6 Simple Ways to Open a Stuck Jar Lid

Don't let a stuck jar lid deter your dinner plans.
Don't let a stuck jar lid deter your dinner plans. / Ella Olsson, Pexels

After buying your groceries, tying on your apron, and prepping your ingredients, the last thing you want is a stubborn jar lid keeping you from a meal. No matter how confident you are in your dexterity, you may have struggled to open a jar lid that refuses to budge at some point. Luckily, there are plenty of tricks you can try before ordering takeout. From quick fixes to DIY rigs, here are some effective ways to unscrew a jar lid.

1. Run the jar lid under hot water.

You may have heard this tip before, and it really works: If you run a stuck jar lid under hot water for about a minute and dry it off, it should be easier to twist open. This is due to the heat from the water expanding the metal in the lid. According to Spoon University, a hair dryer has the same effect. (Just be careful about making the jar too hot to hold.)

2. Bang the jar lid against the counter.

Without breaking it, try giving your jar a few good whacks against the edge of the countertop. The force of the impact on the spot where the lid meets the jar should be enough to loosen the seal in some cases.

3. Grab a towel for traction.

If you can't unscrew a lid, it may be your hands—not the jar—that are the problem. To counteract wet or greasy hands, grab a paper towel or dish towel and wrap it around the lid. This should hopefully give you the traction you need to get the lid unstuck.

4. Pat the bottom of the jar.

For this trick, forget about the lid for a few seconds. Instead, flip the jar upside down and firmly tap the bottom of the glass several times with your palm. The idea is to move around the contents of the jar, which may change the pressure and make the lid easier to open.

5. Use a utensil to loosen the jar lid.

This tip requires some caution, and should never be done with anything sharper than a butter knife. Shimmy the end of a spoon or butter knife as far under the edge of the lid as it will go and wiggle it around. While this method may not pop the lid off right away, it can help equalize pressure around the seal.

6. Make a duct tape handle.

There's no need to purchase specialized tools for opening jars when you can make your own at home. Just tear off a strip of duct tape and wrap it around the edge of the lid while leaving a few inches of tape hanging loose. Fold the end of the tape itself and give it a good tug. Hopefully, your jar will twist open with ease.