What Do I Do If I Get A Ring Stuck On My Finger?

Written By Allie Perry June 14, 2024

Getting a ring stuck on your finger can be a stressful and painful experience. Whether it’s due to swelling, weight gain, or simply a ring that was too tight to begin with, removing it safely without causing damage to your finger or the ring is crucial. Here are some tried-and-true methods for loosening a stuck ring, along with advice on when to seek professional help and tips on preventing this situation in the future.

Methods to Loosen a Stuck Ring

While most of these methods will be safe for most rings, if your ring has stones in it and you’re not sure if the below methods will be safe for those stones, do your research BEFORE you attempt to remove the ring.

🚨 If your finger or knuckle is painful, you have broken skin around the ring, or the swelling is significant enough to have turned your finger purple, seek professional help immediately. 🚨 

If you’re determined that you don’t require professional help, fold a soft towel into a few layers and put it on the counter or table where you’re working. If the ring releases from your finger suddenly, you want to make sure it has a safe place to land.

1. Soap and Water

One of the simplest and most effective methods is using soap and water. Apply a generous amount of liquid soap or dishwashing liquid around the ring and your finger. Gently twist and pull the ring while sliding it off. The soap acts as a lubricant, reducing friction and allowing the ring to move more freely.

2. Glass Cleaner - this is my favorite method!

Glass cleaners can be really effective lubricants! Spray a small amount on your finger and the ring, then gently twist and pull. Sprayway glass cleaner is my favorite because it comes out foamy and stays on your finger a bit better, but most glass cleaners will work. I’ve cut many rings off of many people’s fingers over the course of my career, and I can tell you that glass cleaner saved the day more than half the time and eliminated the need for me to cut a ring off while someone was still wearing it.

3. Lubricants

If soap and water don’t work, try other lubricants such as:

-  Olive oil or vegetable oil: Apply a small amount around the ring and your finger.

  • Petroleum jelly: This is thicker than oil and can provide a good amount of lubrication.
  • Hand lotion: Often readily available and effective at reducing friction.

Thicker lubricants like this will make a big mess, and are more difficult to clean from your ring, so I would use these as a last resort.

Note: If you’ve used any kind of lubricant to remove your stuck ring, be sure to rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove any soapy residue.

4. Cold Water

Sometimes swelling can cause the ring to become stuck. Soak your hand in cold water or apply an ice pack to your finger for a few minutes. The cold temperature can reduce swelling, making it easier to remove the ring. Be cautious not to leave the ice on too long to avoid frostbite.

5. Elevation

Elevate your hand above your heart level for a few minutes to reduce swelling. This can be especially effective if your finger is swollen due to heat, physical activity, or injury.

6. Dental Floss Method

For particularly stubborn rings, you can use dental floss or a thin piece of string:

1. Slide a piece of dental floss under the ring toward your palm, leaving a short tail on the side of the ring closer to your palm and long tail on the side of the ring toward the end of your finger.

2. Wrap the long tail tightly around your finger, starting at the ring and moving over the knuckle and towards the fingertip.

3. Once your finger is wrapped, hold the end of the floss that is closer to your palm and start unwinding it from the base of your finger. The ring should move with the floss and slide off. 

🚨If your finger is swollen to the point of being discolored, do not attempt this method. Seek professional help immediately.🚨 

When to Seek Professional Help

If none of the above methods work, or if your finger is becoming increasingly swollen, discolored, or painful, it’s time to seek professional help. Jewelers and emergency room staff have special tools designed to safely cut and remove rings without causing injury. Do not attempt to cut the ring off yourself, as this can lead to injury.

If the situation isn’t an emergency, go to your local jeweler and have them cut the ring off of your finger. They will use a special tool that’s designed for this exact purpose!  Ring cutting tools cut the ring cleanly without causing you any pain, and do minimal damage to the ring so it can easily be fixed up for you once your finger returns to its normal size.

Ring Cutting Tool

If you need immediate help, go to your local emergency room. If you’re not near a hospital, your local fire department may be able to help, though they will likely use metal snippers or cutters to cut your ring, and your ring may need additional repairs before it can be resized to fit. 

Do not let fear of damage to your ring deter you from getting a ring removed in an emergency!  Fingers are a whole lot harder (and more expensive) to fix than rings. Your health and safety are more important in this scenario than your ring!

How to Avoid Getting a Ring Stuck in the First Place

  • Proper Sizing

Talk to your jeweler and make sure that your rings are properly sized when you purchase them. Your ring should slide over your knuckle with some resistance but fit snugly -never tightly- on the base of your finger.

  • Monitor Weight Changes

Significant weight changes can affect the fit of your rings. Periodically check the fit of your rings, especially if you've experienced changes in weight.

  • Know the Side Effects of Your Medications

Lots of medications can cause your fingers to swell. If you’re on any type of medication that will cause swelling, be sure to monitor your fingers and any rings you wear regularly for signs of being too tight.

  • Avoid Wearing Rings During Certain Activities

Remove your rings before engaging in activities that might cause your fingers to swell, such as:

- Intense exercise

- Manual labor

- Hot weather or sauna use

  • Regular Checks

Check your ring fit regularly, especially in hot weather or if you notice any changes in your hands or fingers. You will also notice that your fingers shrink and swell throughout the day, with some people experiencing swollen fingers before bed and others experiencing swollen fingers right when they wake up. Take notice of when your rings are the loosest and when they’re the tightest. Knowing this about your own fingers will help you determine if the swelling you’re experiencing may go down on its own.

  • Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration can help maintain normal finger size and reduce the risk of swelling.

  • Remove Rings Before Bed

Swelling can occur overnight, so if you think your hands will swell to the point of making your hands or knuckles uncomfortable, remove your rings before going to sleep.

Dealing with a stuck ring can be alarming, but with these methods, you can often safely remove the ring at home. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt or if the situation becomes painful, seek professional help immediately. Taking steps to ensure your rings fit properly and avoiding situations where swelling is likely can help prevent this from happening in the future. Stay safe, and enjoy your rings without worry!

Want to reat yourself to a new ring? Click here and go for it!


Allie is the owner and goldsmith behind Allie Perry Designs.

Learn more about her here, or connect with her on Instagram!

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