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11 Ways to Open a Stuck Jar Lid

Published on NewsOK Published: June 11, 2013

All you want is a kosher dill. You can see it, trapped within its glassy cave, taunting you with crisp, pickly goodness. And you can’t get the lid off. You’ve tried all the traditional tactics; turning, begging, pleading, cursing, and it’s still stuck fast. Will a stuck jar lid really stand between you and pickle perfection?

Nonsense! Here to the rescue are 11 ways you can open a stuck jar lid.

1. The baby bum technique. You know how television shows sometimes show a doctor inverting a baby and slapping her buttocks to get her to cry after she’s delivered? That’s actually not such a hot idea for babies, but it works fine on jars. Sometimes. Invert your jar, holding on to the glass part, and use your other hand to sharply slap the base. Tip it right way ‘round and see if you can get the top off now that you’ve helped break the seal.

2. Get some leverage (caution!). The best way to do this is with a small butter knife. Carefully slide the knife between the lid and the jar and twist a little bit to break the seal. Do this cautiously to avoid breaking the jar; otherwise your pickles will be ruined with glass fragments!

3. A banging good time. Another option involves gently striking the lid against a hard object at about a 45 degree angle. You can bang it against the sink or counter, or hit it with something like a wooden spoon. This can sometimes get the lid dislodged enough to break the seal, without damaging it so it can’t be reused. Be aware that if you hit too hard, you may dent the lid and make the jar harder to open, and there’s also a possibility of breaking the glass.

4. Hot water. Try running hot water over the jar for a minute, wiping it down, and then opening the lid; you may find it helpful to grab on with a towel for some extra traction. The heat can help the metal expand a bit, making it easier to break the seal as it loses its grip on the edge of the jar. You can also use a hair dryer or lighter (carefully!), or soak the jar in warm water, to get a similar effect.

5. Give in: you need a jar opening tool. They make these! Tools designed for older adults and people with neurological impairments that make it hard to open jars are intended to reduce the energy needed to open the jar, and maximize the effort put into it. One of these babies can help pop the lid of a stubborn jar right off, with a minimum of fuss and spills. You might feel like a dork using it, but you won’t look like one when you open all your jars in a snap.

6. Traction, traction, baby. Sometimes your hands just don’t have the traction needed to get the job done. Try using a rough towel, a damp sponge, rubber gloves, a silicone pad (like those used for grabbing hot pans), a mousepad (remember those?), or even a thick rubber band around the edge of the lid to give you some extra purchase. Twist firmly and carefully, maintaining pressure on the lid, and it might just give way under your patient attentions.

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