Interior Kitchen & Dining

3 Easy and Effective Ways to Open a Stuck Jar

Never again let a seemingly immoveable lid derail your meal prep. With these easy solutions, you can conquer even the most tightly sealed jar.
Home chef struggling to open a stuck jar


We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

It’s an age-old quandary: You reach for a jar of pickles or tomato sauce but, try and try as you might, you cannot get the metal lid to budge. Besides simply seeking help from someone more muscular, are there any other surefire ways to open a stuck jar? Absolutely. You can skip the phone call to your body-building nextdoor neighbor, because the solution lies close at hand. In fact, most every kitchen contains at least three easy and effective tools for opening any stubborn jar lid.

1. Try wearing rubber gloves

The next time you need to open a stuck jar, make rubber your ally. Indeed, virtually anything made of rubber can offer up the grip you need to overpower a tight seal. The average kitchen hides a number of rubber items in plain sight. Our favorite approach? Don a pair of rubber gloves to get a better, more persuasive hold on the jar.

Alternatively, hunt around in the junk drawer for rubber bands and wrap one around the lid a few times. In a pinch, you might even use a rubber shelf liner.

How to Open a Stuck Jar - Rubber Grips

2. Use duct tape

With duct tape, you can open a stuck jar in just a minute or two. Here’s how the strategy works:

  1. Tear off about a foot of duct tape.
  2. Line up the bottom edge of the tape with the bottom of the lid.
  3. Wrap the tape three quarters of the way around the lid.
  4. Fold the remainder of the strip in half, lengthwise, forming a sort of makeshift handle.
  5. Finally, hold the jar in one hand and pull the “handle” with the other.
  6. Presto!
How to Open a Stuck Jar - Duct Tape

3. Clear the way

Some jars are easy enough to open the first time but quite difficult to open again—jars of honey, for instance. That’s because their sticky contents lodge between the glass jar and metal lid, effectively gluing the container shut.

The trick is to bring the jar over to the kitchen sink and hold it under warm or hot water for up to 60 seconds. The water at least partially washes away whatever substance may be holding the lid in the place. From there, simply wipe off the lid and give it a firm twist.

How to Open a Stuck Jar - Warm Water