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Separating Plastic Drinking Cups

Category Dishes
Four stacks of plastic cups red, yellow, green, and blue
When plastic cups are stacked one inside of the other they sometimes get stuck together. This is a guide about separating plastic drinking cups.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 28, 20050 found this helpful

I have a plastic cup stuck inside another plastic cup, and I have tried putting cold water as well as hot water in them, but cannot get them apart. I would appreciate and tps anyone has.


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April 28, 20050 found this helpful

I heard of a similar problem, but with a commode and a cup.

It was solved by placing ice cubes in the cup and when the cup shrank from the cold, it was removed from it's wedged location. I ought to add that at this point in time, it was in the backyard.

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April 28, 20050 found this helpful

You might also try filling up a sink with water and putting the stuck cups under the water level for a minute. Sometimes if the water gets between the two, it separates. Even try the trick with the ice cubes before the water bath.

Another thing that might work is putting your thumb on one of the cups and your middle finger on the other. Push in alternate directions (even try that under water)

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April 29, 20050 found this helpful

try getting a better grip with rubber/latex gloves with dry cups ....twist. Or hot water on outside in the inside cup. good luck!

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 8, 20070 found this helpful

Hello I'm a nanny and my boss stacked about 5 plastic cups inside each other and now they won't come off. We have tried hot water cold water, soap and nothing works... Any Ideas? Thanks Geovanna V.

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 2, 20070 found this helpful

Put the in the freezer overnight, then put them in your dryer with a blanket for s few min.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 11, 20081 found this helpful

There is a simple solution fill the inside cup full of ice then wait a few minutes turn on the hot tap water and let the hot water run around the outside glass. Immediately and very easily the cups will come apart. Just a little science used there!

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 16, 20081 found this helpful

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't say it enough times! It worked! Very easily! (The ice in the top cup and then fill up the sink and put the bottom of the outside cup in the hot water and voila!)

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 3, 20080 found this helpful

OMG! It worked! I am doing a happy dance right now because I have been trying and trying to separate these two cups all day. I think I even pulled a muscle trying to pry them apart! So happy!

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 6, 20090 found this helpful

I did this with a plastic margarita shaker top. Used plastic wrap to prevent ice cube water from leaking from the lid into the top cup and ran hot water around top cup. Still had to use a flat head screwdriver to pry apart, but at least it worked! Thank you, science.

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October 27, 20090 found this helpful

Gotta love the Internet:) Filled the top cup with ice water, dipped the bottom cup in boiling H20 that was on my stove top and wallah took all of ten seconds. Thank you for the knowledge of others, you make my life simpler.

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October 28, 20110 found this helpful

Worked like a charm! My wife bought two nice cups for a great price, because they were stuck together. Took the advice from here, put ice and cold water in the cup, placed it in hot water and voila! Thank you so much.

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By 1 found this helpful
July 27, 2009

How do you pull apart two plastic tumblers, that are stuck together?

By MARPFAR from Leominister, MA

Answer Was this helpful? 1
July 31, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

If there's any gap between the two tumbler lips, trickle warm water into that area. The water may act as a buffer and lubricant. Wiggle the two tumblers in opposing directions. You could also submerge the two tumblers in warm water (dishwater worked for me,) and try this same technique.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 27, 20090 found this helpful

How do you separate plastic restaurant cups? They were washed and stacked together now they won't come apart.

Barbara from Hickory, OK


Separating Plastic Drinking Cups

Put them in the freezer and after they are thoroughly frozen try carefully pulling them apart. (12/22/2008)

By Phillip A. K.

Separating Plastic Drinking Cups

You can try filling the inside one with cold water and dipping the outside one in a sink or bowl of hot water. The heat will expand the outside cup. The cold will contract the inside cup. It should be enough to break the seal. (12/29/2008)

By Guest

Separating Plastic Drinking Cups

The fastest solution might be to use your blow-dryer on the outside cup while trying to loosen the inner cup(s), which might take another person helping you. (12/29/2008)

By NokomisNims

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