Here’s How Duct Tape Can Help You Open Any Jar

updated Jun 24, 2020
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roll of duct tape and jar on kitchen counter
Credit: Joe Lingeman

My father (rest his soul; he passed unexpectedly a few weeks ago) was an amazingly talented woodworker and tinkerer. He redid the kitchen in my childhood home twice, built a gorgeous and intricate dining room table for my mother, and once put up a backyard deck in less than an afternoon. He even used to make and sell wooden cutting board stands at craft fairs back in the early ’80s. (Adorable!) And yet, for as handy as he was, the man loved himself some duct tape. He fully subscribed to that old-timey idea that duct tape could fix anything. I’m not sure I’d use it to, say, fix a wobbly dining chair, but I do want to let you all know that duct tape CAN open up a stuck-on jar lid.

I’d read about this tip online (somehow, it’s not something my dad had ever suggested) and was skeptical. I figured there was no way it would actually work, and that there must be better ways to open a jar (in fact, my mom had taught me to use the grip of a rubber glove!). But speaking for anyone who’s ever given themselves a headache while straining too hard to open a thing of olives, desperation is a good driver to try new things.

Related: The Most Brilliant Rubber Glove Hack I Never Thought of Before

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Here’s how it works: You rip off a three- to four-inch piece of duct tape and put it so that the end of the tape is lined up along the edge of the lid. (Do not attach the tape to the jar, as the lid won’t be able to turn!) Then, you flatten the excess tape.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Take another piece and stick it to the first one, leaving a tail — or a handle, if you will. Then, just pull. Hold the jar in place with your non-dominate hand and pull the tape with your other. The tape is sticky enough that it’ll hold strong and turn the jar lid as you pull. Huzzah! Once the jar lid is open, simply pull the tape off (it won’t leave sticky residue behind) and go about your business.

I don’t turn to this trick every time I have trouble with a jar — only when my other methods don’t seem to work.

Have you tried this before? What are your go-to methods for opening jars with stuck-on lids?