Santa Monica Locksmith | How to Remove a Doorknob Without Visible Screws?
Santa Monica Locksmith | How to Remove a Doorknob Without Visible Screws?

How to Remove a Doorknob Without Visible Screws?

Doorknobs without visible screws are increasingly popular in modern homes and commercial spaces due to their sleek appearance and tamper-resistant design. However, when it comes time to remove or replace these doorknobs, the lack of visible screws can make the task seem daunting. Whether you’re replacing a damaged knob or upgrading your hardware for aesthetic reasons, knowing how to remove a doorknob without visible screws is a valuable skill. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide a detailed, step-by-step process to help you tackle this task with confidence and ease.

Understanding Doorknobs Without Visible Screws

To effectively remove a doorknob without visible screws, it’s essential to understand how these doorknobs are designed and function. Typically, these doorknobs fall into two main categories: hidden screw designs and clip-on designs.

  • Hidden Screw Designs: These doorknobs have screws concealed behind the escutcheon plate or hidden within the knob itself. This design is common in many residential and commercial applications, providing a clean, uninterrupted look.
  • Clip-On Designs: These doorknobs use internal clips or fasteners to hold the knob in place. The clips are typically accessed by pressing a hidden release mechanism, which can be found by closely inspecting the doorknob.

Both designs require careful handling to avoid damage to the doorknob, door, or surrounding hardware. Understanding these mechanisms will help you approach the removal process with the right tools and techniques.

Tools and Materials You Will Need

Before you start the removal process, gather the following tools and materials to ensure a smooth and efficient job:

  • Flathead Screwdriver: Essential for prying off escutcheon plates or accessing hidden screws.
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver: Used for removing screws that secure the doorknob and latch mechanism.
  • Paperclip or Pin: Useful for pressing hidden release mechanisms.
  • Allen Wrench (if applicable): Some doorknobs require an Allen wrench to remove the handle.
  • Soft Cloth: Protects the door and doorknob surfaces from scratches and damage.

Having these tools on hand will make the process easier and help prevent any unnecessary damage.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing a Doorknob Without Visible Screws

Step 1: Locate the Hidden Mechanism

The first step in removing a doorknob without visible screws is to locate the hidden release mechanism. This mechanism is often found in a small hole or slot on the doorknob or escutcheon plate. Depending on the design, this location can vary, so it may take a bit of inspection to find it.

To locate the hidden mechanism:

  1. Inspect the Doorknob: Examine the doorknob and the escutcheon plate closely. Look for any small holes, slots, or indentations.
  2. Check the Sides and Bottom: Often, the hidden release mechanism is located on the side or bottom of the doorknob.
  3. Consult the Manufacturer’s Instructions: If you’re having trouble finding the release mechanism, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or search online for your specific doorknob model.

Step 2: Depress the Release Mechanism

Once you’ve located the hidden mechanism, use a paperclip or pin to depress the release mechanism inside the hole or slot. This step is crucial for disengaging the knob from the spindle.

To depress the release mechanism:

  1. Insert the Paperclip or Pin: Gently insert the paperclip or pin into the hole or slot.
  2. Apply Gentle Pressure: Press down firmly but gently on the release mechanism. Be cautious to avoid damaging the mechanism.
  3. Listen for a Click: You may hear a faint click indicating that the release mechanism has been engaged.

Step 3: Remove the Knob

With the release mechanism engaged, gently pull the doorknob away from the door. Some doorknobs may require a slight twisting motion before pulling to fully disengage from the spindle. Be cautious during this step to avoid damaging the knob or spindle.

To remove the knob:

  1. Grip the Knob Firmly: Hold the doorknob securely to maintain control during removal.
  2. Twist if Necessary: If the doorknob doesn’t come off easily, try twisting it slightly to disengage it from the spindle.
  3. Pull Gently: Apply steady, gentle pressure to pull the doorknob away from the door.

Step 4: Unscrew the Hidden Screws

After removing the knob, you should see the hidden screws that secure the escutcheon plate or backplate. Use a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver, depending on the screw type, to carefully remove these screws. Take your time to avoid stripping the screws or damaging the surrounding area.

To unscrew the hidden screws:

  1. Identify the Screw Type: Determine whether the screws require a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver.
  2. Position the Screwdriver: Insert the screwdriver into the screw head.
  3. Turn Counterclockwise: Gently turn the screwdriver counterclockwise to loosen and remove the screws.

Step 5: Remove the Escutcheon Plate or Backplate

Once the screws are removed, gently pry off the escutcheon plate or backplate. Use a soft cloth to protect the door’s surface and prevent scratches. This step will expose the latch mechanism, allowing you to proceed with its removal.

To remove the escutcheon plate or backplate:

  1. Insert the Flathead Screwdriver: Carefully insert the flathead screwdriver between the plate and the door.
  2. Apply Gentle Pressure: Pry the plate away from the door using gentle, steady pressure.
  3. Use a Soft Cloth: Place a soft cloth between the screwdriver and the door to prevent scratches.

Step 6: Detach the Latch Mechanism

Finally, locate and remove any additional screws securing the latch mechanism to the door. Carefully slide the latch out of the door, ensuring you don’t damage the door or the latch itself. With the latch removed, you have successfully completed the doorknob removal process.

To detach the latch mechanism:

  1. Identify Additional Screws: Locate any remaining screws that secure the latch mechanism.
  2. Remove the Screws: Use the appropriate screwdriver to remove these screws.
  3. Slide the Latch Out: Gently slide the latch mechanism out of the door.

Tips for Reinstalling or Replacing the Doorknob

If you plan to reinstall the same doorknob or replace it with a new one, here are some essential tips to ensure a smooth and secure installation:

  • Align All Parts Correctly: Make sure all components are aligned correctly to avoid any issues with functionality.
  • Tighten Screws Securely: Ensure all screws are tightened securely but not over-tightened, which could strip the screws or damage the hardware.
  • Test the New or Reinstalled Doorknob: After installation, test the doorknob to ensure it operates smoothly and securely.

Align All Parts Correctly

Proper alignment is crucial for the smooth operation of your doorknob. Misaligned components can lead to functionality issues and may cause the doorknob to feel loose or difficult to turn.

To align all parts correctly:

  1. Position the Latch Mechanism: Ensure the latch mechanism is correctly positioned in the door.
  2. Align the Escutcheon Plate: Align the escutcheon plate or backplate with the holes for the screws.
  3. Check the Knob Alignment: Make sure the doorknob is properly aligned with the spindle and latch mechanism before securing it in place.

Tighten Screws Securely

Tightening screws securely is essential to ensure that the doorknob is stable and functions correctly. However, avoid over-tightening, as this can strip the screws or damage the hardware.

To tighten screws securely:

  1. Insert the Screws: Place the screws in their respective holes and start threading them by hand to ensure they are properly aligned.
  2. Use the Appropriate Screwdriver: Use a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver, depending on the screw type, to tighten the screws.
  3. Tighten Firmly but Gently: Tighten the screws until they are snug, but be careful not to over-tighten.

Test the New or Reinstalled Doorknob

After reinstalling or replacing the doorknob, it’s essential to test it to ensure it operates smoothly and securely. Testing will help you identify any issues that need to be addressed before regular use.

To test the doorknob:

  1. Turn the Knob: Turn the doorknob to ensure it rotates smoothly without resistance.
  2. Check the Latch: Open and close the door to ensure the latch engages and disengages correctly.
  3. Test the Lock: If the doorknob has a locking mechanism, test it to ensure it functions properly.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

During the removal process, you may encounter some common issues. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you address these problems:

Difficulty Locating the Release Mechanism

If you’re having trouble finding the release mechanism, consider the following tips:

  1. Consult the Manufacturer’s Instructions: Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance on locating the release mechanism.
  2. Search Online Resources: Look for online tutorials or videos specific to your doorknob model.
  3. Inspect Closely: Use a flashlight to closely inspect the doorknob and escutcheon plate for any hidden slots or holes.

Stuck or Jammed Doorknob

A stuck or jammed doorknob can be frustrating, but there are several techniques you can try to resolve the issue:

  1. Apply Lubricant: If the doorknob is stuck, apply a small amount of lubricant, such as WD-40, to the mechanism. This can help loosen any debris or corrosion causing the jam.
  2. Gently Tap the Knob: Use a rubber mallet to gently tap the doorknob. This can help dislodge any stuck components without causing damage.
  3. Use a Screwdriver: Insert a flathead screwdriver into the space between the doorknob and the door. Gently pry and wiggle the doorknob to loosen it.

Stripped Screws

Stripped screws can be challenging to remove, but these tips can help:

  1. Use a Screw Extractor: A screw extractor tool is designed to remove stripped screws. Follow the tool’s instructions for best results.
  2. Rubber Band Trick: Place a rubber band over the head of the stripped screw. Insert your screwdriver into the rubber band and turn it slowly. The rubber band provides extra grip.
  3. Dremel Tool: If you have a Dremel tool, use it to cut a new slot into the stripped screw head, allowing you to use a flathead screwdriver to remove it.

When to Call a Professional

While removing a doorknob without visible screws is generally a manageable DIY task, there are situations where professional help might be necessary. Here are some scenarios where you should consider calling a professional locksmith:

Persistent Issues

If you’ve followed all the steps and the doorknob is still not coming off, it’s time to seek professional assistance. Persistent issues may indicate a more complex problem that requires specialized tools and expertise.

Signs of Damage

If you notice any signs of damage to the door, doorknob, or surrounding hardware, it’s best to contact a professional. Attempting to fix the issue on your own could result in further damage and costly repairs.

Complex Lock Mechanisms

Some doorknobs have complex lock mechanisms that are difficult to disassemble without the right tools and knowledge. If you’re dealing with a high-security lock or a commercial-grade doorknob, a professional locksmith can ensure the job is done correctly and safely.

For professional assistance, Locksmith Bluesantam offers expert residential, commercial, and emergency locksmith services.

Tips for Preventing Future Issues

Preventative maintenance can help keep your doorknob in good working condition and reduce the likelihood of future issues. Here are some tips to keep your doorknob functioning smoothly:

Regular Cleaning

Dust and debris can accumulate in the doorknob mechanism over time, leading to jams and other issues. Regularly cleaning your doorknob can help prevent these problems.

  1. Remove Dust: Use a soft cloth to wipe down the doorknob and remove any dust or debris.
  2. Clean the Mechanism: Periodically clean the internal mechanism with a small brush or compressed air to remove any accumulated dirt.


Regular lubrication is essential to keep the doorknob mechanism operating smoothly. Use a lubricant designed for locks and hardware, such as silicone spray or graphite powder.

  1. Apply Lubricant: Apply a small amount of lubricant to the keyhole, latch, and other moving parts.
  2. Operate the Doorknob: Turn the doorknob and operate the latch several times to distribute the lubricant evenly.

Tighten Loose Screws

Loose screws can cause the doorknob to feel wobbly or misaligned. Regularly check and tighten any loose screws to ensure the doorknob remains secure.

  1. Inspect Screws: Periodically inspect all screws on the doorknob and escutcheon plate.
  2. Tighten as Needed: Use the appropriate screwdriver to tighten any loose screws.

Upgrading Your Doorknob

If your current doorknob is outdated or frequently causing issues, it may be time to consider upgrading to a new one. Modern doorknobs offer improved security features, better aesthetics, and enhanced durability.

Choosing a New Doorknob

When selecting a new doorknob, consider the following factors:

  1. Security Features: Look for doorknobs with enhanced security features, such as reinforced plates and high-security locks.
  2. Design and Finish: Choose a doorknob that complements your home’s decor and matches your personal style.
  3. Durability: Select a doorknob made from high-quality materials to ensure long-lasting performance.

Installing the New Doorknob

Installing a new doorknob can be a straightforward process if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Here are some general steps to guide you:

  1. Remove the Old Doorknob: Follow the steps outlined in this guide to remove your old doorknob.
  2. Prepare the Door: Clean the door surface and ensure all holes and cutouts are properly aligned.
  3. Install the New Latch: Insert the new latch mechanism into the door and secure it with screws.
  4. Attach the New Knob: Align the new doorknob with the spindle and latch mechanism, then secure it with screws.
  5. Test the New Doorknob: Operate the new doorknob to ensure it functions smoothly and securely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can't find the release mechanism?

If you’re having trouble locating the release mechanism, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or search online for your specific doorknob model. Sometimes, the release mechanism is well-hidden and requires careful inspection to find.

It’s best to use a lubricant specifically designed for locks and hardware, such as silicone spray or graphite powder. Avoid using heavy oils or grease, as they can attract dust and debris, leading to further issues.

If the doorknob remains stuck after applying lubricant, try gently tapping it with a rubber mallet or using a flathead screwdriver to pry it loose. If these methods don’t work, consider calling a professional locksmith for assistance.

Lubricating your doorknob every six months is generally sufficient to keep it operating smoothly. However, if you notice any stiffness or resistance, you may need to lubricate it more frequently.

Replacing a doorknob is typically a manageable DIY task if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the right tools. However, if you’re unsure or encounter any difficulties, it’s always a good idea to seek professional assistance.


Removing a doorknob without visible screws can seem challenging at first, but with the right tools and knowledge, it becomes a straightforward task. By understanding the design and mechanism of these doorknobs, following a step-by-step guide, and taking preventative measures, you can successfully remove and replace doorknobs without any hassle.

For those times when you need professional assistance, Locksmith Bluesantam offers expert locksmith services for residential, commercial, and emergency situations. Whether you’re dealing with a stubborn doorknob, a complex lock mechanism, or need an upgrade to your hardware, our skilled technicians are here to help.

Share Via:

Related Posts