How to Remove a Tight Plastic Screw Top Lid

Companies use screw-top plastic lids for all types of jars and bottles. The lids keep food and other items fresh by keeping out air. Screw-top lids often go on too tightly, however, and are hard to remove. Many people also have medical conditions that make it hard to grip and twist objects. Fortunately, several methods and devices exist to aid in this task. Choosing the right kind of method or device for the size of the lid and degree of tightness is the key to removing tight plastic lids.

Young boy holding jar
credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
Young boy holding up tightly fit plastic jar

Step 1

Dry your hands thoroughly before attempting to remove a lid. Hands that are oily lose friction, which causes the hands to slip.

Step 2

Run hot water over the lid. The water may loosen the lid to some degree. Combine this tip with a gripping device if the lid will still not open. Use latex dish-washing gloves if no other item is available. The gloves create more friction, but rubber items work better against plastic than latex.

Step 3

Purchase a rubber pad to create even more friction. Some companies sell rubber pads designed specifically to grip jar and bottle tops. Place the rubber pad around the lid, grip and twist. These pads work on small beverage bottles and bigger lids because they mold to any shape like any normal pad.

Step 4

Get a rubber gripper shaped like pliers for tougher jobs. These items create more gripping leverage when the person has weak hands. Just position the grips around the lid and twist the gripper. Check to see which sizes of lids the gripper can open. Some of these products only open smaller lids. Consider the price, as well. These grippers cost more than a simple rubber pad.

Step 5

Get out a strap wrench from your tool box, if you have one. Center the strap around the lid, pull it tight and use the handle to pull in a counterclockwise direction to remove the lid.

Step 6

Purchase an electric jar opener. This electric appliance fits most sizes of screw-top lids. It works well for those who have almost no gripping power. Electric openers cost more than the other items, and some openers have a jar or bottle height limit. Think about how often an opener is needed for a particular home, and weigh that against the price.