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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

Opening Jars with Home Tools and Strategies

Picture this. It’s been a long day and you are starving! You’re in your kitchen ready to make a simple dinner, pasta with meatballs and sauce. Your pasta and meatballs are just about done so you find your pasta sauce and get ready to open it.


You twist and turn but the top of the pasta jar will not budge, no matter how hard you try. You’re about ready to give up with opening the jar and just have your pasta and meatballs without it. But, why should you have to? 

There are some simple and safe tools and strategies you can use at home for those tough to open jars. You may have heard of recommendations such as running the jar under hot water, tapping a knife on the lid or slipping a knife underneath the lid and popping the seal. However, these methods may be unsafe especially if you are having coordination, strength or mobility challenges. They may cause burns, glass in your food, or food to spoil more quickly. Let’s focus instead on some safer tools you can utilize at home!


  1. Rubber bands: If you have rubber bands at home, placing these on top of the lid will allow you to gain additional grip on the jar. 

  2. Mouse pad or Engage grip: Pictured here is an Engage grip, again to give you additional ability to grasp and turn the jar. If you do not have a grip like this put have a mousepad at home, you can try using that! 

  3. Rubber gloves: You may use rubber gloves to clean or do your dishes. Like the methods mentioned above, using rubber gloves will give you a better grip on the jar. 


  1. Hold the jar close to your body. Try to use your whole arm to turn the lid, not just your wrist and hand. 

  1. If you have sticky ingredients in a jar or container such as honey or pasta sauce you can place a small piece of plastic wrap over the container before putting on the lid to prevent it from sticking and making it harder to open each time you use it. 

  1. Make sure to open your jar on a solid surface, not in the air (such as over the sink or pot). A rubber drying mat or cloth may offer additional support so that the jar doesn’t move or slip on the counter when you are trying to open it. 

Do you have any concerns about your arm and hand strength, coordination or ability to perform daily tasks? Reach out to Engage therapy and wellness at 315-810-2423 today and see if occupational therapy may be right for you! 

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