A jar that won’t open is incredibly frustrating. Especially when you’re hungry and what you’re craving is trapped inside. There are a number of methods, hacks and products accompanied by claims that they make it easy to open a stubborn jar. We’ve found out which ones actually work.
Eight popular suggestions for opening a stuck jar, using items easily found in most households, were put to the test. We also tried two dedicated jar opening products.
Our testers included a volunteer who suffers from osteoarthritis in her hands as we also wanted to see how comfortable and easy the methods and products we were trying out are for those with restricted hand movement.
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Watch: the best hacks for opening a stuck jar lid
Our video shows the two hacks that our testers judged the quickest and easiest way to remove a stuck jar.
Jar opening hacks
Here’s the complete rundown of what we tested and what we found, so you can try them out yourself next time you’re in a sticky jar situation.
Rubber glove method
How to do it: Open the jar as normal while wearing rubber gloves.
The gloves cushion your hand against the metal while opening and help you grip the jar and the lid.
Did it work? It proved an easy, comfortable and safe method, even for our tester with restricted hand movement.
It’s also convenient, as most people have rubber gloves available. Just make sure they’re clean and dry so they won’t slip.
Hot water method
How to do it: Run the tap until the water is piping hot.
Carefully hold the jar lid under the stream of water for about 30 seconds, rotating it so all the sides of the lid get soaked and keeping your fingers safely out of the hot water.
Then dry the lid and try it.
Did it work? The heat caused the metal lid to expand and loosen, so this method proved super easy, taking almost no effort. Our tester with arthritis had barely any trouble either.
How to do it: You simply knock the lid of the jar against the surface of a countertop a few times.
It’s best to make sure you do this on a solid countertop instead of a dining room table which could be damaged.
The idea is that the tapping breaks the seal, allowing the lid to release.
Did it work? After tapping the lid against a kitchen countertop we found it easier to twist open the lid, though this method wasn’t as comfortable as the rubber glove method as you get no extra grip when it comes to twisting off the jar lid.
If you have restricted hand movement, depending on how severe it is, you could find the vibrations that come from the jar and up your wrist cause you a bit of pain.
How to do it: Hold the jar at a 45-degree downward angle and then with your dominant hand, firmly slap the bottom of the jar repeatedly with the centre of your palm.
Listen for a pop. That tells you when the internal seal is broken.
With the pressure from the internal seal now gone you should be able to twist off the lid as normal.
Make sure you turn the jar the right way up and give time for the contents to settle before opening.
Did it work? While this method did work, it left us with a bit of discomfort from repeatedly slapping the bottom of the jar with our palms.
Because of the discomfort, this wouldn’t be a recommended go-to method if you have any problems with your hands.
Wooden spoon method
How to do it: With a wooden spoon or similar utensil, tap the edge of the jar lid a few times around each side.
Then twist off the lid as normal.
Did it work? We found this method also works, but it wasn’t as comfortable as the rubber glove, as you get no support or extra grip when twisting off the lid.
How to do it: Cut a piece of clingfilm wide enough to cover the jar lid and go down the sides of the jar.
Grip the clingfilm covered lid and twist it open as normal.
Did it work? This method works as, similarly to the rubber glove method, the clingfilm allows you to get more of a grip on the jar lid.
However, it’s less comfortable than a rubber glove and is far more wasteful.
Elastic band method
How to do it: Similar to the rubber glove and clingfilm methods, this method gives you more grip on the lid and so makes it easier to twist the lid open.
Wrap an elastic band around the rim of the jar lid. Twist the elastic band around itself to tighten if necessary.
Then grip the rim of the lid covered by the elastic band and twist open the jar as normal.
Did it work? This method does work but it can be tricky to get right.
You need the correct-sized elastic band or you will have to loop it over and over to make it a suitable size.
We found if the elastic bands are too big they can easily slip off the jar lid.
When it works, it does make it easier to grip the jar, but, more often than not you have to try it a few times.
This method proved a bit too fiddly for our tester with restricted hand movement.
Kitchen scissor method
How to do it: First you need to check if your kitchen scissors have the right attachments on the handle.
You’re looking for small blunt serrations on the inside of the scissors’ handles.
Use the handle to grip around the jar lid and pry it open with a twisting motion.
But please be careful. This method does leave you with the business end of the scissors facing up.
Did it work? If you have the correct pair of kitchen scissors then this method should work for you.
However, we found you need to open the scissors very wide and hold them upside down.
This method does work but it doesn’t feel like the safest method we tried.
Check out what else an outstanding pair of kitchen scissors can do in our best kitchen scissors recommendations.
What about jar opening devices?
Silicone Jar Openers
How to do it: These thin round disks of silicone work in much the same way as the rubber glove or cling film methods.
The silicone enables you to get a secure and somewhat comfortable grip on the jar lid and therefore open it more easily.
Simply place a disk over the jar lid, grip it firmly and twist it open.
Did it work? This product is both very effective and easy to use.
The thickness of the rubber also protects your fingers somewhat making it a more comfortable experience.
What’s also brilliant about these jar openers is that they are reusable and thin enough to fit into any kitchen drawer.
Our tester with restricted hand movement also found these very comfortable and easy to use.
Check out ten surprising things we learned testing kitchen utensils when we recently investigated more than 80 of the most popular items.
Brabantia Tasty+ Universal Opener
How to do it: Open the jar opener wide enough to cover the jar lid.
Then push it closed until it’s securely in place.
Grip the jar opener’s handle firmly and twist the opener round to release the seal and open the jar.
Did it work? Another handy gadget to have to hand for opening your jars. We found the Brabantia jar opener works very well.
It easily allowed us to open the jars and offered a secure and comfortable grip while doing so.
This jar opener did, unfortunately, damage the jar lids slightly. Leaving each lid with a scratch or dent.
Of course, this might only become an issue if you plan on reusing the jars.
The successful hacks we tried for shifting a stubborn jar lid worked just as well for our testers as the most popular products you can buy, so there’s no need to splash out on a gadget to do the job for you we reckon.