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Any idea how I can facilitate the untwisting of this stuck salt shaker? I was thinking an oil filter wrench but that may break it. Should I try soaking it?

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Doesn't cold help shrink metal or something? Maybe ice water? – Adele C Feb 2 '13 at 2:43
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I always submerged mine in warm water and, bare handed, worked the cap until it came free. The water should dissolve the salt with the help of the mechanical action. That was with glass bottoms and metal tops. You should be able to brute force your full metal shaker with no ill effect as the metal will have a much higher shear strength than the salt that is binding it.

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+1 for real science concepts like shear strength :-) I was afraid to suggest warming the shaker, with the reasoning that since both parts are metal, they would expand equally and stay locked together (unlike a metal lid on a glass jar), but I didn't think about dissolving the salt at the same time. – SAJ14SAJ Feb 2 '13 at 3:10
this worked. thanks !! – amphibient Feb 11 '13 at 0:54

I would go with the first answer regardless of the problem of the salt bidding the container and I strongly suggest to avoid applying cold or ice-water as you suggest. Every container that I had problems opening was way easier to open after immersing it in warm or hot water and then drying it thoroughly. This is personal experience I am not sure of the physics behind.

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Warm water will help dissolve the salts in the threads.

If it were a metal top on a glass container the difference in the thermal coefficient of expansion could be used to help loosen the lid. Because the lid and container are the same materials, You won't get much help from the thermal expansion or contraction.

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