Your door lock should keep intruders out, but it should never be so hard to use that it keeps you out! Brand new and older door locks need to be lubricated regularly to run smoothly, and not just any grease will stand up to the task. You will need to use lubes made just for door locks.
The best lubricants for door locks are dry PTFE lubes like Tri-Flow TF20025 Industrial Lubricant (available on Amazon). This lube protects your locks from water, grease, and debris for years with one application. It also comes in a spray can that makes using it simple.
There are plenty of other lubricants that will keep your door locks in tip-top shape, though. Below are some of the best door lock lubes on the market, and are ideal if…
- You want a product that you can also use on materials other than locks, choose WD-40’s Specialist Quick-Drying Silicone Lube.
- Your lock is corroded or needs a deep cleaning, go with Houdini Lock Lube.
- You want the least messy option, choose 3-in-One Lock Dry Lube.
- Your key sticks in your lock often, try Super Lube 11016 Aerosols Dri-Film.
- You choose to go with a graphite lube or live in a cold environment, try AGS LE4 Lock-Ease Graphited Lock Fluid.
So, let’s talk more about what makes a door lock lubricant good and what could make one unsuitable. I’ll guide you through all of the particulars you should look for in a door lock lube and let you know about some of the best lubricants on the market. I’ll also teach you how to lube your lock.
What to Look For in a Door Lock Lubricant
Finding the right lube for your door locks can help you keep them in working order for years to come. However, all door locks are prone to sticking if you use the wrong type of lube.
When you are shopping for a door lock lubricant, you should look for:
- Dry Lube
- Teflon or PTFE-based Lubes
- A spray can, preferably with a small straw-like applicator
Now, let’s talk about why lubricants that fit these criteria are the best for your door locks so you can find the best product for you.
Many people turn to wet or grease-based lubricants, such as a standard can of WD-40, to grease their locks. Wet lubes will remove corrosion from your door lock and make it work more smoothly at first, but soon after application, your lock will get stuck again, sometimes worse than before.
That’s because wet lubes attract dust and dirt, which can easily cake inside your door lock’s tiny interlocking parts. This debris can jam your locks, and it’s challenging to get the dust out once the lock gets gummed up.
So, ultimately, wet or grease-based lubes will often make your lock stick more than it already does.
To avoid inviting buildup into your lock, go for a dry lube.
Door locks usually need dry lube to keep dust, dirt, and other debris from gunking up the lock mechanisms. The most popular dry lubes are made from graphite or polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon), although there are several different types of dry lubricants.
All of these materials grasp onto the metal mechanisms in your door locks, creating a crystalline or plastic-like film that adds slickness. They also have a dry finish, making them less sticky than wet lubricants. This clear, dry coating serves as a barrier between your lock and any dirt that might get stuck inside it, actively repelling dust and grime.
Nowadays, most people use either graphite or Teflon dry lubes, which are more reliable, affordable, and readily available. They’re also more durable than the other options.
So, overall, to avoid sticking, stick with dry lube, and your locks will stay grease and grime-free!
When it comes to the type of dry lube you use, ditching graphite for a more modern solution is the way to go. Generally, most locksmiths and lock specialists recommend PTFE lubricants for door locks.
Teflon, also known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or silicone lube, is a fluoropolymer. Essentially, that means that it is a type of plastic with high heat resistance and durability. This material has many advantages over graphite.
Graphite is a more historical lubricant type, while Teflon and other synthetic lubricants were only developed in the last 100 years.
Graphite works well, but not nearly as well as Teflon lubricants. That’s because of how graphite reacts with other lube types. When you put too much graphite in a pre-greased lock or put wet lube over graphite, the powder will harden and become a crust. This graphite crust can easily jam your locks.
On the other hand, Teflon lubricants break down and replace greasy residue, cleaning your locks on contact while they lubricate them. So, no matter what condition your lock is in, Teflon will clear it up.
Graphite can also be very messy, and it could stain your pockets and clothes if you don’t wipe off your key every time you unlock the door. So, if you use a key for your door lock often, you should probably avoid graphite altogether.
However, PTFE lubricants don’t make a mess since they leave a dry finish. If you get any excess lube on you or your door, you can quickly and easily wipe it off with a dry towel, and it won’t leave a stain.
PTFE lubes work just like the black coating on Teflon pans– they create a matte, waterproof layer over your lock mechanisms. These lubes are easy to use and aren’t at risk of caking like wet and graphite lubricants.
PTFE will coat a variety of materials such as metal, vinyl, plastic, and rubber. In addition, PTFE, unlike other dry lubricant ingredients, is waterproof and grease-proof. That means that Teflon lubes will wick water, dust, and dirt away from your lock, keeping it clean, corrosion-free, and smooth-running for a longer time.
So, if you want your lock to move smoothly for as long as possible and want to avoid the messes involved with graphite, try a Teflon-based lubricant.
Applying lubricants to your door locks can be challenging since your lock cylinder contains many small parts that are hard to reach with the lube, especially if you don’t want to remove the lock from your door.
Trying to use a drip-tip or open container almost always results in messy floors or excess lube running down your doorframe, leaving stains or residue behind.
So, if you want to make lubricating your door locks simple, it would be best to purchase a spray-on lube. That way, you can apply it to all of the mechanisms inside your lock with just a few spritzes, and you won’t have to uninstall your lock in the process.
Lubricants packaged in aerosol cans often work the best, especially if they have a straw-like attachment that allows you to spray the lube deep into your lock cylinder. So, keep an eye out for products with small coffee-stirrer-sized straws attached to the can, and choose them.
So, now that you know what to look for, let’s talk about the best-rated, longest-lasting, and most reliable door lock lubricants available!
Best Door Lock Lubricants on the Market
1. Tri-Flow TF20025 Industrial Lubricant: Best Overall Lubricant
The Tri-flow Industrial Lubricant is one of the most popular locksmith’s lubes on the market, and most locksmiths use it when they are on the job. This popular and prized lube is easy to apply, and it is also unbelievably long-lasting.
This Dry PTFE lube, initially formulated for use on industrial machinery, will stand up to wear and tear for years to come, keeping your lock running smoothly and efficiently.
Since it’s durable and weatherproof, you won’t have to apply it as frequently as most other lubes. Usually, once a year will keep your lock working smoothly.
It also comes in a spray can with a straw that allows you to get the lube into your lock cylinder, ensuring that you get a thorough coat inside all of the most minute components of your locks in seconds.
See the price on Amazon: Tri-Flow TF20025 Industrial Lubricant
2. WD-40 Specialist Quick-Drying Silicone: Best Multi-Purpose Lubricant
Although a standard can of WD-40 will not do the trick when it comes to lubing your locks, WD-40’s Specialist Quick-Drying Silicone Lube is perfect for getting locks of all kinds back into good condition.
- Wd-40 Specialist Water Resistant Silicone Lubricant...
- Silicone Lubricant Provides A Protective, Waterproof...
- Our Quick-Drying Formula Cures Into A Clear,...
- Safe To Use On Metal, Rubber, Vinyl, And Plastic...
This WD-40 product coats your lock with a Teflon barrier, helping it repel water and grime. It also comes with a handy close-application straw that allows you to target the most stubborn, stickiest areas of your door locks.
In addition to being an excellent lock lube, this product also works on a broader range of other materials such as plastic, vinyl, and rubber. You can use it on pulleys, valves, sockets, and any other hardware joints in your home.
Keeping a can of this lube in your cabinet will keep you prepared for almost any DIY project that involves a sticky joint.
See the price on Amazon: WD-40 Specialist Quick-Drying Silicone
3. 3-in-One Lock Dry Lube: Best No-Mess Lube
3-in-One Lock Dry Lube works on almost any lock and practically any material, making it just as versatile as your locks can be. Whether you want to lube plastic, padlocks, door locks, or automotive locks, this product has you covered.
- Clear, quick-drying, premium lock lubricant to loosen...
- Easily reach into narrow lock mechanism with the...
- Dries clear to the touch within minutes and is safe to...
- Size is Ideal for Automotive, Marine, Home and...
It is remarkably clean-drying, making it perfect for people who want to protect their doors from lubricant stains.
It also won’t leave much debris on your key after you unlock your door, so you can pocket your key with confidence that you won’t stain your clothes, even just hours after applying the 3-in-One.
See the price on Amazon: 3-in-One Lock Dry Lube
4. Houdini Lock Lube: Best Lube for Corroded Locks
Houdini Lock Lube is another favorite among locksmiths and homeowners alike. It is one of the best lubes for dirty or corroded locks.
Houdini lube cleans as it penetrates the metal in your locks, breaking down corrosion, rust, and buildup from grease and dust.
Since it effectively clears stopped-up and gunky locks, it is perfect for anyone living in a humid or coastal environment where locks are more likely to start corroding only a few months after their first lubrication.
Houdini lock lube is also easy to wipe off, and it won’t leave grease or stains on any of your doors or floors if you accidentally spray too much in your lock.
See the price on Amazon: Houdini Lock Lube
5. Super Lube 11016 Aerosols Dri-Film: Best Lube for Sticky Keys
One of the driest of the dry lubes is Super Lube 11016 Aerosols Dri-Film, making it perfect for fixing keys that often get stuck in your lock mechanism.
- Food grade, USDA authorized/NSF listed H-1
- Resists acid
- Dries on contact
When your key gets stuck in your lock, you will need to lube the pins that move when you insert it. Targeting this area is simple, but if you use the wrong product, it will leave residue on your key.
With a wet grease or staining lube such as graphite, your key will pick up the lube every time you unlock your door. Once you remove the key, the graphite or oil will cover it in a greasy or dark black residue that could stain your pockets, purse, or fingers.
To avoid this residue, choose Super Lube! Super lube’s Dri-Film dries unbelievably clear and clean. If you get Super Lube residue on your fingers or fabrics, it will turn into a powder that you can wash off easily. So, for the cleanest solution, stick with this product.
See the price on Amazon: Super Lube 11016 Aerosols Dri-Film
6. AGS LE4 Lock-Ease Graphited Lock Fluid: Best Lube for Frozen Locks
AGS LE4 Lock-Ease Graphited Lock Fluid is an outlier among graphite lubes, and it earns its own exceptional merit as a fantastic, supremely slick, and long-lasting product. It also won’t freeze, making it the perfect product for people who live in cold climates.
- Lock-Ease Graphited Lock Fluid Protects against...
- Lock-Ease makes locks work easier year-round
- Helps seal out moisture from working parts, providing...
- Suggested applications: all types of locks, household...
Most graphite lubes are composed of just graphite powder, but this stuff is different. Lock-Ease Lock Fluid is a liquid with graphite crystals suspended inside it, making it an unbelievably slick, versatile lubricating material.
If your lock is stuck, frozen, or rusty, this graphited liquid will break through all of the grime and keep your lock mechanisms smooth and slick for up to a year, and you won’t believe how easy it will be to open your door when you use it.
Once the liquid enters your lock, it takes a few days to dry, so you may have a messy key a few days after applying it. However, the residue is easy to wash off of doors, carpets, and fabrics, so you won’t have to worry too much about making a mess with this lube.
See the price on Amazon: AGS LE4 Lock-Ease Graphited Lock Fluid
How to Lubricate Your Door Locks
Once you have found the best lock lubricant for you, it’s time to put your door lock back into working order!
Before you can lube your lock, you will need the lubricant, a rag or paper towel, and your key. Optionally, you might want to wear gloves and clothes that you don’t care much about since you might get a bit of lubricant on you during the application process.
Once you have everything you need, you can get started.
Here are the steps to follow to lubricate your door lock:
- If your lubricant has a straw attachment, prop your finger behind the spray nozzle and insert the straw into the nozzle’s outlet.
- Fold up your rag or paper towel and hold it directly beneath your door lock, curving your hand so that the towel will catch any lube that shoots back or runs down out of the lock.
- Insert the tip of your lubricant into your lock.
- Turn your face away and squirt a bit of lube into your lock.
- Keep the towel underneath your lock until the lubricant stops dripping out.
- Wipe off the outer part of your lock to remove excess lubricant.
- Insert your key into the lock and take it out, repeating the process many times.
- Reinsert your key.
- Now, turn your key back and forth, locking then unlocking your door, to ensure that the lubricant coats every mechanism inside.
- Remove your key once your lock is running very smoothly and when you can easily insert and remove the key from the lock.
- Wipe off your key with your rag or towel.
- Insert the key into your lock again, and wipe it off.
- Now, leave the lock to dry for several hours.
After you lubricate your lock, your key may get some residue on it when you use it. This effect should only last for a day or two while the lube dries. So, it would be best if you kept a rag or towel by your door for a little while after the application process so that you can wipe your key off every time you use it.
You might also want to read: Why Is It Suddenly Hard to Get My Key in the Lock?
Ultimately, you should use a dry PTFE lock lubricant packaged in a spray can to lubricate your lock. Many products on the market will do the trick, but the longest-lasting, most durable lubricant is Tri-Flow Industrial Lubricant.
Still, many of the other lubricants on this list have similar ingredients and properties. They are all readily available on many shopping platforms, so it comes down to your preferences and where your door is.