How to Loosen a Mailbox Keyhole

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Cotton balls

  • WD-40

  • Hair dryer, cordless

  • Deicer


Graphite powder can be used in place of WD40 if you prefer. Place a small amount of graphite powder onto the key before inserting it into the lock. Graphite powder will work its way into the keyhole, causing tight locks to loosen and work more smoothly.


Occasionally mailbox keyholes may seem tight because of the key itself. New keys may still have rough edges that need to be filed down. These rough edges will make inserting the key and turning the lock difficult.

Spray WD40 or graphite powder into your mailbox lock to loosen and lubricate the keyhole.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

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.


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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 1

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 2

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 3

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.



Casandra Maier

Casandra Maier is a professional writer specializing in gardening, health and nutrition, the environment, business, lifestyle and fashion. Maier has published articles online for the General Contractor License Center and Urban Community Gardens. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism in 2004.