Mailboxes in condos and apartment complexes are typically those with a keyed entry. Like any lock, occasionally a mailbox keyhole will become difficult to operate, making it difficult to check the mail. You may find it hard to turn the key, or you may have trouble trying to insert the key into the lock. The inner workings of the lock may be tight due to dirt, or even ice in cold weather, or the lock may be sticking. A few quick fixes can help you to loosen your mailbox keyhole.

Woman looking in apartment building mailbox
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Spray WD40 or graphite powder into your mailbox lock to loosen and lubricate the keyhole.

Removing Dirt and Lubricating a Mailbox Keyhole

Step 1

Pour a generous amount of rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball. Alcohol is effective for cleaning and removing dirt and grime.

Step 2

Press the cotton ball against the mailbox keyhole, allowing the alcohol to leak into the lock. Repeat several times until you are sure that a decent amount of alcohol has seeped into the keyhole.

Step 3

Allow the rubbing alcohol to dry overnight. The following day, lubricate the keyhole by spraying WD-40 into the lock.

Step 4

Test the key multiple times. The lock should be looser and easier to operate. If the lock continues to stick, repeat the process and test again.

Removing Ice to Loosen a Mailbox Keyhole

Step 5

Heat your mailbox key and the keyhole with a cordless hair dryer before attempting to insert the key into the lock. During cold weather, ice may build up or form inside the lock, making it nearly impossible to insert the key into the keyhole.

Step 6

Repeatedly heat the keyhole and the key, holding it under the hair dryer for 20 to 30 seconds. Try the key in the mailbox until the ice loosens and you are able to work the lock. Do not force the key into the lock, or force the key to turn, as this can cause your key to break.

Step 7

Spray a deicer into the mailbox keyhole if the hair dryer method fails. Deicers are a quick way to melt away ice to loosen the keyhole. Deicers will also work to lubricate and clean the lock.