The Cheap Find That Makes Mason Jars a Million Times Better

updated Jul 9, 2021
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I have excellent news for those among us who are regularly irritated by inanimate objects: You never, ever have to deal with an obnoxious metal Mason jar lid again. Praise be. I have found something much better, and you guys, it has changed my life (and it costs less than $15!). And because I also think you deserve such uncomplicated happiness, let me tell you all about it.

Like many eco-conscious millennials, I am a devoted fan of Mason jars. I use them for just about everything: as drinking glasses, salad dressing shaker, dried goods storage, leftover containers, and measuring cups. Although I love Mason jars, the metal lids are profoundly flawed. For your convenience and my self-righteous indignation, I have outlined the three undeniable reasons metal jar lids are terrible.

  1. They rust! No matter how well I dry my lids, and no matter how soon after washing, they inevitably turn orange and rusty around the edges. This is more than an aesthetic problem, as over time it affects the seal and even flavor of whatever you’re storing. Rusty lids don’t glide on smoothly or stay on tightly. Unacceptable.
  2. They’re not convenient for drinking vessels. I know that mason jars are not actually intended for portable water consumption. There are actual products made for toting water around; they are called water bottles. That said, I still toss a pint or quart jar full of water in my bag before leaving the house because it’s always easier to find a Mason jar than a water bottle in my kitchen. But the readily-available convenience of a Mason jar “water bottle” is dampened by the fact that it’s a giant pain to unscrew and re-screw a two-part lid every time you want to hydrate. Maybe I’m just clumsy, but I can’t seem to do it without dropping the flat part of the lid on the floor. Also unacceptable.
  3. They get lost. Or, more accurately, you always seem to have either more of the metal rings or more of that flat, center parts the complete the lids, but never the perfect amount of pairs. Much like those single socks that always go missing, where do all the metal Mason jar lids go? It’s infuriating!
Credit: Rochelle Bilow

I’m guessing you’ve dealt with these distressing problems, too. Which brings me to these white plastic jar lids. These sturdy, light, one-part tops seal Mason jars efficiently and cleanly. They look smart. They never rust. They’re cheap! They’re easy to mark with tape or labels. You can bleach them back to brilliant whiteness if they become stained. I’m obsessed.

Assuming I would lose a few, I originally purchased a bulk order — but unlike sneaky metal lids, these are easy to keep track of and I haven’t misplaced a single one.

I will concede to one counter-argument: Unlike metal, the plastic lids do tend to take on scents easily. I first discovered this when sipping water out of a jar previously used to store a garlicky soup. Luckily, the fix is easy and also inexpensive: Soaking the jars in a solution of baking soda and water, or scrubbing with a cut lemon, will do the trick. Like new! Can you say the same of your aging metal lids?

Do you use Mason jars a lot too? What kinds of lids do you use?