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How to Unlock Desk Drawers Without Keys

Updated April 17, 2017

There are few frustrations worse than getting to your office or home desk and finding you do not have the key to unlock the drawer that contains a file or document you need immediately. This can be even more frustrating when you know there is a duplicate key, but it is in the locked drawer. Using easy-to-acquire tools you should keep on hand for emergencies, you can unlock that drawer in short order and be back in business.

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  1. Clean off any grease or debris from the front of the lock with one of the microfiber cloths. If there is a lot of dirt, use a drop of water to help clean the lock.

  2. Take the smallest tension wrench you can use to place into the lock. You might need to try different sizes, but try to get the smallest size that will fit into the individual lock. If the lock is larger than average, use a larger wrench.

  3. Slice the stem of the banana thin enough so that it will easily fit into the lock. You need not do this if you are using a half-diamond.

  4. Hold either the banana stem or the half-diamond in your non-dominant hand. In other words, hold it in the hand you do not write with or throw. Hold the tension wrench in your dominant hand, or the hand with which you write and throw.

  5. Gently push the tension wrench into the bottom part of the keyhole facing downward. Insert it and allow it to hang down. Push the banana stem or half-diamond in at the same time. Just touch the tension wrench slightly. If it is bending, you are pushing too hard. Turn the stem or half-diamond until you feel the tumbler of the lock give.

  6. Tip

    Make copies of important keys and place them in a safe but easy-to-reach location.


    Never use this technique on anyone else's desk without their permission.

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Things You'll Need

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Set of tension wrenches
  • Half-diamond or the very tip of the banana where it is joined together with other bananas
  • Sharp knife

About the Author

Stephanie Abir

Based in New Hope, Pa., Stephanie Abir has been writing business- and health-related articles since 1980. Her work has appeared in “Business Week” magazine and “American Health” magazine. Abir holds a doctorate in American literature from the University of South Carolina.

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