How To Open Locked Door With A Hole In The Knob?

Did your bathroom door get locked from the inside, and do you want to know how to open it from the outside doorknob that has a hole in the middle? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

If your door has a push button lock inside and a hole on the doorknob outside, you can open it by inserting a straight wire into the hole and pushing it when it reaches the end.

Let’s talk more about this type of doorknob lock in the succeeding sections. Learn about the other type of lock that has a hole in the knob in the section below.

Read on!

Living room through the open door, How To Open Locked Door With A Hole In The Knob?

What is a privacy door lock?

A privacy door lock, or a privacy lock, is a type of lock that you can install inside your house where security is not a necessity, but privacy might be important. You can install them in rooms like the bedroom or bathroom to give the occupants a way to have privacy.

Simple door lock

You can find privacy locks on doorknobs or door levers. There are different locking and unlocking mechanisms for the different privacy locks.

A privacy lock and an entrance lock have one thing in common—you can lock them from the inside.

An entrance lock, by the way, is the type of lock that you install on exterior doors. Once you lock them from the inside, you can only open them from the outside using a unique key that is made specifically for that door.

A privacy lock, on the other hand, doesn’t need a key to unlock. It has an emergency entry mechanism that will let you unlock it. This is the small hole that you see on your doorknob.

However, the emergency entry hole will not always be in the center of the doorknob. So, look for that emergency entry mechanism elsewhere on the door lock assembly if you don’t see it on the doorknob. You can expect it to be somewhere else if you have a door lever instead of a doorknob.

What are the different types of privacy locks?

We’ll look more closely at the three different types of privacy locks in the succeeding sections. Lock manufacturers can combine these types with different door mechanisms that can make a door lock look different, but the basic design will still fall under these three types.

Turn Button Privacy Lock

Silver iron doorknob in a closed wood door

The interior lock looks the same as a normal turn button lock. You turn the lock with your thumb and a finger to lock or unlock it from the inside.

This locking mechanism can be found in doorknobs or door levers.

The outside doorknob has a hole in the center. This hole is the emergency entry hole.

Push Pin Or Push Button Lock

Door knob

This type can be found on doorknobs or door levers. The location of the button on the doorknobs is always at the center of the knob. On door levers, the button or pin can be anywhere on the lock.

This type of privacy lock features a panic release mechanism. This mechanism allows you to release the lock by turning the knob or handle from inside.

From the outside, there is a similar emergency entry hole. The entry hole is commonly found at the center of the doorknob.

Door lever models have an emergency entry hole anywhere in the rosette area. This can be challenging to access if the lever handle extends to cover part or the entire emergency entry hole. In this case, you will need a special tool to unlock the door from the outside.

Privacy Bolt Lock

Chrome door handle

This is a newer type of privacy lock that can be found on doorknobs or door levers. The inside locking mechanism can be a turn button, a push button, or a small knob that locks the door like a deadbolt but doesn’t require a key to open from the outside.

The locking mechanism can be at the center of the doorknob, built into the door lever, or a separate mechanism from the door lever or doorknob.

It doesn’t have an emergency entry hole on the outside to unlock it. Instead, it has a small shallow groove on the outside.

The shallow groove can be in the middle of the doorknob, the door lever, or as a separate mechanism, just like the locking mechanism. The shallow groove is often directly opposite the locking mechanism inside.

How to open a privacy lock?

As mentioned earlier, the three main types of privacy locks can be mixed and matched with different door lock designs. This can make it tricky to find the emergency entry mechanism.

Here are the different ways to unlock the three privacy lock types.

Probrico Privacy Door Levers is available on Amazon through this link.

How to unlock a turn button privacy lock?

The turn button privacy lock is easy to identify because of the lock in the middle of the doorknob. The emergency entry hole is commonly present in the middle of the doorknob. If your door lock doesn’t have a doorknob, look for a small hole anywhere around the door lock outside the room.

Once you locate the hole, here are the steps to unlock it.

  1. Get a straight and rigid piece of cylindrical metal that will fit into the hole. A paperclip is fine after you stretch and straighten it. Make sure that it is straight.
  2. Insert the metal into the hole. Keep in mind that the metal should enter straight, or it will not reach the unlock mechanism. If it enters diagonally, it will only hit the hollow area inside and will fail to unlock the door.
  3. At the center of the hole is a small plate that releases the lock when you press it with the metal rod. If the metal is not rigid enough, it will bend instead of pressing the plate. If the metal rod doesn’t travel straight inside the hole, it can miss the plate. Once you release the lock, you can open the door as normal.

How to unlock a push-button privacy lock?

This type is also common among the privacy locks, almost more common than the turn button type. It is not unusual to see this type of privacy lock combined with the unlock mechanism of the turn button privacy lock. The exterior emergency entry hole of these two looks the same.

The locking mechanism of this type of lock is like the turn button type. It can be a doorknob or a door lever. It can also be a deadbolt type without the keyhole outside.

You might see locks that have a small pin somewhere on the lock assembly inside the door to lock it. The hole should be close to the area opposite the locking mechanism.

When you try to unlock it the first time, try to unlock it using the steps from the section “How to unlock a turn button privacy lock?”. If those steps don’t work, proceed with the steps below.

  1. Get a flathead screwdriver from a precision set or from a toolset that you use for fixing watches or eyeglasses.
  2. Insert the flathead into the hole straight into the center.
  3. Once you reach the end of the hole inside, rotate the screwdriver slowly and feel the inside surface until the tip of the screwdriver finds a small groove.
  4. Carefully insert the screwdriver into the groove and turn it. Try turning it clockwise at first. If it doesn’t work, turn it counterclockwise. The lock on the other side should turn and release the lock.
    • It is important to note that some turn button privacy locks can also use this unlock method. Thus, when you see a small hole in the middle, get ready with a thin metal rod or a small screwdriver.

Small Screwdriver Set is available on Amazon through this link.

How to unlock a privacy bolt lock?

Room door handle

This type of privacy lock is the newest of the three. And because it is new, you can find it in many different door locks that you wouldn’t find with the first two. Moreover, the simple design of this type makes it easier to unlock, in case you need to.

Here are the simple steps to unlock this privacy lock.

  1. Locate the small flat surface with a shallow groove. The groove looks like the groove on the battery holder cover of a Swatch watch. The difference between the two is that the groove that you’re looking for is not always on a circular surface. It can be on any surface. It can even be on a part that is separate from the doorknob or the door lever.
  2. Use a hard object like a coin that will fit into the groove to turn it. A screwdriver that is larger than what you use for the small unlock hole should fit. Whatever you plan to use to turn the unlock groove should be hard enough to turn it.
  3. Turn it clockwise first. If it doesn’t work, try to turn it in counterclockwise. Once you unlock the groove, you can open the door as normal.


A privacy lock doesn’t always have a hole in the doorknob, nor does it always use a doorknob. Knowing the type of privacy lock and how to open it will let you unlock any privacy lock.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read:

How To Fix A Door Lock Cylinder?

Pocket Doors: Pros & Cons [Considerations For Homeowners]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *