How to Open Polish When It Gets Stuck

How to Open Nail Polish When It Gets StuckOh no. OH NO. You have an occasion for that one, perfect polish that you’ve been itching to use, but you’ve had it on too high of a pedestal to use it on anything but the just right mani BUT IT WON’T OPEN!

There may be a few problems at hand here, so let’s go through them and hopefully one of these solutions will help!

Solution 1: Exercise Bands

No, I’m totally not saying you’re weak and you need to work out. I mean, there have been times where I’ve tried opening nail polish bottles that the guys at Muscle Beach probably couldn’t even open without help.

I’m saying to use the rubbery goodness as a way to get a better grip, and thus get better leverage! Rubbery workout bands are FANTASTIC tools for opening hard to open polishes and even jars or otherwise hard to open bottles. If we’re being totally honest, the only use exercise bands really get in my house is opening things. Because I’m not strong enough to open them without the extra grippiness. It’s a sad cycle.

Anyway, just grab your rubbery workout band and death grip your polish’s neck with it.

Hold on to the bottle itself with your other hand (maybe a less deathy death grip here, because glass, so a firm grip should do) and twist!
Open Stuck Nail Polish with Resistance Bands

If you don’t have workout bands and you don’t want them sitting in your corner judging you for not fulfilling their collective life’s purpose, oven mitts with silicone or neoprene grippers do the job, too, and they’re a lot cheaper. You can find them at Target for about $5.

BUT if this doesn’t work, you may need an alternative option.

Solution 2: Solvents

Yep. Nail polish thinner right at the neck may be able to reach the polish that has accumulated, dried, and sealed the bottle shut. Most of the time, when a bottle of nail polish is sealed shut, it’s because nail polish has gotten into the neck or the grooves of the screw top, so then once the bottle is closed, it can’t close completely. Air hits the polish and the polish dries, sealing together the cap and the bottle itself.

So break down the polish itself. Get it wet again by adding in the solvents that evaporated in the first place by dripping a few drops at a time right at the neck.

How to Open Stuck Nail Polish Bottles then try to open it again. If air could get to the polish, liquid should be able to as well (which is why I STRONGLY recommend nail polish thinner instead of acetone or remover).

All you need to do is turn your polish bottle on its side, then drip a 5-6 drops right at the neck.
How to Open Stuck Nail Polish Bottles

Rotate it around a little, maybe turn it upside down to help the nail polish thinner get up into the grooves, and give it just about 3 minutes to do its thing.

Now try opening it. If that doesn’t work…

Solution 3: The Warm Water Technique

Another that I’ve seen and tried is placing the neck (and only the neck!) of a polish bottle in steaming hot water for 3-5 minutes, like so.

Open sticky nail polish bottles

Some people swear by this, but I tend to avoid it because warming the bottle itself can alter the polish’s chemistry for the worse. I’m a little clumsy and I tend to knock things over a lot, so this is a recipe for disaster for me. However, it might be just the right method for you, so don’t let me deter you!

But if all else fails,

Solution 4: Lather, Rinse, Repeat. And don’t cry.

Don't Cry!My worst case scenarios usually involve going back and forth between using the exercise band and nail polish thinner until the bottle lets up and opens. This will take some experimentation on your part to figure out what works for you, so play around with it and don’t cry!

An Additional Tip to Prevent Sticky Caps

To prevent caps from sticking, make a habit of wiping down your nail polish bottles right at the threading and the lip with nail polish remover. This way, you’re not leaving any around the edges.

Also, ALWAYS store polish upright. It stops polish from getting way up into the neck and from potentially oozing out the sides if it’s not sealed closed tightly enough.
Always Store Nail Polish Upright

If you have bottle opening secrets of your own, feel free to share them in the comments!