The door latch won’t retract

You push on the door handle, but the latch doesn’t retract. It’s been sticking for a while, and it’s starting to bug you. You know you should fix it but you still need to get around to it.

Sound familiar? Many of us put off repairs because they seem daunting or because we’re unsure how to fix them. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix a door latch that won’t retract, and we’ll make it easy for you.

The door latch won’t retract

Assess the Cause of the Stuck Latch

If the door latch is stuck, the first thing you need to do is to identify the cause. Is the latch getting stuck because of something on the door? Is it dirty or full of cobwebs? Are the hinges loose? Once you’ve identified the cause, you can take steps to address it.

If something on the door that’s causing the latch to stick, you can try cleaning it off or moving whatever is blocking it. If the hinges are loose, you can tighten them up. But if there’s nothing wrong with the door and the latch is still stuck, then you should call a professional to look at it.

Manual Disassembly and Reset of the Latch

It sounds like the door latch is not retracting because it may be dirty or something may be caught in it. Before disassembling the latch, you can try to reset it by following these steps:

  1.     Make sure the door is unlocked.
  2.     Open the door and locate the red button on the latch mechanism.
  3.     Firmly press and hold the red button while closing the door.
  4.     Keep your finger on the red button until the door is completely closed.
  5.     Release the button and try opening and closing the door again.
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Lubricating Door Locks

The best way to lubricate a door lock is by using a lubricant designed for locks. You can buy this type of lubricant at any hardware store.

Spray the lubricant into the keyhole and then use a key to work it in. Turn the key back and forth a few times to ensure the lubricant coats the entire inside of the lock.

If your lock is stuck, you can bang it gently with a hammer. But be careful not to hit it too hard, or you could damage the lock.

Replacing a Worn or Broken Latch

If the latch has stopped working, it might be time to replace it. You can purchase a latch from your local hardware store or DIY and replace the latch yourself. It’s a fairly straightforward process that even a beginner handyman/woman can tackle.

First, you will need to remove the old latch. This is done by unscrewing the screws on the doorknob or handle. Once you’ve unscrewed them off, you can remove the old latch from the door. Keep track of all the parts so you can reassemble them later.

Once you have removed the old latch, check that your new one is compatible with your door and hinges by ensuring they match up in size and shape. 

Once they are lined up correctly, use a screwdriver to attach the latch firmly into place using screws that came with it (if not, you can buy some at your local hardware store). Finally, reinsert any pieces of hardware (knobs or handles) back onto the door, and you’re done!

When to Call an Experienced Contractor

If the issue persists and you’re still having trouble with a door latch that won’t retract, it may be time to call an experienced contractor. A qualified door repair or locksmith can diagnose and fix the problem, saving you the headache of replacing the entire door latch assembly.

However, before you call a professional, turn off the main power switch for safety’s sake. Unplug any of your electrical appliances near the door if no main power switch is found.

Also, keep in mind that if an electronic keypad entry system secures your door, you’ll need a locksmith specializing in access control systems.

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It’s important to hire a reputable person or company. And remember to ask if they carry spare parts and materials needed to perform the repairs, just in case there’s something specific required for your particular job.

FAQs on Door Latch won’t Retract

Are you still scratching your head with puzzlement as to why your door latch won’t retract? Understandably, this can be a source of frustration and irritation. Let’s take a look at some of the FAQs so you can quickly get some answers:

Q:  Is the latch stuck or broken? 

If it’s stuck, it could be because of debris or dirt accumulated in the latch mechanism. If it’s broken, then it may need to be replaced.

Q: What type of door latch do I have? 

If you have a spring-loaded door latch, it could be due to weakened springs or worn-out parts.

Q: How do I know if my door latch needs replacing? 

These indicators indicate that the latch needs replacing if the door won’t stay shut or the latch won’t retract.

Now you know more about why your door won’t retract and how to diagnose further problems. Now you should be able to take action and find a solution!


In conclusion, you have a few options if your door latch won’t retract. You can fix it yourself or call a professional to do it for you. If you decide to fix it yourself, read the instructions carefully and use the right tools. If you choose to call a professional, be sure to ask for references and reviews.

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