7 Ways To Loosen A Jar Lid That’s Stuck Tight

Most times we can open jars of food with little to no problem, a bit of pressure is applied as we’re twisting and then “pop”, the seal is broken and the lid comes off with ease. Occasionally though it just won’t budge, even after bringing some serious muscle power to the job…so how does one remove them?

Here are a few different ways you can conquer the problem:

A Rubber Glove Will Give You Extra Gripping Power

A Rubber Glove Will Give You Extra Gripping Power

  1. Take a butter knife and give the lid a few good wacks along the top edge (turning the jar incrementally while you hit it), this should help break the seal and make the lid come off easily. Use the smooth edge of the knife (or the handle) against the lid and you’ll need to whack it (not light taps), but not so hard you shatter the glass. This is the method my grandmother taught me as I was growing up and it’s my “go-to” fix when problems arise, I’d say it has a 99% success rate.
  2. Put on rubber or latex gloves so you can grip really well when twisting.
  3. Lightly moisten a dishcloth or towel and use that to grab hold of the lid and twist, this also gives you more gripping power.
  4. Try breaking the seal by running the jar under hot water for up to a minute (tilt jar down so the water can reach the underside of the lid). Giving the lid a few wacks with a butter knife while doing this can also help speed up the process. You can also put the jar upside down in a bowl of hot water (just an inch or so deep to cover the lid edge) and leaving for up to a minute before trying again.
  5. Rubber bands will do the trick too! You’ll need a wide one to place around the lid edge then grab hold of it to squeeze and twist. Not working? Try another wide rubber band, this time placing around the glass jar so you have two firm places for gripping.
  6. Keep a square of rubberized non-slip drawer and shelf liner in with your kitchen gadgets, this can also be used to give you more gripping power (drape over jar before twisting off lid).
  7. Try breaking the seal by giving the bottom of the jar a good wack with the heel of your open hand. You may need to do this a couple times. You could also wack the bottom on the countertop (cover with a towel first to prevent damaging the surface), do so with enough force to break the seal without shattering the glass.

If the jar has been opened previously and the air-tight seal isn’t the problem, it’s likely stuck because syrup or sauce has crusted underneath the lid and around the glass rim. To fix this, a hot water soak should do the trick (as mentioned above) since it will help soften the crusted goo. You may also need something for extra grip when twisting (such as a rubber glove, elastic band, etc.). To prevent this problem in the future, wipe rim with a clean damp cloth before sealing.

Did I miss your tried & true? Please share in the discussion area below 🙂

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What Readers Are Saying: 43 Comments
  1. Jo Anne says:

    I always whacked the lid and not the bottom to release the pressure and thus open the jar

  2. Robin says:

    I’ve found the best and easiest way is to hit the jar on a towel on counter upside down, lid first. works every time.

  3. Velia says:

    Turn the jar/bottle upside down and immerse in hot boiling water for a few seconds and presto! Lid will open quickly.

  4. Rita says:

    Using the pointy end of a beer can opener turned upside down, gently push it under the lid till you hear a “pop”. You’ve broken the seal and the lid will easily turn .

  5. Kelly says:

    I’ll poke a hole in the lid to (release the pressure) and then I hear the “pop”. Works all the time

    • Jack says:

      I always try to poke a very small hole in the top to release the vaccum! It works but compromises the seal for things that last in the refrigerator for long periods. They can give you refrigerator a funky smell.

  6. cheryl says:

    Strapwrench – works every time. Lives in my kitchen drawer

  7. auntiepatch says:

    I give it to my 6’8″ son. Works every time!

    • Steve says:

      That’s right auntiepatch! My grandson at the age of 16 is 6’4″ and still growing, is very busy the first minutes of a visit with his grandmother!

  8. Gerry says:

    Hold the jar stright up and thump the top on the counter, works every time. Easy as pie.

  9. barry says:

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I just had a very tight jar lid that I couldn’t open I go to this site. But I took some of your ideas and it opened. Thanks again.

  10. I Arlyin says:

    A cut piece of inter tube from a automobile tire. I use this to open jars and I have cut my emergency vacuum belts from a medium size inter tube. Cut a seal for a garden hose, out of a piece of inter tube this is a washer that goes in the part of the hose that connects to the faucet. We keep a few inter tubes for emergencies of all kinds.

  11. Amberose says:

    To open jars, just go to your computer. I keep an extra mousepad (cut up into useable size) to open jars. Nothing else works as fast or as easy for me.

  12. Ella says:

    throw the jar against the wall – works every time! 🙂 the lid goes off easily 🙂

  13. Nancy T says:

    When the lid is small enough, I use the door jam. Open the door all the way, insert the lid in the door jam and close the door just enough to securely hold the lid. Leverage is on your side, so be careful not to crush the lid. Spin the bottle with your other hand.

  14. Lynn says:

    The butter knife tip worked like a charm. Thank you!!!

  15. matt says:

    the butter knife tip worked perfectly

  16. Vanessa says:

    I tried the laytex gloves, worked perfectly fine!

  17. Lynne says:

    Recently developed rheumatoid arthritis and couldn’t open most jars. Your tip on banging the top with a knife works like a charm — even on the tightest tops. Can’t thank you enough !

  18. Mary says:

    Bullet proof method:
    I spent the better part of a day struggling with the tightest jar. Tried all the things on here and had no success. I was going to give up and take it back to the store, but luckily I gave it one last shot.

    I cut a long piece of Masking tape and folded it on itself so that it would have two sticky ends (two-sided tape should work as well), I wrapped it around the lid and repeated the process with the jar itself. Nothing will give you better traction. I got it open in one try with very little force.

  19. Stuart Solomons says:

    Putting the jar in hot water for about a minute and a half and then unscrewing jar worked.

  20. Sam Bready says:

    I have had success a time or two by setting the jar in ice water and applying heat to the lid. The jar contracts slightly while the lid expands et voila!

    That said, I have three jars sitting on my counter top right now laughing fiendishly at me. I’m going to try some of the suggestions here and if I don’t have any luck, they go to the food bank (again) in the hope that somebody out there is either stronger than I am and/or is more fiendish than the lids and outwit them. I live in hope.

  21. Gary Krupa says:

    Thank you for your tips for loosening a jar lid, TipNut! With your help I just opened a jar of Mixed Nut butter that I was sure was both hermetically and hydraulically sealed. At first, nothing I did worked: I tried banging on the lid with a butter knife, running it under hot water for several seconds, and holding either a towel or a potholder while twisting the cap. I’ve opened many jars with stuck lids using these simple methods and this jar was by far the worst. I was almost resigned to returning the jar to Trader Joe’s for a refund or to exchange it for another jar of Mixed Nut butter that does open. Then I decided to look online for help and found your site. I followed steps no. 1 to 4. After leaving the jar upside-down in hot water in a bowl for > 1 minute, it finally opened!

    Next time I have this problem I’ll try one or more of the other suggestions mentioned by your readers above, and see how they work.

  22. Ari says:

    If you get a hammer and smack the jar and try to unscrew it will help cause it helped me

  23. Cathy says:

    Thank you! For me, the rubber glove did it! Thank you!

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