How to Remove a Stuck Ring 

Although wedding bands and engagement rings are supposed to last for life, that’s not always the most practical option.

Just like your marriage, your finger size can also experience changes over the years. Everyone’s weight fluctuates throughout his or her life.

With that said, you might find yourself trying to tug off a ring that’s stuck on a finger that has been inflated from water weight, allergies or a little post-holiday weight gain. Don’t panic. You don’t have to cut off the ring (or cut off your finger) to remove a stuck ring. Here are some safer methods.

Diamond on engagement ring

Do The Twist

If you try to pull the ring straight off of your finger, your skin can bunch up around the ring, making it even more difficult to slide off. If you damage the skin, it can swell more, making removal even harder.

Instead of pulling, twist the ring gently back and forth. As you begin to feel movement, gently guide the ring toward the tip of your finger. Exaggerate the twist when you get to your knuckle to make it over the hump. If this doesn’t work, you can use one of the following methods along with the twist.

Slip It Off

If the simple twist method doesn’t work, add a lubricant to the stuck ring. Many household products can help your ring slide off your finger. If you have any cuts or abrasions on your finger, you might want to choose a gentler option, but the best lubricant is Windex or an ammonia-based cleaner. Some other options are:

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Moisturizing lotion
  • Butter or lard
  • Shampoo or conditioner
  • Cooking spray
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Peanut butter
  • Cooking oil or mineral oil

When you’re using lubricant to remove a stuck ring, make sure that you get the product under the band. Twist the ring around your finger to create some movement. When you feel like the ring will move, add more lubricant to your finger, and twist and slide the ring off.

Raise Your Hand

If your hand is temporarily swollen from the stuck ring, elevating it can help shrink your fingers. Any fluid that has accumulated around your joints will flow back up your arm. Hold the hand above your heart for ten minutes. Rest it on a bookshelf or the arm of a chair if you’re getting fatigued.

Cool It

Another method for diminishing swelling before attempting to remove a stuck ring is to cool your hand down. Cooling down an inflamed, hot hand can shrink your fingers.

You don’t have to submerge it in ice water. Simply fill a bowl with cool water and place your hand in it for several minutes. Combine this with the lubricant and twist methods, and your ring may just slide off.

Floss It Off

This unique method of removing a stuck ring works especially well around the knuckle area. Insert a piece of dental floss under the ring. If necessary, use a needle to thread it under.

You will have one tail coming through the ring toward your hand. Wrap the other tail around your knuckle all the way up your finger. Wrap it tightly enough so that it’s snug without cutting off the circulation. If it feels too tight at any time, unwind it and re-wrap it.

Now, take the tail of the floss that’s coming through the wring toward your hand. Pull on that tail to unwind the floss from your finger. As you do so, the ring will move toward your fingertip. If the ring doesn’t come all the way off, unwrap the dental floss and remove it from under the ring. Start from scratch from the ring’s current position, using a new piece of dental floss.

You can also try this method with a rubber band. Cut the rubber band and wind it around your finger. When you get to the ring, push the rubber band between the ring and your finger. Using that end, begin to unwind the rubber band. The ring should slide up with it.

Once you have removed the ring, don’t put it back on right away. If the swelling was only temporary, you might be able to put the ring back on later. However, if you have gained weight since you got the ring, you may need to get it resized.

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Vanessa Nicole is an award-winning designer, master diamond setter and author of the bestselling book The Perfect Custom Engagement Ring. She creates stunning custom antique engagement rings for clients all over the globe.

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