Locks on a door are there to keep you and your valuables safe. So, what happens when the lock on your door is damaged? Maybe you forgot your keys in the office and had to break into your house for the night? In these scenarios, you’ll definitely want an alternative way to keep your doors locked until the next day, at the very least.

If you want to lock a door without a key, the easiest option is to remove the door handle or knob with a screwdriver. Alternative methods include using a portable door lock, using a barricade or jammer to block the door, or tying multiple door handles together.

The rest of the article will cover the points above in more detail. With how easy it is to pick locks these days, you’ll probably end up using some of these tips even when you have keys to lock your door.

No Key, No Lock: How to Keep Your Doors Locked?

1. Remove the Door Handle or Knob With a Screwdriver

The door handle or knob plays an integral role when it comes to unlocking a door since you have to twist it. Removing it from the door after you’ve closed it is a sure way to make it super difficult for anyone to come in.

You’ll need a screwdriver that matches the screws on the knob/handle. Don’t forget to remove the handles from both sides and also remove the central rod. This approach, however, means you’ll need to have another exit open in the case of an emergency. If you don’t have an emergency exit, choose any of the other options below.

2. Use a Portable Door Lock

Portable door locks are designed to be attached to doors as a temporary solution, and you can set most of them up in minutes. Some of the most popular types of portable door locks you should consider include:


This portable door lock is installed on the handle of the door to make it unmovable. It is affordable and can fit in a bag, in case you are going to a hotel or to an Airbnb property and want an extra level of security that has nothing to do with the existing door lock.

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You won’t have to make any permanent changes to the door either. It can’t work as a permanent solution for locking your door as a standalone, but you can count on it when you don’t have a key or in the event of an emergency with your lock.

Traveller’s Security Lock

This Traveller’s Security Lock is one of the most powerful portable locks you can find today. You can trust it to withstand a kick to the door. However, this doesn’t take anything away from its portability or ease-of-installation.

It is installed between the door and the door frame, so you’ll need to confirm that your door configuration will support it.

The Door Bull

This portable door lock is similar to the one above, as it has to be installed on the door and the door frame. The distribution of force between the door and the door frame makes forceful break-ins difficult. The installation process is straightforward, as well.

With any of these options, you have to keep in mind that they can only be used on doors that open to the inside.

3. Use a Barricade or a Jammer to Block the Door

With this option, you have to block the door from the inside of the room. Using a barricade or jammer for doors that swing to the outside is counterproductive because an intruder will just get them out of the way. So, what type of door barricades and jammers can you use?

Household Items

If you have heavy furniture, you can move them to the door. Your sofa, bed, or heavy coffee table are some examples of furniture you can use. If you can’t lift these or push them to the door, you can line heavy bricks or dumbbells behind the door. You can also push a proper-sized chair under the doorknob or handle to make it hard to open. Here’s a tutorial.

Everyday items like folds of fabric or old shoes can also do a job if your door can allow them to fit under as a wedge.

If you don’t have any of these at your disposal, or the solution is impractical based on your circumstance, you can consider the other alternatives below.

A Security Bar

A door security bar is a super-versatile solution for locking your door without a key. You can use it to jam the handle or doorknob from the inside when you want to lock inward opening doors without a key. If you want to lock a sliding door, place the security bar horizontally. Most security bars can be increased or decreased to cover the width of the door. Some good security bar options include this Master Lock bar or the Securityman 2-in-1.

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Steel Door Brace

The steel door brace is small but highly durable steel equipment that can be installed on the floor just behind the door. It will withstand any attempts from the outside to open the door. Models like the OnGuard Brace can withstand up to 300 lbs (136kg) of force, which means it can withstand kicks from an adult.

To use these devices, you have to install a stationary part permanently to the floor, and then use the removable part when you are ready to lock the door. The stationary part has to be screwed to the floor. This means that this option is only really practical in your property or anywhere you’ll be allowed to drive a screw into the floor. However, the installation process is straightforward and can be completed in less than five minutes.

4. Tie Multiple Door Handles Together

Do you want to lock double doors without a key? Get a piece of rope and tie the door handles together. A chain with a padlock or a security cable can also do the job, depending on your door type.

If you want to use a rope, ensure it is tied in such a way that a push from the outside will not be enough to make it snap.

Now, you’ve seen how to lock a door that opens inwardly without a key. How about when you want to lock a door that opens to the outside? Think about when a lock emergency happens on your way to work. A barricade from the inside is pointless. You need to make it difficult for an intruder to gain entrance from the outside.

Now, here’s what to do when you need to lock a door that opens outwardly without a key…

5. Jam the Door Handle or Knob

You can do this with a security bar or a similar object that extends beyond both sides of the door. This will make it difficult for the handle to be pulled from the outside. This Exit Security bar is a good example you can use. Remember, this approach won’t work if the door is too wide.

6. Tie the Door Handle to a Heavy Object on the Inside

This is another way to prevent a door from being opened from the outside. If you tie a strong rope tightly to an immovable object on the inside, the heaviness of the object will make the door difficult to pull open. However, this approach can also prevent you from leaving the room comfortably. You should perhaps only use this option when you’ve got another exit.

Additional Tips for Securing Your Doors

On their own, all of the solutions covered above can work best as temporary measures. For more robust security, consider getting a proper lock for your door. A door that swings outwardly, for example, can be easily removed if the hinges are exposed from the outside. Doors that open inwards are not completely immune from being kicked down either. So, get your door security sorted properly as soon as you can.

You can also use a door wedge with an alarm to secure a door without a lock. It doesn’t technically lock the door, but an intruder will most likely run off if they are surprised by a really loud alarm while trying to break in. This Aushen Door Stop is a good example of a doorstop with an alarm.

If you can’t use any of the solutions covered thus far in this article, you should consider installing a wireless alarm on the door you’d like to lock without a key. Of course, an alarm won’t lock the door, but once someone comes in, you’ll know. Some excellent options include the Toeeson 120DB Pool Alarm and Fosmon WaveLink 51007HOM.


As you’ve seen above, it is possible to lock a door without a key. Use the options that are best for your specific situation. If you choose to buy hardware to solve the problem, read reviews to make the best decision. Remember, if you are trying to keep a door locked permanently, it is best to get a new set of keys.

Related post: Where to Keep Your Keys at Home

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