What should you do if you find that your lock begins to feel “sticky” or simply doesn’t seem to work as fluidly? There are a lot of home remedies that friends and family recommend; some will say that pouring very soapy water over the lock will work, others will say to coat the key in olive oil, and yet others will say that some WD40 will cure all lock ills. However, what a professional locksmith will say is that all of the above methods will not only make the lock stick even more over the long run; they’ll sooner or later destroy the lock.
First of all, “washing” out a lock with soapy water might be one of the worst things a person can do to a lock. While it might get rid of the accumulated dirt and grime that’s been making the lock mechanism stick, it also gets rid of all the lubrication; everything will seize up. Do not use soap and water!
WD40, olive oil and any other type of oily lubricant should also be avoided; this is because these types of lubricants actually attracted mechanism-clogging dirt and grime. While at first the lock may work well after these oils have been used, in a few days the problem will simply become even worse.
According to locksmiths, if you’ve got a sticky lock, what you want to do first is make sure that the bolt fits into the frame properly. It’s possible that the lock wasn’t properly installed. If that doesn’t seem to be the problem, a sticky lock can then easily be fixed with a graphite lubricant.
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What makes graphite lubricant different than its oily counterparts is that it is a dry lubricant consisting of powdered graphite. With a dry lubricant, no dirt particles attach to the lock’s mechanisms; everything stays clean. Powdered graphite lubricant is available in most hardware stores, and usually one or two sprays directed inside the keyhole of the lock will be sufficient to get the lock working smoothly again.
If your lock is still sticky, make sure that your key is straight and not bent. A key that is slightly bent can sometimes make the lock feel like it’s not working properly. If you still have problems with your lock, call a locksmith who will be able to solve the issue for you.