Originally published June 25th, 2009
…there are a few other places you can put keys too, however, there are several places that they should not be put as well. This may sound a little gross, but one place they should not be put is in your ears. In my business I re-key, fix and replace many locks and have personally fixed and replaced several that failed due to……….ear wax. I’ll be the first to admit that the first time I came across this and realized what this was that clogged the lock up I felt rather nauseous. It still do, but like everything else you deal with from day to day you build up a tolerance for it.
Automobile ignition locks are the only place that I come across this problem. Customers will sometimes ask “What was wrong with my lock?” Our reply is normally that we found a waxy substance in the lock prohibiting the movement of the tumblers and advise them not to put their keys anyplace but their pocket or in the lock. Even though I’ve really thought about it I’ve yet to give the reply, “The problem is you clean your ears with your keys.”
As funny as it sounds its really no laughing matter. Ignition lock fails can leave you stranded at the worst times and cost hundreds of dollars to fix. The best way to keep this from happening is to only use your keys for what they are intended for, operating a lock. Not cleaning your ears, scraping dirt, opening cans ect. If you realize that you have gotten something on your keys, stop, don’t put it in the lock. Use a clean cloth or paper towel and wipe the key off. If its sticky and won’t come off by wiping it use a mild cleaner on the blade of the key only. I do not recommend cleaning the electronic part of remote head or electronic keys with any kind of cleaning solution. Follow these simple rules and they can help you avoid some costly repairs.