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How To Remove A Ring That Is Stuck On Your Finger

How To Remove A Ring That Is Stuck On Your Finger

When people come into our store with a ring stuck on their finger, I affectionately ask if the ring shrunk. Yes, I know it’s a little bit corny but it elicits a giggle and helps ease my worried client. If you are ever in the situation where you can’t get your ring off, we’re here to provide some tried and true DIY methods and when to take it to the next step.


Why is it stuck?

Why your ring is stuck on your finger has a bearing on the methods used to attempt to removing it yourself. The suggestions below are intended for those who’s ring won’t come off because:

  • You pushed a ring on that was a tad too small.

  • You ate food high in sodium and your hand swelled. We see this lots: often times we think of pizza and beer. But sushi with lots of soy sauce will also do the trick!

  • You have been travelling and your hands are swollen due to air travel or jet lag.

The below ideas may not help a stuck ring if it is caused by:

  • Weight gain. As we age, medication or even life circumstances can cause those pounds to catch up to us. Yes even to our fingers! A beloved engagement ring or wedding ring that is worn 24/7 can become gradually tighter and you may not even notice.

  • Pregnancy. Your little bundle of joy may make your fingers swollen enough that removal is too hard.

  • Damage to the hand. If you’ve slammed your hand in the car door or injured your hands in some other way, if there is enough trauma, your ring may not slip off with even the most diligent efforts.

  • Arthritis. If you knuckles have progressively gotten larger over a period of time but the area where the ring rests hasn't changed, not being able to get the ring off may sneak up on you!

If you feel that your blood vessels are constricted or you are compromising blood flow to your hand, get to the emergency room as quickly as possible for ring removal. Your health may dictate you seek medical attention and not risk permanent damage. We’ve also heard of people going to the fire department but in our opinion seeking medical help by medical professionals is the way to go if emergency care is warranted. More information on this topic can be found at (The American Society for Surgery of the Hand).

Your health should always be top priority so if you are unsure, head down to the emergency room right away if you experiencing pain or if your finger starts to discolor.


At Home Methods for Removal

Cold Water

Run your hands under as cold water as possible. A cup of ice water may also be considered. The idea is to ease the swollen finger by reducing it’s size and allowing enough wiggle room to get it off your finger.



It may be as easy as using a form of lubricant that you have at home to allow enough slip to pull the ring off a swollen finger. Do you have:

  • Windex - Window cleaner is a great tool to remove a stubborn ring. It gives just enough slip to possibly ease the ring off. If you can try Windex first!

  • Baby oil, coconut oil or vegetable oil - all these oils will provide tons of slip, maybe a little too much in our opinion. You’ll still need to grip the ring and these may just be a tiny bit too slippery to help but worth a try.

  • Soapy water - be sure to use cold water to reduce as much of the swelling as possible. Be sure to place a towel in the sink to cover the drain and cushion the fall if the ring suddenly flies off.

  • Vaseline or petroleum jelly - again it may be a little too slippery to grasp the ring but if it works, that ring should slide right off your finger.
  • Hand lotion or body lotion

If using one of the above lubricants, gently rock the ring back and forth with your fingertips (rather than twisting it) as you work it over your knuckle.


The Wrap Method
  • Slip some string or dental floss under the ring, keeping most of it toward your fingertip.

  • Begin to wrap your finger with the string or floss, starting at the top of your ring and moving up the finger (wrap it tight so the finger is compressed).

  • Next, use the end of the string/thread that was under the ring to push the ring up over the knuckle. This will unravel the floss/thread as you go. 

  • An elastic band may work but string or dental floss is more universally recommended.

The RICE Method

If your finger is very swollen, give the RICE method a try (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

  • Submerge your finger in a cup of ice water.

  • Carefully hold your hand and the cup of ice water above your head for 10 minutes or so.

  • Take your hand out of the water and use your other hand to compress the finger with the stuck ring.

  • Try gently to remove the ring, adding Windex or another lubricant as needed.

If the process doesn’t work right away, you can try repeating it but give your hand a break in between attempts.


If You Need To Have The Ring Cut Off

We know, it’s not fun to contemplate having your ring cut off. We hear you! But we promise to make it as easy and painless as possible. In fact, at Perrara we have a specialized ring cutter just for this job (call ahead to see if a jewelry store in your area has the tool before driving around). A curved piece of metal slips under the ring shank and a teeny “saw” gently cuts through the ring shank. Then the jeweler will use pliers to gently open both sides enough that the ring slides off your finger. While your finger is priority number one, this tool helps us to cause as little stress on the ring as possible so that it can easily be repaired by a goldsmith.

Pro tip: if you do have your ring cut off, we recommend waiting at least a couple of weeks to have your ring finger properly measured and having the ring resized. This will allow your finger and hand to relax and bring any swelling down. It will also immensely help you determine proper fit for the future.


In Summary:

Getting a stuck ring off your ring finger may be as simple as one of the above DIY remedies so hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas to work that stubborn ring off. If you are in need of assistance with ring removal, please visit us at Perrara. We’ll be glad to help.

With Love, Perrara

Author: Lisa Maloney, Proprietor

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