How to Remove a Lid Jammed in a Sink

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Be careful when removing a lid from a sink.
Image Credit: John Keeble/Moment/GettyImages

Those little round lids that fit on mustard, pickle and mayo jars are just the right size to create a big problem when they lodge themselves into the base of the sink. A sink cap can keep these items from lodging in the drain, but the sink cap itself can get lodged if it's not the right size.


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Once that flat, slick lid has found its way into the hole at the bottom of the basin, it can be difficult to remove. Ridding the sink of its clogging captor takes a bit of finesse and a few techniques to ensure it pops out cleanly.


Use the wrong, overly aggressive techniques and you can ruin the structure, much less the finish, of the sink when trying to remove a stuck lid.

Angles Matter More Than Pressure

Before you try to fish out the lid that has fallen into the drain of the sink, consider the angle. If it's still propped up with one side higher than the other, you're in luck. Home Steady suggests that you use a pair of slim tongs or the edge of a knife to gingerly lift the raised part of the lid from its placement in the sink drain.


If you happen to press down and the small round lid or object gets lodged in the drain, apply a bit of pressure in an upward direction to pry it loose sooner than later. The longer that a metal lid sits in a sink drain, the more stuck it may get. Metal will expand with cold and contract with heat. Both of these can work in your favor or against.

If the metal lid has fallen into the drain and can't be seen, American Plumbing Services recommends attaching a small magnet to a piece of string and sending it down the line. Wait for the magnet to attach to the metal lid and carefully pull it out.


Traditional Removal Techniques

When all else fails, hot water and suds from a good dish detergent can save the day. Liberally apply the dish soap to the edges of the lid stuck in the drain. With the corner of a soft cloth or a cotton swab, rub the dish soap into the edges of the stuck lid. Make sure to liberally apply the soap above the rim of the lid so it has a chance to drip down between the lid and the sides of the drain.

Let the soap sit on the lid and lubricate all of the sides before pouring boiling water over the top of the metal lid. This will retract the metal and allow the well-lubricated lid to slip from the drain. Use a screwdriver, slim tongs or another narrow tool to get leverage and pop the contracted metal lid from its trapped position.


For plastic lids, use warm water and work the lid out of its lodged position as you pour the water over the stuck object.

Sink Lid is Stuck

You've tried pliers, tongs, hot water and utterly frustrated choice words directed at the jammed lid. If nothing simple has worked, you need to bring out the big guns. A small handheld plunger will suffice if you have one on hand.

A toilet plunger will work as well. Make sure that the toilet plunger is clean before working in areas that you use often, such as the kitchen or bathroom.