It’s the problem that’s plagued nail techs forever — the stuck bottle top. Orly’s new Gripper Cap gets the job done. But if you aren’t using Orly polish, how do you unscrew a stuck top? A recent discussion on’s NailTech list reveals several good homespun options. Even if your hands are slippery with oil or lotion, you’re bound to have luck with one of these tricks. Once you get the stubborn bottle open, don’t forget to wipe up any drips and rub a drop of cuticle oil around the neck to prevent the problem from recurring.

  • Pam Karousis, Nail Designs Unlimited, Cortland, Ohio: First, I try wrapping a thick rubber band around the cap to give me some leverage. That usually works great. If the rubber band fails, I turn the bottle upside down and use a dropper to place a small amount of acetone polish remover down into the cap. I leave it upside down, placed inside a small jar to keep it in that position. In a few minutes, the cap will come off without any trouble.
  • Pati Schembari, Jacqueline’s Day Spa, Treasure Island, Fla.: I always reach for a rubber glove first — I use a disposable one. That’ll do it in eight out of 10 cases.
  • Lorra Jones, Salon De Gratiae, Phoenix: I found a great pair of decorator nutcrackers that work wonderfully. The nutcracker is not the typical flat-headed kind — it has the shape of a nut so it fits around the top of a polish bottle perfectly.
  • Karen Hodges, The “All About You” Salon of Key West, Key West, Fla.: First, I try using a circular rubber jar lid gripper. This will get most of them. Next, I try pliers set to the “big things” setting. The next thing is to try holding the bottle under hot water for a few moments. If all else fails, I take a shot glass about half full of acetone and soak the polish bottle upside down for an hour orso.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about