Opening Jars and Bottles

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It can be very difficult to open some bottles and jars for the first time. This is a page about opening jars and bottles.


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I am a senior citizen with arthritis. I find it hard to open pop bottles and milk jugs, so I decided to use my adjustable pliers and it works great. Just clamp them on the lid and twist. I store pliers in my silverware drawer so they are handy. It really saves my hands.

By Connie P. from OH

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My sister gave me this useful tip. We sometimes have a hard time opening 2 liter bottles. To remedy that, we use a nut cracker. You know the kind that usually comes with the picks? It is just right to go around the lid of the bottle and, in a flash, the bottle is open. We like the idea so much that we are getting one to go in each of our cars in the glove box.


I don't know of anyone that has not had trouble opening a bottle on a trip. I have one in my bedroom also where I drink soda sometimes. We use it for other bottles that the nut cracker will fit. The grooves in the nut cracker grip onto the lid of bottle we are opening.

By Lynn from Dallas, TX

Comment Was this helpful? 9

I am 80 years old and took me all these years to figure an easy way to open jars, especially when you have no strength in your hands, anymore.
Just take a pop bottle opener and slip the non pointed end under the rim of the lid and pry up very gently several different places. This breaks the seal and then just gently turn the lid and it is open. Voila!

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On a recent trip, a friend and I stopped by a Bent and Dent store (I guess that is what you would call this place). It's about 11 miles out in the country from where we live. We had heard that you could purchase can goods and other items cheaply. We just wanted to check it out.

It is a nice little store and full of various items. I got 2 jars of bread and butter pickles for 50 cents each. They were out of date by almost a year. I tapped on the lid and the seal seemed to be fine. I thought, at that price, it wouldn't hurt to see if they were good.


For dinner that night, we tried a jar and found them to be delicious. Several days later, I called Susie and asked her if she had tried hers. She said, "No, I can't get the jar open."

I told her how I open jars and wondered how many others have that same problem. I decided it may be a good tip to share.

I use a paint key to open jars, especially pickle. It fits under the lip of the lid. When you press down on the handle, it releases the vacuum which breaks the seal and makes the jar easy to open.

If you don't have a paint key, you can pick one up at most any hardware store that sells paint.

Susie was going out of town and would be passing by that same store again. She called me and asked if I wanted any more pickle. I told her to get all they had and we would split it. They just had 2 jars left. It was sweet and spicy which turned out to be just as good. Fifty cents for a 24 fl. oz. jar of pickle is a bargain!

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January 21, 2010

I have always had trouble opening jars and bottles, my hands slip rather than grip. Yesterday I took some "double stick foam mounting tape" and put a 1 inch piece longways on the side of the lid where I would put the side of my thumb and another on the jar where I put my palm.

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September 6, 2011

I have rheumatoid arthritis and so have a lot of trouble opening jars. I have found that running some hot water over the jars for a couple of minutes really helps.


My family often tighten the lids very tight, and I get tired of asking someone to open them for me.

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If arthritis or just weak wrists prevent you or a loved one from opening some tough bottle caps, try a nut cracker. Works like a charm!

Open Caps with Nut Cracker

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If you have trouble opening new jars of food, such as pickles, jams, etc. because the lid is vacuum sealed, slide the curved edge of a paint can opener under the edge of the jar top and push down or twist slightly.

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October 10, 2005

I always have trouble opening nail polish bottles, especially if they have been used more than once.

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I bought a gallon jar of pickles, but had to wait for my husband to come home to open the jar. My hands just weren't large enough to get a good grip on the lid.


Next shopping trip, he bought something that is made to loosen oil filters from cars.

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September 19, 2013

To open any jar or lid without straining your wrist or damaging the lid, use a rubber oil filter wrench. They are inexpensive and will fit any size jar you have.

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April 13, 2005

Before replacing the lids on your newly opened jars of honey, Karo syrup, or molasses, line the opening of the jar with some plastic wrap. You will never had trouble opening them again!

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May 23, 2016

This is a page about opening jars with arthritic hands. Arthritis can make simple tasks difficult and even painful.

Opening Jars with Arthritic Hands

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

January 21, 2010

Run hot water over top of glass jar (will expand top and loosen it slightly). You can also use the lower part of the palm of your hand to solidly hit (like serving a volleyball) the bottom of the jar, while holding the jar upside down over the sink. The second one has never failed me.


By Kim from Willoughby, Ohio

Read more ideas below.


Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

That's the same method my mom always used when I was growing up. Another simple way to open jars is to use your dishwashing glove. The rubber glove keeps your hand from slipping and works like a charm. (09/14/2004)

By NHdoubleK

Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

These ideas usually work well. Another old trick is to run hot water over the jar lid for a few seconds. As the lid heats it expands and that makes it much easier to remove. One trick I've used with extreme cases is taking them off with an oil filter wrench. These come in various sizes and one size generally doesn't fit all so you'll need one that's a close fit. Also on smaller jar or screw-on bottle lids a large pair of Channl-lock pliers are great. (09/14/2004)

By Alphtoo

Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

Another easy method to opening hard jar lids is to use a bottle opener. Simply place the flat side of the opener on top of jar and the lever under the lip of the jar. Now all you have to do is gently lift up on opener and pop the seal on the jar. The jar will now open with ease. (09/14/2004)

By Jayma

Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

Here's another way to open a stubborn lid, this only works for jars that have never been opened. Put the tip of a spoon under the rim of the lid and gently but firmly pull up on the spoon. As if you were trying to pry the lid off with the tip of the spoon. You'll break the vacuum that keeps the cap stuck tight and it's a breeze to open from there. (09/14/2004)

By Kristine Jones

Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

I grew up using the banging around the rim method but haven't liked the ruined lid that results. An alternative to the rubber glove method is to use a wide rubber band, circle it around the rim and it allows you to get a great grip and get the jar open. (09/15/2004)


Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

Also try a rubberband on the cap. It helps you get a better grip on the lid (09/15/2004)

By owenmohrbucks

Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

My mom taught me that trick with the back of a butter knife and I have also tried running hot water over the lid. Another that works for me is to turn the jar over with one hand and then smack the bottom of the jar hard with the palm of your other hand. Careful not to hurt yourself. LOL. It works though. (09/15/2004)

By Delaine

Opening Jars

To help open those hard to open jars, I give a smack on the bottom of the jar and it releases the pressure inside. If that does not work, I smack the edges of the lid with a spoon. I do this after I have watched my husband turn red with effort. Giggle factor. My husband has "Popeye" arms and it makes him feel he is helping out in the kitchen.

By Susan (09/26/2004)

By ThriftyFun

Dishwashing Gloves To The Rescue

Instead of purchasing one of those round rubber jar openers, simply put on a rubber dishwashing glove to get a good grip on the lid of a hard-to-open jar.

By joesgirl (11/01/2004)

By ThriftyFun

Opening Jars - Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

Here's a jar opener solution that's easier and safer than the "butter knife method". It's called JarPop, it costs just a few dollars at Linens n Things or Bed Bath and Beyond. It pops the vacuum so lids spin free. You just put it on the lid and lift it gently. You will hear the pop and then voila, the lid is loose. And the great thing is that the lid is not deformed so it stays re-sealable. (11/27/2004)

By Jay

Opening Jars - Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

Just wanted to say thanks for all the listings to help with jars I have spent minutes trying to open my salsa jar and the spoon method worked thanks again(11/28/2004)


Opening Jars - Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

The suggestion by mrskris007 of using the spoon (or butter knife) to pry the lid and reduce the pressure before twisting works perfectly. (12/28/2004)

By mpl

Opening Jars - Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

I had guests and wanted to serve drinks. My new bottle of Jack Daniels would NOT open. I used hot water, rubber gloves and the butter knife routine. The top felt like it was glued shut. Frustrated, I came here and read "Delaine"'s post. I turned the bottle upside down, smacked Jack's bottom a couple of times and IT OPENED! Thanks a lot. (01/17/2005)

By Oliver

Opening Jars - Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

Thank all of you guys for your input! I live in the dorms and was just struggling to open a jar of pickles and with a combination of some of the tricks it worked! Thanks for being so helpful! (02/20/2005)

By Katie

Opening Jars - Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

WOW!! That works great! Thanks a lot! (02/21/2005)

By K.J.M.

Opening Jars - Opening Those Hard to Open Jars

How about them soda bottles?! Or stuck pull up syrup bottle tops?! Try a nut cracker! Works every time, without deforming the tops! I keep mine in my silverware drawer so it's always handy! This works on those stuck shut bottles of nail polish too!! (03/09/2005)

By Connie Williamson

My Grandmother Had Arthritis

Therefore, she had a hard time opening lids from glass jars. She would take the thickest rubber band she had, wrap it around the lip of the lid, and it popped open every time without much effort.

By bekkicat

Opening Hard to Open Jars

To get those hard to open jars of pickles, sauce, etc. use a rug with a rubber backing. Just place the Rubber part of the rug on the jar and twist open.

By Maudrey Stevens (07/13/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Opening Jars

Having a hard time opening tightly closed jars? Well my husband is gone so that option is gone. I don't have some plastic gadget that will do it for me, and I don't have one of those things you lay on top of it that helps you twist. So what do I do? I take a butter knife and use the handle and bang it against the edge of the seal on the lid. I turn it all the way around making about eight dings in it. Now I use my hand again to turn and VOILA! it comes loose. This works especially well with jellies and jams. No need to call the husband ladies, don't tell him what you did. Tell him you've been working out. Let him stew on that for a while ;)

By Suzanne S.

Hard to Open Containers

Put bottle or jar caps under warm water when experiencing difficulties opening any difficult container.

By Sarah Woods

Opening Jars

For a really stubborn jar, I turn it upside down and give the top a sharp, quick thud on something stable. Always worked for my mother and now for me. (07/21/2005)

By Joan in CT

Opening Jars

I keep a 2-4 inch nail handy and hammer a hole into the center of the lid. The suction is broken and it will open easily. Place a piece of tape over the hole when you're done. Works every time (07/21/2005)

By Annie

Opening Jars

The best way I have found to get bottles and jars open came from someone, don't remember who now, that I saw on the Food Network. Turn the jar upside down and firmly, but carefully, hit it flat on the counter. Sometimes I have to do it more than once but not very often. Works like a charm. Just be careful not to smack it too hard. I wouldn't want to have to post to a first aid post. :) (07/25/2005)

By Tonya

Opening Jars

I've always just banged the rim of the lid against the counter. A couple good whacks all the way around usually loosens it right up! (10/02/2005)

By Eureeka98

Opening Jars

I use a "rubber husband" I got it at a food convention. I have been using it for years. Maybe tupperware has one they sell. It is made of rubber and is like the mats cake decorators use in cars so the cakes do not slide. (06/20/2006)

By laurie

Opening Jars

Thanks to tonyag! That turn it upside down and hit it tip opened this caramel sauce jar I've been trying to open for forever! Thanks! (11/19/2006)

By sharon

Opening Jars

To open jars of jam or other things that may be sticky around the rim, burn jar upside down in a sink of hot water to cover the rim and cover and let set for a little while. Opens easily. (11/25/2006)

By Linda White

Opening Jars

Community Agencies for Senior Citizens often have the rubberized hand held grip products that they give away during open-house events, etc. But a large round drain stopper made of the same material works just as well.
About 20 years ago my husband's grandma gave us a device that attaches underneath a cupboard. It's round with a "V" cut out, and in the V are saw-like blades. To me, it's indispensable.

Before these gadgets came along, I remember my parents using a butter knife to tap lids on home canning jars under hot running water as they rotated the jar to open them.

Thanks for bringing back some good memories of my folks from many bygone years ago! :) (05/02/2007)

By Laura

Opening Jars

The reason tapping the jar with a table knife to help open it is, you're stretching the metal with the tapping action. My husband was a tinner. Most people don't know the real reason for tapping. Stretching makes it easier to open. I also wear my rubber gloves. Works like a charm. My husband is dead now so widows have to find ways to do things themselves. Juanita (05/02/2007)

By Juanita

Opening Jars

Hey all, I was struggling with a wide jar of pickles and I followed the steps from here in these order: run under hot water, invert jar and with a knife slide under the rim of the lid for air to release and then put it upright and tap on the lid. Leave it for a minute and then try opening.

First thing : DONT GET FRUSTRATED! :-)

Happy bottle opening! Cathy (11/14/2007)

By Cathy

Opening Jars

One way I've seen before is to close a door (hinge side) on the cap of a jar or bottle and when the door's holding it tightly, turn the jar. (01/29/2008)


Opening Jars

The small nail and hammer worked fabulously! I wish I'd tried it sooner, because then I could have avoided the cramped hand. (02/05/2008)

By Wish1471

Opening Jars

Thanks for the tips. I used a can opener to break the seal on a jar of spaghetti sauce. Thanks for the inspiration, it worked. My hand is a little cramped from trying other things but in the end the jar is open! (03/19/2008)

By barquesky

Opening Jars

All you need to do is stick a knife in and break the seal - easy! (01/21/2009)


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