If you have ever worked in a fast food establishment, or a commercial office that had large toilet paper dispensers that open with a key you know how frustrating it is when the key is lost. Sometimes the key gets taken home by an employee, and sometimes they are lost outright, but without the key, trying to change the paper is challenging, at best.
Related Content: Best Paper Towel Dispensers
How to Open a Toilet Paper Dispenser Without a Key
If you find yourself in the position of needing to change the toilet paper in a dispenser that requires a key to open the cover, there are a few things you can try, before you just give up and set the toilet paper on top of the dispenser and walk away.
Use a Paper Clip
Go to the office and get a metal paperclip. If your boss only has the ones that are plastic coated in vibrant colors you will need to scrape the plastic coating off of one half of the clip.
Straighten the clip so that you have a curled side and a straight piece. It is best if you have one of the large paperclips for this procedure, but if you do not have one a small one will sometimes work.
Insert the straight end of the clip into the keyhole on the dispenser cover. You need to be patient, works slowly, and do not push the clip in too hard. You want to gently insert the clip and wiggle it around a little inside the keyhole.
You need to continue to move the clip gently from side to side and then up and down inside the opening until you hear the click that indicates the covering lock has been released.
Use a Screwdriver
Look on the dispenser cover and see if it is assembled with screws or pins. If a screw is used to hold the components of the dispenser in place you can use a screwdriver and dis-assemble the unit.
This process takes quite a bit of time, because once the unit has been taken apart, and the toilet paper has been inserted, you will need to reassemble the cover.
Get a Nail
If the toilet paper dispenser you use is the kind that the key inserts into the end of the roll of paper and you press inward with the key to unlock the cover, then a nail or a pin can be used instead of the key.
You simply push the nail or pin into the spot where the key is supposed to insert. You may have to wiggle the nail around, or push in with different amounts of force until you find the perfect combination of force and placement.
Buy a New Key
A lot of the dispensers that take keys are sold by big stores like Lowes, Home Depot, and some office supply stores. Call the local stores and find out if they carry the brand of dispenser that you have and if they sell spare keys.
You can go online and visit the manufacturer of the dispenser and order replacement parts like lost keys.
Why do we have locking toilet paper dispensers?
Many people wonder why a business puts in toilet paper dispensers that have locking covers. Theft of product is the number one reason for these units. You would be surprised how many people will steal the toilet tissue from a business. People do not realize that when they steal things the business takes a loss and they raise prices on goods and services to cover those losses.
The second reason for these toilet paper dispensers is simple cleanliness. The covered dispenser only allows you to touch a small section of the paper inside the unit. That means hands that have germs or bacteria on them are not touching the entire roll of paper, and then leaving the bacteria behind for the next person that touches the paper roll.
If you have a locking dispenser you should get a spare key, and keep it somewhere safe, before you lose the key and have to go to extreme measures to unlock the unit.
If you work somewhere that has these covered dispensers recommend to your boss that they get a spare key and keep it handy, because one day the original key will go missing.