How to Open a Toilet Paper Dispenser without a Key?

It’s the middle of the night and you’ve got to go. But when you reach for the toilet paper, you realize that you left your key in your other pants. What do you do?

There is a way to open a toilet paper dispenser without a key, but it takes a little bit of finesse. Read on for instructions on how to get the job done.

toilet paper dispenser got locked

Step by Step on Opening a Toilet Paper Dispenser Without Key

Follow the steps below to do the job-

Using Paperclip or Bobby Pin

You’ll need the following items:

  • A paper clip or bobby pin.
  • A pen or pencil.
  • A rubber band or hair tie.

Prepare the Materials

Straighten out your paper clip or bobby pin. You want to make sure that it is completely flat before you move on to the next step.

If it is not flat, it will not be able to slide into the lock with ease, and you may end up breaking the paper clip/bobby pin. Once you have a flat paperclip, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Start the Process

Insert the straightened paper clip or bobby pin into the keyhole of the dispenser. You’ll need to take your straightened paper clip or bobby pin and insert it into the keyhole of the dispenser.

You may need to wiggle it around a bit to get the right angle, but once you do, you should be able to easily open the dispenser.

If you’re having trouble, try using a small mirror to get a better view of the keyhole. Apply gentle pressure until you feel the tumbler inside the lock click into place.

Unlock the Dispenser

Once the paper clip or bobby pin is inserted into the keyhole and you’ve heard a click, take your pen or pencil and insert it into the hole in the center of the spindle (the part of the dispenser that holds the toilet paper roll).

Push down on the pen or pencil until you hear a click. This will release the locking mechanism and allow you to remove the spindle.

Once you hear a second click, that means the dispenser is unlocked!  Take your rubber band or hair tie and loop it around the end of the spindle.

This will keep the locking mechanism from engaging when you put the spindle back in place. Remove the paper clip or bobby pin, replace the toilet paper roll on the spindle, and you’re all set to start enjoying your toilet paper.

toilet paper roll under toilet seat cover

Alternative Method Using Screwdrivers

Follow the instructions below to open toilet paper dispenser using a simple screwdriver-

  1. Locate the screws on the dispenser. These are usually located on the back of the unit, near the bottom. 
  2. Insert your screwdriver into each of the screws and turn counterclockwise until the screw comes loose. Be sure to hold onto the dispenser with your other hand so that it doesn’t fall off and break when the screws are removed.
  3. With the screws removed, the top of the dispenser should now come off easily. If it doesn’t, gently pry it off with your screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the unit as you do this.
  4. Once the top is off, you should now have access to the inner workings of the toilet paper dispenser. Locate the spring inside and gently pull it out. This will release any tension that was keeping the toilet paper in place. 
  5. You can now remove the toilet paper roll from the dispenser. To do this, simply pull it out from the center spindle. If there is still some toilet paper left on the roll, you can use it or discard it as you see fit. 
  6. To replace the toilet paper roll, simply insert it onto the center spindle and feed it through until about two inches of paper is sticking out from under the top of the dispenser. 
  7. Replace the spring by pushing it back into place inside the unit. 
  8. Put the top back on by lining up the screws with their respective holes and turning clockwise until tight. Do not overtighten as this could strip the screws or damage the unit itself. 

Removing Toilet Paper Dispenser Lock Using Nails

In case you want to use nails instead of paper clips or screwdrivers, follow the instructions given below:

  1. Find two nails that are roughly the same size. If you don’t have any nails handy, then you can also use two small screws or even two pieces of wire. Just make sure that the nails are no longer than the width of the keyhole on the dispenser.
  2. Insert one of the nails into the keyhole and wiggle it around until you feel it catch on to something inside. This is usually the tumbler that you need to move to open the lock.
  3. Take the second nail and insert it into the keyhole next to the first nail. Apply pressure to the second nail so that it pushes against the first nail. This will help move the tumbler and open the lock. If you’re having trouble getting both nails into the keyhole at the same time, then try using a piece of tape or gum to hold one nail in place while you insert the other.

How to Open a San Jamar Toilet Paper Dispenser Without a Key

The process is fairly simple. Follow these steps and you’re good to go-

  1. Start by taking off the cover of the dispenser. You can do this by gently prying it off with a flathead screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the cover.
  2. Once the cover is off, take a look at the locking mechanism. There should be a small metal tab that’s holding the locking mechanism in place. Gently bend this tab back until it’s flush with the rest of the metal piece. 
  3. Now, take a paperclip and straighten it out. Insert the paperclip into the hole where the metal tab was. You may need to wiggle it around a bit to get it in the right position. 
  4. Once the paperclip is in place, twist it until you hear a clicking sound. This indicates that the locking mechanism has been released. 
  5. You can now open the toilet paper dispenser and change the roll!

How to Open a Tork Toilet Paper Dispenser?

  1. Locate the release button on the top of the dispenser. The release button is typically red or orange.
  2. Press the release button. You may need to use a pen or a paperclip to press the button, as it can be stiff.
  3. Pull down on the front of the dispenser. The front panel will swing open, revealing the roll of toilet paper inside.
  4. Remove the empty roll of toilet paper and discard it in the trash.
  5. Insert a new roll of toilet paper into the dispenser, making sure that the roll is positioned correctly so that it will dispense properly. 
  6. Close the front panel of the dispenser and make sure that the release button locks into place.
  7. Test the dispenser by pulling on a sheet of toilet paper to make sure that it dispenses correctly. If it does not, repeat steps 2-7 until it does. 

How to Open a Toilet Paper Dispenser With Key

  1. Locate the keyhole on the side of the dispenser. If you can’t find it, look for a small slot on the top or bottom of the dispenser.
  2. Insert the key into the keyhole and turn it clockwise. You should feel the key catch on something inside the dispenser. Continue turning until the keyhole is aligned with the slot in the dispenser.
  3. Pull out the key and hold onto it while you pull on the door of the dispenser. The door should come off easily. If it doesn’t, check to make sure that the key is still in the correct position and try again.


Using the methods outlined above, you should be able to open a toilet paper dispenser without a key.

Whether it’s a San Jamar, Tork, or any other type of dispenser, these techniques should help you get access to your roll of toilet paper in no time!

Just remember to take your time and be careful when attempting any of these methods so that you don’t damage the dispenser. Good luck!

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