Everyone has had that one jar or bottle that cannot be opened by hand, whether you are disabled or not. You know the situation. You fancied that Bolognese sauce that you have stuffed in a jar, or that nice Balti Curry, in a jar, at the back of your cupboard. You get it out, you twist the lid and…. the lid doesn’t move. You try again and again and again. You just can’t get that lid off and the more you try, your palms sweat. You pass it to someone else and they open it.
This happens to me more often than not because of my right hemiplegia—a type of cerebral palsy that only affects my right side. I am often faced with a jar of sauce or a bottle of pop (soda) which I cannot open. It happens that often that when I was in college, I started joking that the companies superglued the lid shut just to torture me… I still joke about that now.
There are aides out there that help but they can be expensive and they evolve a lot of trial and error. So if the aides themselves are expensive and they don’t work when you buy them, the whole trial and error side is even more expensive. Any mathematicians want to work that out for me?
This post is here to perhaps help you narrow down some of those trial and errors so you don’t have to spend a fortune on aides you cannot afford but I will say that I haven’t tried most of the equipment mentioned in this post. A lot of it will be looking at the devices capabilities and judging your needs or the needs of the person who will be using it.
The one device I did use is the Sologrip Jar opener, so before I start this post, let me just tell you a story I find funny.
While I love my solo grip, if the jar is on too tight, I still cannot get into it easily. Last Night, my flatmate Lizzie and I spent a good half an hour trying to get into a jar of Doritos Dip. Here was the process:
- Put Doritos Dip in Sologrip and twist
- Try a tea towel and twist
- Try a tea towel with the Sologrip
- try a knife
- try hot water
- attack with knife
- try banging the edge of the lid on the table
- attack with knife
- sit on the floor with the Sologrip
- sit on the floor with the Sologrip and attack with the knife
I found this hilarious. We managed to get into it in the end, but that was one jar that had some stubborn superglue power. Lizzie and I smiled about it for quite a long time afterwards but that was the only stubborn jar that I remember for the whole year. Aside from the occasional jar, it is pretty much faultless.
The Sologrip is the only jar opener that I have tried so far. It works on the principle of shape. As the two sides form a triangle, it is able to wedge jars of all shapes securely inside it. From medicine bottles to 2 litre bottles of pop (soda). And if you’re British, you can tell that the width of the Pepsi bottle in the video is much wider than our two litre bottles, so this does massive sizes.
At the narrow end of the device, there is a raised step. This is used for the medicine bottles as they are not only narrow, but also small in hight.
Fit with a non-slip base, the idea is that once you slide the jar in from the one end and wedge it in the sides, you can turn the lid and the Sologrip will not move. I have one of these and at the time, it was only available in America. You can find a few of them darted in the UK now but it is vary rare, especially as the company has vanished. Look around online though, you might just get lucky… or now that you know how it is meant to work, maybe you can get someone to make you one.
But while this one is virtually impossible to find, there are other items out there that you can try. Unfortunately, it may mean some trial and error, which does get expensive so a lot of it is limiting the item by what you or the person using it needs.
The reason that the Sologrip works for me is that it keeps the jar still while I turn it. When it doesn’t work is when the lid is screwed on tight that even someone without a disability is going to struggle because the device literally just holds it as if my hand would if it worked the same way as a physically able person.
So, if that is what you need, see about getting something made that does the same (if you prefer the wide sizes) or look for items that have the same principle like the Patterson Jar Opener.
Patterson Jar Opener
This device works with a similar principle to the Sologrip, although I have never tried it myself. The reason for this is because of the sizes of the circles.
I’m not good with area, size, diameter, depth and volume. Basically, anything to do with measuring shapes is my weakest point.
I remember when I found this before I got the Sologrip, I wasn’t too keen on trying it as I wasn’t sure if it could open all the sizes and shapes that I need help with.
I mean can a carton of Milk fit in it? I don’t know and I am uncertain how efficient it is for weird shaped jars … like the Dominos Dip!
So when I saw this around four years ago, it wasn’t on my to try list. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good and may be worth a try to anyone who opens jars and bottles between 2.5-10cms in diameter.
You also get some cones that come with this that help you turn the lid if you have weakness in both hands.
Automatic Jar Opener
Four years ago, automatic jar openers did not exist. The other day, I was scrolling through my facebook feeds when an add for an automatic jar opener popped up on my screen. I’ve since bought one and it should be arriving soon so once it does I will add my review but here is the review of another person
So far, there is two versions on the UK amazon, One Touch and Robotwist but aside from the company name, they look identical… I mean the same green button, same white colour. I bought the One Touch brand as it is available on prime for £29.99 which means it will arrive today or tomorrow. It also has more reviews than the Robotwist.
The Robotwist one is available for £19.99 but will cost £5 in delivery and will take 2 weeks to arrive.
As soon as I have tested it out on a few things, I will let you know my opinion. The reviews on youtube does say that it does recommend you not to use it on plastic jars but when they put it to the test, it does work fine on them. The only issue tends to be with the lids on a bottle of pop. Good job I don’t drink that anymore.
I doubt it will help me with paper cartoons but maybe we will find out. I do have the sologrip though so that won’t be too much of an issue for me. If all goes well, I’ll take either the Sologrip or the automatic jar opener to uni and leave the other one for when I am at home.
There is one problem I can see with this product, and that is the question of whether the jar will move, but I have a solution for that which I will mention later.
Other Jar openers
There are other jar opener that you can try
Kichwit Jar opener is a manual twisting device, a bit like the One Touch device, but manual, so you turn the head of the open yourself in a similar fashion to a manual can opener. This might be great for someone who has some strength but not enough to actually twist the lid… or has the strength but is unable to grip the lid due to how fine it is.
However, I cannot image someone with one hand using this aid as there is no way of securing the jar. Again, there may be a solution for this.
Belliclamp Jar & Bottle Opener also works on a similar basis to the Patterson and Sologrip Jar openers, but with a lever to wedge it in place. By the look of the image, the user is using their body as a way to pus the lever in place and to secure the jar.
If you only need something to secure the jar into place, this may be ideal but then you also have to be mindful that it might not fit all jar sizes.
There are also Jar Openers that you can mount underneath a cupboard. However, if you are like me and either live in a rented property or you are a student travelling from home to university, this may not be suitable due to it’s lack of portability.
It would be good for someone who has a more secure place to live. It is also probably better than some other jar openers that work on securing a jar because it works from the jar’s lid size, not from the size of the jar’s base.
Basically, what I suggest is to look around, look on your local amazon site or Living Made Easy. Determine what method is most likely best for you and go from there.
A non-slip mat is available to give extra support, preventing things from toppling over if you are carrying a tray and stopping things moving if you need them to remain still. This might be a solution to people who need the jars to stay secure when one of the other jars also have a feature that may help.
I hope you found this post insightful. Please feel free to follow me and let me know if you think there is something I am missing. I would be eternally grateful. Maybe you could even write guest post.
What other adaptions would you like to hear about?