10 Ways to Lubricate a Lock

Mizuki Hisaka
Written by Mizuki Hisaka
Updated June 29, 2022
A man unlocks the front door of a house
Photo:Monkey Business/Adobe Stock

The key is the product you use

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Do you have a lock in your house or car that isn’t budging? Maybe your key won’t even go in the lock, or maybe you have to use excessive force to turn it. Before you accidentally break your key inside your lock, try one of these easy lubrication options to fix your problem.

1. Teflon Dry Lubricant

Teflon-based dry lubricant is preferred by some locksmiths over other options, like graphite or WD-40. It’s ideal because, besides lubricating your lock, it repels water and dust. That means that once you fix a lock with this type of lubricant, you can expect the lock to be in good shape for a long time.

2. Teflon Aerosol Lubricant

In addition to the dry version, you can get Teflon-based lubricant in aerosol form. You might find that this option is easier to apply. When you spray this into your lock, this product creates a thin coating inside the lock. The coating repels dirt, dust, and chemicals. It has no silicone and is a long-lasting solution.

3. Powdered Dry Graphite

Powdered graphite comes in small tubes. You can easily squeeze the product into the lock. After that, take your key and distribute the graphite—place the key in and out of the lock, and then turn the key to the right and left.

Dry graphite can work well, but if you live in a humid area, the moisture can turn the powder into a gunky substance. In these cases, it might be better to use a Teflon or silicone-based lubricant.

4. Graphited Lock Fluid

Graphite lubricant is also available in graphited fluid form. You apply the oil and the carrier solvent evaporates while leaving a graphited film inside the lock. It helps repel moisture so it’ll keep your locks from freezing. The film is also stable in extremely high temperatures. It’ll also keep rust away, and it has zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

5. Pencil

If you don’t want to buy a bottle of powdered graphite, you can use a run-of-the-mill pencil instead. It’s best to start with a sharpened pencil. Rub the point along the edge of your keys until it’s covered in a coat of graphite. Next, place the key in the lock. Repeat as many times as necessary until the key slides easily into the lock.

It’s not an ideal solution for the long-term, but if you don’t have time to run to the store to buy products, this is a decent temporary workaround.

6. WD-40 Specialist Lubricant

A view of gloved hands lubricating a lock
Photo: megaflopp/Adobe Stock

Although it might be tempting to reach for your regular can of WD-40 to lubricate your lock, it’s probably better if you don’t. Unfortunately, regular WD-40 attracts dust and dirt and dries up over time. This means that it won’t be long before your lock starts freezing up and not working correctly. Plus, the product can leave a greasy residue on your keys, which can easily transfer onto your clothing or bags.

Instead, opt for WD-40 Specialist lubricant. This repels dust and dirt and you can safely use it on any type of lock, including the 10 most common door lock types.

7. De-Icer and Lubricant

If you live in an extremely cold area, consider de-icer and lubricant combos. It’s great if your car or house lock is iced over because it’ll de-ice and lube it at the same time. Usually, these are pressurized aerosol products so all you have to do is spray it directly into the lock. Typically, using the de-icer and lubricant once should be enough to keep your locks from freezing again for some time.

8. Non-Toxic Mineral-Based Lubricant

If you’re sensitive to chemical products, consider a non-toxic, mineral-based lubricant. These repel dirt and dust and also have rust inhibitors to help your locks last longer. They can also prevent your locks from freezing.

9. Synthetic Oil with Syncolon (PTFE)

Synthetic lubrication oils with tiny Syncolon (PTFE) powder are another option for your stubborn locks. The solvent in the oil carries the dry powder. So once you apply it to your lock, the solvent dries quickly, leaving the powder behind. The layer of PTFE offers the lubrication you need for your locks, and it doesn’t attract dust.

10. Proprietary Lubricant

Some companies produce lock lubricants with a proprietary blend. Although they keep the contents a secret, it’s known to be a “proprietary blend of base oils and solvents.” It seems to be a powerful solution, especially for super old and rusted locks.

If you’re having a hard time fixing your lock even after applying lubricant, call a locksmith near you to get professional help. And if you’re getting tired of dealing with the traditional key and lock, consider the advantages and vulnerabilities of electronic locks.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.