My laundry room door knob locked up yesterday and the door can't be opened. A thorough search revealed no screws, latches or any discernible way to remove the knob. I got the door knob off with pliers and can now see that the screws are on the other side. I've tried pounding them out with a screwdriver and hammer, but no luck.

Any way to remove the knob, trip the latch, or unscrew the screws from the opposite side?

Thanks for any advice!

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  • 1
    Can you access the hinge pins? Pulling the pins may allow the door to be removed and then you can unscrew the knob.
    – Ed Beal
    May 15, 2019 at 13:58
  • 1
    Hi-- thank you I just added a photo. I also took the hinge pins out, but the lock is stuck so I can't get in that way. The door knob was turning, but the lock wasn't releasing. P.S. It wasn't mis-aligned before. I got a little overzealous with the pliers.
    – Nicole
    May 15, 2019 at 14:02
  • 1
    Have you tried threading a cord over the top of the latch, letting it fall over the latch, then grabbing the bottom part of the cord, (thus wrapping it around the latch), then pulling? May 15, 2019 at 20:43
  • Do you have access to the door hinge? Might be simpler to take the whole door off. Unscrew the hinge screws. If the screws are not accessible (usually the case with a closed door) you can use a small screwdriver and a hammer to tap out the hinge pin. Once out the door should just slide off the hinges. Plenty of youtube videos of this being done.
    – Sam
    May 16, 2019 at 2:24

2 Answers 2


You should be able to trip the latch, if you can see what you say you see - there should be something coming from the latch side which can be pulled or manipulated (often rotated, as that's what the knob would do) to do that.

If the hardware is really fouled up, a slim prybar next to the latch between the door and frame will often find enough flex in the framing to free it up, or allow you to pop the latch with a butterknife or the like, without major damage.

When you pass the point of caring about damage, the prybar nearly always works, or opens the way for the less slim one that does.

As you have the hinge pins out, beware of the door falling over when it gets freed up.

  • By trip the latch, do you mean release the lock? That would solve it, but I'm not sure how to do it.
    – Nicole
    May 15, 2019 at 14:10
  • Get in there with a (flat bladed) screwdriver and experiment.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 15, 2019 at 14:15
  • 1
    Do the twist. I see a sort of oval-hole in a brass-colored part that's about where the knob-shaft should be, try twisting that, and/or pulling it to the right. I've edited for "if all else fails" with the lock hardware above.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 15, 2019 at 14:21
  • 3
    The pry-bar worked! Thank you so much! The additional information was really helpful too, thanks!
    – Nicole
    May 15, 2019 at 15:38
  • 1
    This type of latch can usually be opened with the "credit card trick", too. With that much of a gap between the door and the frame, it should be pretty easy. I've even seen where the "oval" inside the lock has somehow separated from the latch, preventing the latch from working at all. May 15, 2019 at 20:21

I see bits in there that you should be able to catch with a screwdriver and slide to the right.

Next time, use a passage lockset intended for closets (which has no locking feature at all) or a privacy lockset intended for bathrooms (which is unlocked with a simple hole in the center of the knob that you jab with a skewer).

  • 5
    "Laundry room" doesn't necessarily imply that the door to said room is actually inside the house. I wouldn't want my $2000 laundry set guarded by bathroom doorknob if the door to that room was outside my house.
    – Kenneth K.
    May 15, 2019 at 18:09
  • @KennethK. Then they would have just entered the house through another door, and had easy access to the screw side. What you're proposing is a room that's part of a house, but the only entry to the room is from outside the house. That makes no sense; houses aren't built like that. Of course it's an interior room. May 16, 2019 at 3:14
  • @Harper A number of older houses were built like that, actually, to protect against fire damage - the kitchens were built detached, so if something caught fire, the kitchen would be destroyed, but the rest of the house would be fine.
    – nick012000
    May 16, 2019 at 5:23
  • What you're proposing is a room that's part of a house, but the only entry to the room is from outside the house - as crazy as it sounds, we had a laundry room which was exactly that. External entry to a single (locakable) room under the same roof that opened onto the same landing as the back door. It was an older home without adequate ventilation, so we'd leave the door open when running the drier.
    – pcdev
    May 16, 2019 at 5:24

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