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?

enter image description here

  • Doesn't cold help shrink metal or something? Maybe ice water? Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 2:43

5 Answers 5


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.

  • 2
    +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
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 3:10

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.


Soak overnight in white vinegar. I tried everything to get the lid off my sterling silver salt shaker which was stuck on by corrosion - hot water, ammonia based products and even pliers which were in danger of causing permanent damage. It wouldn't budge. Online forums also casually suggested using white vinegar. And magically that did the trick! I soaked the top of the salt shaker (upside down in a very small jug) in white vinegar overnight and hey presto, the next morning is easily unscrewed.


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.


Definitely white vinegar but ten to fifteen minutes is plenty. The vinegar can discolor the metal of the shaker or take the plating off. This worked perfectly for me. I had two that were utterly stuck. Like never coming off. And the vinegar did the trick. You can see the corrosion on the top one.enter image description here

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.