How to remove a jar lid jammed in a sink

Have you ever had the opportunity to take an axe to your kitchen sink? Wish you could? If you hate dishes as much as I do, perhaps you too have fantasized about doing just that…

Well I recently did – but it wasn’t to destroy the sink, it was to destroy a Mason jar lid. Yup just a lid that had gone feral.

Mason jars are a staple in my life. I use them to store a variety of things in the kitchen. My favourite is my teabags because I can see the contents (my large variety of teas) at a glance. Recently I also started to make a delicious oatmeal breakfast in mason jars. Both of these use wide-mouth jars which regularly get washed in my kitchen sink.

One evening, I was ready to empty the water from the sink, but could not reach the strainer. A wide-mouth jar lid was lodged in the sink drain. The beauty of it was that it was a perfect fit. So no matter how much I tried, I could not move it.

At first I tried a few knives but even my slimmest blade could not get in beside the edge. Then I tried banging it with kitchen tools, including my ice-cream scoop, to mangle it and jiggle it loose. Couldn’t mangle it enough. Finally after half-an-hour of fighting with the lid, I got tired and went to bed. I am a firm believer in the old adage: “sleep on it.”

mason lid and tools

These are the tools used to remove the wide-mouth mason jar lid from the sink drain

The next morning, it still wouldn’t budge and now I had a sink full of cold greasy water to play in. Fun!!! More banging to distort it didn’t work. While looking for the sledge-hammer that I thought was in the closet, I found the camping axe. Ahhh – that should work just as well.

And it did. The axe made a hole in the lid that was large enough for me to slide a screwdriver in. A knife wouldn’t work because it doesn’t have enough rigidity. (In fact the orange knife now has a bent tip.) Jamming the screwdriver in, I was able to make a lever to pry it up. Voila – that was easy!

Good thing, I had a night’s sleep and a clear mind when I tackled it. I’d hate to think what damage I might have done with the axe at 11 pm – seeing as I was both angry and frustrated!

I can never imagine these things happening. But when they do, I always think that I must be the ONLY person in the world who could make it happen. It is me and my egotistical super-powers. And then I think, “no – there is probably at least one other fool like me who is sitting there at midnight trying to drain their sink”, so I should do them a favour and post my solution on the Internet.

So like all those other “knowledge bases” out there, I will close with the question:

“Did you find this helpful?”


Now if only I could find a solution to my Microsoft problems before I take the same axe to my laptop too.

BTW – if you do not have an axe handy in the closet, you might try this plunger method that I found on the Internet today. It might be less violent and you might even be able to save the lid. Mine is toast now ;o)


About Judi B

Writer & Photographer
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10 Responses to How to remove a jar lid jammed in a sink

  1. smitha says:

    Thank you for the post!!! 🙂 You are right, for the night we thought we were the ONLY ones this happened to!! Forget the wonders of the web!

    We did try the plunger idea but that didn’t work. We didn’t have an ax laying about and so we used a drill to make the hole and screwdriver to help pry it out!! 🙂

    • Judi B says:

      Glad that you found the post helpful. I guess these crazy things really do happen to other people too. And now if they don’t have an axe, they can try a drill like you did. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Amanda says:

    Thank you so much for getting me started. I tried magnets, knives around the edges, etc, then thanks to your suggestion to check out the plunger, I tried that too. And failed miserably. Since I didn’t have an axe, I made do with one of my biggest knives and stabbed through it to lift it. Bless.

    • Judi B says:

      Thanks for your advice Amanda.
      So for folks who don’t have an axe lying around the house, perhaps you can try a a large knife or a drill. Those mason jar lids really are stubborn, once they are lodged in.

  3. Gen says:

    Thank you! I ended up using a hammer ( the sharp end that’s used to remove nails) because I didn’t have an axe.

    • Judi B says:

      Thanks for sharing that alternative Gen. The hammer is probably safer than my axe was. I remember feeling “really desperate” when I lifted the axe. ;o)

  4. Jenna says:

    This post was EXACTLY what I needed tonight! Thank you! The plunger method worked like a charm!

  5. KS says:


  6. Simone says:

    This happened to me this morning! Thanks for the advice! I used a plunger and various knives to get around the edge of it and in the end I plunged a large heavy duty kitchen knife in and then inserted a screwdriver to lift. Thanks so much!

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