How to Unlock a Frozen Padlock

How to Unlock a Frozen Padlock?

Imagine working all day long in the fiery winter season only to find out the padlock you used to close your house with is jam-packed with ice.

It’s very annoying to find your padlock frozen while you want to enjoy some cozy drinks with ease at home. At times like this, you might wonder, is it possible to unlock it? If so, how to unlock a frozen Padlock?

A frozen Padlock can be unlocked with several tools and equipment. Basic tools like de-icer spray, hand sanitizer, lighter, torch, or even a hair dryer can unlock a frozen Padlock when used with proper techniques.

However, if you don’t follow the steps or techniques accordingly, you might fail to do so. Hence, stick with us to find out how to unlock a frozen Padlock easily.

How to Unlock a Frozen Padlock?

Usually, in cold countries, it’s common to face freezing problems all over. The humidity in the air merges with the water molecules and creates ice when the temperature drops down below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So even if you secure a outdoor gate door with a padlock, it’ll freeze, collecting crystals of ice on it.

However, it’s not so hard to defrost it. There are some simple ways you can use to unlock the frozen lock or gate latch-

De-icer Spray

The De-icer spray can be a great tool to unlock any frozen locks. Just as the name suggests, this product is specially made for situations like such. This tool works tremendously well when sprayed onto a crystallized padlock.

All you have to do is directly spray the solution right into the frozen area. You’ll notice the ice will start thawing right after a minute or two.

Hand Sanitizer

When you stumble upon a situation where you find your pristine combination lock frozen, you immediately start wondering- “heck, how to open a frozen combination lock?”

Don’t worry, as you can use the hand sanitizer that you carry with you in your pocket. Not just a combination lock, but any type of frozen lock can be defrosted by the very hand sanitizer we use to sanitize ourselves.

The trick here is the alcohol basis present in the sanitizer. Alcohol can immediately decrease the water’s freezing point. Hence why, it can dissolve the ice in your padlock instantly.

To do it, squeeze some sanitizer onto your key and insert it into the padlock. Don’t put a lot of pressure on the key and wait for a few seconds until the ice melts away.

White Vinegar

This might sound odd, but white vinegar can help you open up that frozen Padlock. However, to make it work, you’ll have to make a solution of vinegar and plain water with a 3:1 ratio.

Doing so helps in decreasing the concentrated solution of vinegar, which can cause damage to the locks. After you’ve done that, simply put the solution into a spray bottle. Then all that’s left is to spray on the lock, and it’ll unfreeze in an instant.

Torch or Lighter

Heat-generating substances can instantly help you unlock a frozen Padlock if you’re thinking about how to open a stuck master lock or stuck lock. In this case, an extra torch or Lighter can help you.

All you have to do is take the key and heat it carefully with the lighter or torch. As these are direct heat-generating items, be very careful and heat them to a mediocre level. After that, simply insert the key into the keyhole and wait until the frozen padlock unlocks.

Petroleum Jelly

If you happen to have petroleum jelly with you, you’re in luck. As it’s a lubricant, it can unfreeze the frozen padlock, and you can unlock it.

Just cover your key with the petroleum jelly and carefully insert it into the lock. Let the key be inside the padlock for a few minutes, and then slowly turn the key. Keep in mind not to overdo it. You’ll see your padlock will be unlocked.

Your Breath

When you have no items with you, and it feels deserted to you, don’t worry. You can still unlock a frozen padlock with your breath.

Simply make a close circled space around the padlock with your palms and make an A shape with your mouth. You can generate heat when you breathe slightly like this. Just be careful not to touch the ice and have patience until the lock defrosts.

Hot Liquid or Drinks

If you have a hot morning coffee or hot water in a flask you carry, then you can unlock the frozen padlock easily.

Simply dip your key into the hot beverage or water and let the metal heat for a while. Wait for a few minutes, then wipe the key and insert it into the padlock to unlock it.


Frozen padlock wd40 is a spray tool that has alcoholic components in it. It’s mostly used for cleaning external factors like cars and mechanics.

It can easily defrost the ice inside your padlock if applied properly. All you have to do is spray it on the lock in a very small amount. Applying it too much can destroy the lubrication of your lock.

How to Prevent Padlocks from Freezing?

If you face this bizarre situation more often, you might want to take some preventive measures. So, If you want to know how to keep padlocks from freezing, here are some of the things you can do like-

  • You can use an automotive brake cleaner spray twice a week, which is used to clean cars. This spray prevents moisture and ice from building up inside metal.
  • Spray the padlock with WD-40 at times. As it works like a lubricant, it keeps water from accumulating in the lock and doesn’t freeze.
  • Use graphite spray regularly on the locks. It works just like the WD-40 and prevents ice build-up. It’s a great alternative to WD-40 as it doesn’t release any odor like WD-40.
  • Cover the padlock with some petroleum jelly. Dip the key into the petroleum jelly and insert it into the lock. Shake the key around to smear the jelly into the inner mechanisms. Since it’s a lubricant, your lock won’t freeze up. Remember to repeat this process a few times every winter.
  • Get a strong magnet and stick it onto the metallic opening of your lock. Make sure it covers all the corners so that moisture can’t go in. When it’s time to unlock it, simply puff off the magnet and insert the key to open it.
  • Cover the lock with a cloth. Covering it with a cloth can will ensure the lock isn’t frozen, and you can easily remove the cloth to unlock the Padlock.
  • Grab a weather proof high security padlock. There are plastic-coated weatherproof padlocks available, which don’t freeze easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even though now you know the ways of how to open a stuck lock, you might want answers to some common questions like-

Is it Okay to Put WD-40 in a Gate Latch?

WD-40 can come in handy for unfreezing frozen padlocks in emergencies. However, if you’re constantly stuck with a situation of how to unfreeze a gate latch or door lock, WD-40 isn’t a good option.

As it’s a solvent-based lubricant, it can make your lock stickier and gummy over time. Essentially if you find other tools, it’s better to use them instead of this one.

What Temperature Do Locks Freeze?

Usually, the water converts into ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Any moisture on any object will freeze when the temperature drops so low.

On the other hand, if the temperature is lower, it’ll take a second to freeze the locks. But at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, all types of locks start to freeze when exposed to water or moisture.

Can You Break a Padlock with a Hammer?

Even though a hammer can quickly destroy your lock, yes, a hammer can indeed break a padlock. Padlocks like Master Locks break instantly when it’s hammered on.

How Do You Make Homemade Lock De-icer?

It’s quite simple. Take a spray bottle and fill it up with one part water and two parts rubbing alcohol. For every two cups, add half a cup of liquid dish detergent. All that’s left is to shake it. Shake it well, and you have your homemade lock De-icer.


It can be overwhelming to constantly face a situation where your locks freeze from time to time. It’s a convenience most of us face in cold countries.

Hence, why we’ve tried to uncover every detail on how to unlock a frozen padlock so that you don’t have to face it constantly. And now that we’ve told you how to do it, you can take any of these mentioned measures and unlock it in an instant and also take preventive measures if necessary. 

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