I came home today and discovered the push button on the front screen door was frozen solid and it wouldn't move even with brute strength banging. I thought, no problem, I'll just go to the back door, but that button was frozen too! I had to ring the doorbell to get my wife to let me in.

Is there any way to reduce the chances of this happening again? WD40? Start carrying a lighter just in case? Or should I plan on replacing the latches? They are over 30 years old.

It is cold, snowy, and windy today, but nothing we don't get most winters. Occasionally one door might get "sticky" in cold weather, but I've never been locked out before.

Photo of screen door handle with push button

4 Answers 4


I've dealt with this in the past by disassembling the latch hardware, cleaning it, greasing appropriate points, then reassembling it. The latch is freezing because water in it is freezing. You need to make certain there's as little water in the latch as possible, and that any water in there and frozen is not able to interfere with the operation. Grease is great for that, because where grease is, water isn't.


You can try spraying the mechanism with lock de-icer, which is basically an antifreeze. Or with wd40 which will partly act as a water repellant.

But machinery which gets soaked in winter does tend to freeze. So you might consider ways to protect that latch from storms. Even if it is called a storm door.


We use a graphite compound sold for automotive locks, it works great and is not expensive. Try it it is not expensive and you probably can get it and put some in less time then it takes to disassemble it, clean it, and reassemble it. Make a note in the summer to clean and lubricate the locks.


The padlocks on our shed freeze shut sometimes too. I've found that pouring some rubbing alcohol on them often helps free them up. It's cheap. Also, a hair dryer can thaw it out pretty quickly and remove much of the water.

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