Locks have been around for thousands of years – literally. The first locks were pin tumbler locks used extensively in Ancient Egypt as far back as 4000 years ago!
But what do you do if your door lock fails? How are you going to get a good night’s sleep while waiting for the locksmith to arrive in the morning?
Maybe you are faced with a situation that calls for you to quickly lock yourself in a room and the lock is broken or you can’t find the key, how can you make sure that your door is secure without a lock?
There are plenty of simple ways you can make a temporary lock for your door out of regular household items – be it a front door, bedroom door, or bathroom door. There are even some ways that are more permanent solutions that don’t use the traditional key lock method.
We are going to show you some of the ways that you can lock your door without a lock!
Doorstop / Door Wedge
Usually, a doorstop is used to stop doors from closing. However, if you place it behind a door that opens inwards, then this simple solution will stop the door from being opened. Of course, it won’t work on doors that open outwards. Also, if a large enough amount of force is used on the door, an intruder could still get through. If you are going to use door wedges to temporarily secure your door, you might want to think about adding something else, like a door barricade, to increase your security.
There are various ways that you could barricade your door.
A sturdy chair is a good option to secure your door. Wedge the top of the chair under the door handle. Make sure the feet are secure on the floor and aren’t going to slip. The pressure created by the chair between the floor and the door will prevent the door from being opened.
This method works on doors where the handle turns downwards. If the handle turns up on your door, then this won’t work for you.
- Putting something heavy in front of the door
This could probably be a bit labor intensive, but if you have some heavy furniture in your room and you’re not looking to have to leave your room for a fair amount of time, or if it’s an emergency situation, then this is a very effective method of securing your door without a lock. Chest of drawers, fridges, couches, beds, all make good barricades.
If you aren’t keen on the idea of hauling heavy furniture around to keep your door shut, then there are various barricade devices that you can buy from a store. People often buy these as additional security devices to increase the security of their doors. These barricades are often screwed to the floor and are kick-resistant. We’ll take a look at a few of these a little later on.
Tying it up!
An easy way to secure a lever-handled door is to use a belt or a piece of rope. One end of the rope is attached to the door handle. The other end is attached to an immovable object. If your door handle can open when moved both up and down, you will need to use two ropes – attach one up high and the other down low.
Sliding doors can also be secured using a belt of rope. Prevent the double doors from being pulled apart by wrapping both handles together.
If the door you are trying to secure has a door hinge, tie the rope or belt around the hinge to prevent it from working.
These devices are very useful if you are renting accommodation or if you are traveling to different hotels, motels, or guesthouses.
A portable lock is designed to be transportable, easy to use, and easy to remove. They are typically made up of a “claw” that fits over the latch or bolt on the door, and a lock. The lock fits in the claw to stop the door from opening.
Portable door locks are useful for inward opening doors but are ineffective on doors that open outwards.
Essentially working like a barricade, safety bars provide protection against someone trying to kick down your door or ram it with their shoulder. Bear in mind that while they are great for inwardly opening doors, they are useless for outward-opening doors.
A security bar consists of two brackets that are attached to the wall or the door frame. A sturdy metal bar sits in the brackets and blocks the full width of the door.
If you need to use the door it is easy to remove the security bar by lifting it out of the brackets.
You can get bars that are quite compact and work great as a traveler’s security lock.
Raid the Cutlery Drawer
The humble dinner fork is a great temporary lock for an inwardly opening door.
To use it as a lock, bend the tines (the teeth) of the fork so that the tips of the teeth fit into the latch and the rest remains in the gap between the frame and the closed door. Open the door, remove the fork and break off the fork handle. Now, place the head of the fork back into the latch just like before and close the door. The last step is to slide the fork handle through the teeth of the fork. This creates a horizontal barrier and will stop the door from opening.
Door jammers are similar to a bar used for door security but instead of lying horizontally across the width of the door, a door jammer stands vertically at an angle. The claw of the jammer is attached to the door handle or bolt, and a padded foot sits flat on the floor to prevent the jammer from sliding.
Removing the Door Handle
This will certainly present a serious challenge to an intruder but it’s not the best option for securing your door.
With a bit of time and effort, someone with the right tools can get the door mechanism to turn regardless of there being no handle.
If you have some duct tape available – and a broom, of course – you can tape the broom handle at right angles to the door frame so that it lies across the full width of the door. Tie the handle to the doorknob. This acts as a makeshift security bar and will hold the door closed.
Doorknob Lock-Out Device
If you want to secure your lockless door from the outside, this simple tool is one way to go.
A doorknob lock-out device stops the doorknob from being able to turn. The device comes with a key. This key locks and unlocks the device. Bear in mind that the key is not unique so anyone who owns the same model of device as you will be able to use their key to unlock your device.
There is no installation required. All you do is place the lock-out device over the doorknob and then lock it.
As the name suggests, it only works on doors with knobs and not those with handles.
This portable security gadget is used on the outside of a door and is best used on internal doors. It’s not easy to find in stores but you can buy it online.
There are two different types of X-Lock:
- Locking knob – this is easier to use than the padlock
The X-Lock works like this…
On leaving the room you wish to secure, you slide on part of the lock under the door (like a wedge). The other part, the one with the locking knob, goes on the outside of the door – this part gets locked with a key. This key is included with the purchase of the X-Lock device.
Basically, what this gadget does is allows you to position a door wedge on the inside of a door while you are on the outside. It can be used on hardwood, tiled, or carpeted floors.
This is quite an affordable option, but it does have a few disadvantages. It’s a bit unwieldy to use and although it’s portable it’s actually quite big so you might not want to lug it around with you on your travels.
Strike Plate Locks
This is a small device that is mounted to a door frame where the strike plate is attached. It works pretty much like a door chain, but a strike plate lock uses a metal loop slipped over the door handle to stop the door from opening.
Maybe a little ungainly, certainly not exactly aesthetic, or high-tech, a padlock fitted to your door certainly does the trick.
A little installation is obviously needed for this, and you will require a drill, screws, padlock hasp, and a screwdriver. If you are a fairly competent DIYer, the process shouldn’t take more than half an hour.
If you are renting you will need to get permission to do this as it will cause modification of the door.
If you want to get a bit fancy, you can replace your broken lock with a keypad door lock. There are a lot of these types of products out there. There are even Smart Locks. The greatest success seems to come from installing a Keypad Doorknob Lock.
Installation is not difficult and doesn’t take too long. Replace the door knob with the keypad. That’s all it takes.
Be aware that these doorknobs operate with a battery. Take care to note when the battery is running low, or you might be locked out of your own house! Some models come with a code and a key – chose this option to prevent being locked out if the battery dies.
These locks are connected to a keypad and are a pretty stylish alternative way of securing your door.
They are a little expensive and you will need some time and DIY experience when installing them. As with the keypad doorknob, you want to make sure that the door can be operated if the lock happens to fail.
This device works much like a combination deadbolt but while a deadbolt is low-tech this is definitely high-tech!
These locks are great if you have impaired sight as the touch keypad is voice guided.
These locks can be used on external doors as all the components are weather-resistant.
Last Things Last
There are a ton of options to secure your door without a permanent traditional locking mechanism. Whether you find items around the room to use to secure it, or whether you find something at the store, you can find a way to feel safer in your home or on your travels.
No need to worry about that nosy roommate anymore. The landlady that is possibly a bit too ready to use her master key…… problem solved! And unwanted intruders….. a thing of the past!
No matter if your lock is old, broken, or non-existent, you CAN secure your door without a lock.