A simple question:

Can I seal and reseal Ball canning jars over and over? How long before the seal gets busted usually?

Also, how do you clean the rubber seal ring without damaging it?

3 Answers 3


Sure you can use the jars over and over, but the lids should never be reused. That rubber seal is damaged the first time you use it. They are designed to soften during the canning process in order to form an air-tight seal. They may not form that seal upon reuse. You should always use new lids when canning.

  • 9
    exactly this. i will also add that you can reuse the jars and the rings (the part that screw down) over and over, but you should always feel the rims of the jars before using them to make sure they are not chipped (which may affect the seal), and make sure the rings aren't rusty.
    – franko
    Feb 20, 2011 at 3:37
  • You can also use the rings over and over again, along with the jars. You do have to buy new lids though, that's why you can usually find the lids sold just by themselves. :)
    – user3058
    Feb 20, 2011 at 6:40
  • 5
    Note that for jams and other stuff you use in modest quantities you can continue to use the lid-and-ring for storage in the fridge after opening if you can get the lid up without warping or puncturing it in the first place. Just don't try to can with it a second time. Feb 20, 2011 at 14:57

I have reused the lids for years. They work fine and have never ever created a problem.

  • 1
    Hello Kathryn, you probably got a notification that your post was downvoted. Sorry for that -1. It is a side effect of the system - it flagged your post as suspicious because it is so short, and I dismissed it as the wrong button. I cannot undo the dismissal, so I gave you a +1 to return you to neutral.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 18, 2014 at 20:05
  • I have had trouble attempting to use lids a third time. The results were so disappointing that I decided to "waste" money and materials by only using new lids.
    – Brian K1LI
    Oct 2, 2019 at 14:20

If you're new to canning, it's best to throw the lids away after one use. If you've had enough failures to know what a damaged rubber seal looks like on a lid, the sense to toss lids that have been corroded by food acids, and the ability to notice compromising dents and bends in lids, then you can reuse some of your lids. I've been canning for 20+ years, and I think I get about 3 or 4 uses out of a typical lid before it goes in the trash.

  • Ohh, you mean the old style rubber seals, don't you? I don't think they make those anymore, but a good long soak in warm soapy water followed by a little scrubbing with a nylon pad should clean them up for reuse. They're dead once the rubber gets too compressed, or hard and brittle, to seal well.
    – user4877
    Feb 21, 2011 at 14:15

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