a Key


So far, we have explored how to lock a standard inwards swinging doors (mostly when you are inside the room).

But you and I both know not all doors swing inwards. Some doors swing outwards, which you may also want to lock and secure without a key.

This is where things can get a little tricky as there are not many products offering a solution.

The good news is that this security bar found on Amazon may be precisely what you need as it has been designed for outwards swinging doors. It works as advertised, and once installed, it will keep the door shut. 

Also, make sure to read our definitive guide on Outward Swinging Door Security.

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Edward Clark
Edward Clark, with 15 years of hands-on experience, is a distinguished expert in smart locks and home security systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a focus on Cybersecurity and is a member of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). His credentials include certifications from ASIS International, IAPP, CompTIA, NTS, and CEDIA. With expertise spanning risk management, electronic security, and data privacy, he's been featured in The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, and more. Edward's mission: guiding individuals toward secure homes using the latest technologies.

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