Vegetable Oil Is Your One-Step Hack To Prevent Stubborn, Sticky Lids

Without a doubt, trying to open a stubborn jar lid is one of the most frustrating things you can come across while cooking. Fortunately, there's a hack to prevent those sticky situations that have you running a jar under hot water. The solution is as easy as rubbing the rim of an open jar with oil.

As you might use peanut butter, which is rich in oils, to get tree sap out of your hair, you can apply the same thinking and use vegetable oil to break down whatever sticky product has made your jar lids tricky to open. To try this hack, dab some oil onto a paper towel or cotton ball and grease the treads around the top of the jar.

That being said, this particular hack works best for sugar-based foods, like molasses, syrup, and honey, all of which can be broken down by oil. Beyond that, this hack is also only helpful if your jar is already open, so in the meantime, good luck getting that lid off!

Keep lids easy-to-open with plastic wrap

Although greasing the tops of open jars may be the most effective way to prevent lids from sticking, you may not be interested in having oily hands whenever you want to put jam on your toast. Conversely, you might have a jar that is stubborn against oil. Regardless, keeping a lid on foods is essential to help you achieve a cleaner refrigerator, so going lidless isn't an option.

Instead of using vegetable oil to make lids simpler to remove, consider using a piece of plastic wrap to create a low-friction barrier between the treads and the jar's lid. However, it's important to note that plastic wrap may not hold up to frequent jar-opening and will likely need to be replaced periodically.

For a more eco-friendly, less oily lid solution, you could also invest in silicone stretch lids. Not only do these lids keep your food as fresh as a traditional lid would, but they're also reusable and easy to remove. Lucky you: No more palm blisters from trying to twist open a jar lid.

How to open the most stubborn jars

As helpful as preventative sticky-lid hacks may be in theory, they likely aren't going to help with a lid that's currently stuck. In these situations, you must break the jar's seal or increase resistance between your hand and the lid.

To strengthen your grip, you can again use a piece of plastic wrap, a dish towel, or a silicone hot pad. With the added friction, you can hold the lid more firmly and force the jar to open. If it is still sticking, try using two grips. For example, put one dish towel around the lid and a second around the jar.

Alternatively, you can break the vacuum seal on the jar by inserting a bottle opener, butter knife, or screwdriver under the lid and letting air inside. On a similar note, running it under hot water helps the metal lid expand, allowing it to become looser and, thus, easier to remove. Either way, after you've got the jar open, it might be time to oil it down to prevent future sticky situations.