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How to open a jar with a tight lid (15 genius hacks!)

Learn some genius hacks on how to open a jar with a tight lid without a jar opener. 

Need to open that jar of Marinara sauce for your Chicken Pepperoni dish sizzling on the frying pan but the stubborn jar lid just will not budge?

We have all been there. 

Sometimes we don’t have a jar opener, sometimes the jar opener we own is not much help either.

So, what do we do?

Is there hope to put dinner on the table tonight?

No fear! Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 🙂

You can attempt to open a tight lid by using any of the listed methods:

  • weakening the seal by tapping
  • improving grip on the lid
  • expanding a metal lid with heat
  • breaking the seal between lid and jar by inserting different objects under the lip of the lid.
how to open a jar without a jar opener

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products I have recommended, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. For more information, please see my disclosure.

Something will work out, for sure! 👍

First, take a look at the picture below to see some of the common household items to have on hand that will help you open a stuck jar lid. I bet you can find a majority of them at home.

But even if you don’t, do not despair.

Some of the hacks will not require any items at all.

household items for opening a jar

A note before we proceed.

This article will concentrate on how to open vacuum sealed jars with a tight lid (the ones filled with preserved goods that you usually buy from the grocery store). 

In case you need to open a stubborn lid on a jar with food preserved at home, then read my other article How to Open a Stuck Lid on a Mason Jar. 

Ready?

Let’s dive in!

 

Try to break a jar’s vacuum seal by applying “brute force” 🙂

There are a few ways to do it.

1) While holding  a jar horizontally, bang the sides of the lid on the counter. Then proceed with unscrewing the lid.

 

opening a jar with a tight lid

2) Turn the jar upside down and tap it on the counter until the safety button in the lid pops.

opening a jar with a tight lid

3) Take a butter knife and bang on the sides of the lid with the knife handle.

In my experience. this method works the best for opening jars with tight lids.

opening a jar with a butter knife

4) While holding the jar at an angle pointing downward,  hit the bottom of the jar a few times with the palm of the other hand.

opening a jar with a tight lid

Improve grip

Qpening a jar is easier when you have a good grip on the lid.

You can improve grip by using:

 

1) wide rubber band

Next time you bring a bunch of celery from the grocery store do not throw away that wide rubber band.

When you need to open a tight jar lid, slip a rubber band around it and proceed with unscrewing the lid.

 

opening a jar with a rubber band

2) plastic wrap

Tear a piece of cling plastic wrap and wrap it around the sides of the lid to improve grip. Unscrew the lid.

 

open a jar with a cling wrap

3) kitchen towel

 

Firmly hold the lid with a kitchen towel while opening a jar.

 

open a jar lid with a kitchen towel

4) silicone oven mitt

 

Unscrew the lid while wearing a silicone oven mitt.

 

open a jar with a silicone mitt

5) paper towel

 

Cover the lid with a paper towel and try to unscrew it in the usual manner.

 

open a jar with a paper towel

To make your life in the kitchen easier – get yourself a handy set of practical, yet not expensive jar grips.

Use heat

 

1) hot water

 Hold the jar at an angle upside down and run a stream of hot water to expand the metal lid.

This method works especially well on a previously opened jar when the lid was closed by your husband😄 and stored in the fridge for some time.

 

open a jar with warm water

2) hair dryer

Apply heat around metal lid.

Unscrew the lid.

 

opening a jar lid by using hair dryer

Loosen a lid by wedging objects between lid and jar

For this task you can use:

1) a spoon

Push the spoon tip between a jar and a lid. While holding the jar with one hand, try to lift the wedged spoon up.

Go around the jar and do this in few places.

This should loosen the sides of the lid and break the seal.

It is better to use an old spoon for this process, because the spoon might get damaged.

opening a jar lid by using a spoon

2) a butter knife

Follow the same instructions as with a spoon.

Be aware that this might bend the knife blade though.

opening a jar lid by using a knife

3) a screwdriver

Follow the same instructions as with a spoon.

 

open a jar with a screwdriver

4) a can opener that has a built in bottle opener

If the side of a lid is not wide, then opening the jar using the bottle opener on your can opener is a breeze, because the handles of the can opener provide good leverage.

Just wedge the little claw of the bottle opener under the lid and go around the jar lifting the sides of the lid in an up motion.

 

open a jar with can opener's bottle opener

If everything fails,

calm down and order Chinese food for dinner. 🍜

While waiting for food delivery, log onto your Amazon account  and get a jar opener that opens jars each time with no fail.

If you have Amazon Prime it should come to your home in no time (free next day delivery or free same day delivery in some cities. Learn more here).

opening a jar with EZ Off

Opening a jar with EZ Off jar opener works like a charm.

 

And then you will obtain peace and serenity in your kitchen. 🙂

 

Final thoughts on opening jars without a jar opener

To open a stuck jar lid without a jar opener is not easy, yet possible if you use some hacks based on physics, and common household items.

You can open a jar with a tight lid

  • by applying force
  • by improving grip
  • by using heat
  • by wedging an object under a lid.

In my experience, firmly tapping the sides of the lid with a butter knife handle works the best for opening a jar with a tight lid. The next best method is wedging a spoon or screwdriver between the lid and jar in order to break a seal.

 

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How to open a jar with a tight lid without a jar opener

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