Saturday, October 15, 2011

How To Remove A Stuck Ring (And Keep Your Sanity)

Late last night I got an insect bite on my left ring finger, just above my rings. It started swelling immediately, so I took Benadryl and went to bed hoping for the best. In the morning things didn't look too dire but my rings were definitely stuck and soon I was highly uncomfortable. Of course, once I started fiddling with the rings things got ugly quickly.

I was only half panicked since I've been through this once before and still have all ten fingers (and rings), but still. a quick online search didn't teach me anything new, but I did cool my hand under very cold water and kept it elevated for a while for the sake of blood flow. Then I decided on a course of action. There are methods using a sticky tape or a dental floss wrapped around the finger to force it to shrink, but a quick attempt proved futile. I was angry but determined. Five minutes and forever later both rings were off. Here's how:

1. Vaseline. You can use many a greasy substance, and every website seems to be in favor of a different one, from lard toWindex. I find that good ole' petroleum jelly works wonders, either in the form of Vaseline or Vicks Vapor Rub (seriously, this stuff fixes everything).

2. Once you're greased and gooped within an inch of your life (seriously, use heaps and mounds and then some more) it's time to take a deep breath and calm down.

3. I mean it. Don't panic. Whatever you do, don't yank and pull. It will only increase the swelling.

4. Hold your arm above heart level and keep it there. I let it rest on top of my head.

5. Start rotating the ring(s) in place using circular motions. Turn, turn, turn (sorry, I had to). Keep turning. Don't pull.

5. Make sure you're taking long breaths. This is where yoga breaths do a world of good. Inhale, exhale.  Focus on keeping the in and out even all the while turning your rings.

6. It helps to have music in the background and really listen to it as you breath. And pace. Yes, I looked ridiculous walking around my bedroom with my left arm over my head and my right greasy hand turning the rings on my left greasier one, all the while channeling my inner Rodney Yee, inhaling and exhaling, Rufus Wainwright in the background. Keep turning the rings. You'll feel them sliding forward.

7. That's it. It took about 2 minutes for my engagement ring to come off and nearly 3 minutes for my snugger wedding band.

Warning: don't even think of doing this if your finger is injured in any way, shape, or form. Go to the ER and have them cut the ring and treat you. Consult a health care professional if the issue is anything more than a finger with some extra water retention.

Photo of Elizabeth Taylor and one of her many rings from somewhere on the web.


  1. Thanks for the helpful tips! Ever since I had a bad experience of getting a ring stuck on my finger, I actually stopped wearing rings. =(Maybe I'll start wearing them again. I'll just keep these tips in mind!

    - Eva

  2. I'm not a frequent wearer of rings, but I do hate it when they get stuck while you're trying them on in the store! Panicking only seem to make it harder to get them off.

  3. I used to run a jewellers; we always kept Vaseline under the cashdesk for just this purpose! Vaseline won't damage your precious rings, though claw set or similar pieces may need professional cleaning if it gets under the stone.

    I wouldn't recommend cold water as it is traumatic to an already sensitive hand, and far from ideal if you suffer from arthritis.

  4. I a do have a habit of removing my rings at the slightest hint of a cut/ bite just to be on the safe side. I've also used washing up liquid - followed by turning etc - great when a small person jams a ring that fitted 2 years previous on thier finger. x

  5. The perspective is looking scary but I have happened to have swollen fingers in the Summer and I found it hard to remove my rings. Which means, in case it gets worse, I'll be glad to have bookmarked this page.

  6. I've used different versions of this same method and it works every time. Who cares what you look like if it works? That diamond, by the way, that La Liz is wearing, is the Krupp diamond. It used to belong to a mega-rich industrialist in Czarist-Revolutionary Russia.

  7. The diamond ring is "The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond," from her estate, a 33.19 carat, D color, VS1 clarity diamond, given to Taylor by Richard Burton and estimated at $2,500,000-$3,500,000 in the upcoming Christies auction.

  8. great advice!

    btw - as gorgeous as both she and the diamond are, that photo is an odd one - it makes her look like her Virginia Woolf character!

  9. Try Windex the next time that happens. Works like a charm.

  10. Thank you!!! I tried every other piece of advice out there including elevation, ice, lotion, butter, dental floss, tape and was getting ready to go in and have it cut off. This was the only thing that worked and it took ten minutes of solid turning but it's off! I could kiss you!

  11. I can't believe how quickly and well this worked I had images of having it surgically removed. Thanks do so much xxxx

  12. oh ty ty ty Exact same thing, bug bite. I was so upset thinking I was going to have to have my mother's ring cut off. After trying the floss, strings from a Dr. mask., Ice, cold running water, holding hand over my head. It was so swollen I could hardly bend it. Benadryl makes me VERY tired and I hate taking it, BUT took one anyway, desperate to try anything that could avoid me having to damage a ring that means so much to me. I told myself I'd try one more method and if it didn't work I'd have to go have it removed for my own health. And thank goodness I came across your article! Followed your instructions and it worked! I couldn't believe it! To be honest, I didn't think it would, it was SO swollen and painful, but in a matter of minutes.. POOF! it came off! Talk about relief! Phew! Thank you so very much for sharing this!


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