How to Open the Most Stubborn Cans, Even If You Have Weak Noodle Hands

We’ve all been in awe of kosher baby dill or fresh jam, but after I wriggle out, grunt and swear I won’t ask for help, I can do it myself, we know our meager hands can’t handle it . Many of us reach for a silicone pen, a jar opener, or try to create friction with a kitchen towel. However, if these methods don’t work, you should turn to one of these clever approaches, which may not be in your standard repertoire.

Improve grip with rubber (or open palm)

Of course, if the lid or hands are wet, it won’t start. Once they’re dry, the obvious next step is to use a kitchen towel (or a piece of grippy silicone) to increase your grip strength. But otherwise, you can try any number of other rubber contraptions, from plastic wrap and rubber dishwashing gloves to a thick rubber band around the lid. Any of these will improve your grip. You can also try using an open palm – it looks tough, I won’t lie.

Try some (strategic) cap shots

Many articles suggest tapping the top and sides of the lid with a “wooden spoon” to break the seal. Sounds good, but have you tried tapping the lid on the nearest edge of the rack a few times (while rotating the jar so that the lid taps evenly around the perimeter)? It takes dexterity and self-control – we don’t offer lid-slamming carnage – but as an avid fireworker counter, we can recommend this careful but firmly executed contact.

Break the filling with a knife or spoon

If you’ve already tried the “water hammer” method (slapping the base of the jar with your open palm) to no avail, it’s time to bring in some tools. Insert a butter knife, spoon, bottle opener, or flathead screwdriver under the edge of the lid and slowly move it as a lever to pry the lid off the jar. When it bursts, the seal is broken and can be easily unscrewed.

Heat the jar lid

The heat serves to expand the lid, making it less tight. Place the lid under a continuous stream of hot water, or place it upside down in a bowl of hot (not boiling) water for 30 to 60 seconds. You can also dry it with a hair dryer, but don’t open the heat-treated metal lid with your bare hand – use gloves or a hand towel as a barrier before opening. (This approach will also melt sticky substances that can keep an already opened jar closed.)

Make a stick out of duct tape

If nothing works, maybe it’s time to swallow your pride and ask your housemate to step in? No, of course, it’s time to make a pen out of tape. For this (unorthodox) option, tear off a piece of duct tape about eight inches long and stick a few inches on top, tucking the section under the lid. Fold the remaining ribbon in half to make a “handle”. Rotate the jar so that the handle makes a 90 degree angle with the tape on the lid. While holding the jar with your secondary hand, pull the handle with your dominant hand. (Keep that kitchen towel nearby, because the effort of pulling it together in this way can create a mess.) Then enjoy the victory cucumbers. Because, nevertheless, you persisted.


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