If you ever find yourself having a hard time opening your locks, then it might be time to clean them and remove the entire gunk out. New locks will work out with precision; however, over time, dust and other particles as well as chemicals in the surrounding area can damage your lock and without proper care and maintenance would impede its performance.
The best and most important thing to remember is to do regular cleaning of the locks by lubricating the hole to ensure that the locks would not freeze up especially when exposed to cold temperature. For locks that are exposed to highly corrosive environment, one should check and lubricate every two or three months to ensure that the locks are protected from the harsh weather.
To clean, remove the dirt and dust particles from the lock, one can wipe the dust off or use pressurized air to remove the dust from the keyhole or places where the cloth cannot reach. Use lubricants that are especially made for locks to ensure that it is not harmful to the locks. One can purchase these lubricants from locksmiths or hardware stores.
It is important to not use too much lubricant on the lock especially in the key way and openings as it might not dry off completely and damage your locks later on. Use a few drops of the lubricant and allow it to spread inside the keyhole. You can use the key and insert it to the lock to distribute the lubricant inside by turning it left or right. Remember to remove the key and allow the lubricant to dry completely before use. You can also use powdered graphite to remove the gunk although one should use it only sparingly as it might clog the key way.
In some areas where locks are frozen due to colder climates, removing the ice should be done carefully. Remove the ice that covers the key way and heat the key to make it a bit warm. Slowly insert the hot key to the lock. The key will melt the ice and allow you to turn it open. Dry the lock thoroughly before applying oil or lubricant to it.
Regular maintenance is the key to ensure that your locks will work for you. Nevertheless, wear and tear happens and if you find yourself needing to replace these locks, simply change the lock or you can call your local locksmith and have a new lock installed.