How To Get Your Wedding Ring Off (When It’s Stuck)

Updated August 31, 2023

At some point, nearly everyone wonders how to get a wedding ring off. Unfortunately, even a correctly sized ring can get stuck.

Don’t rush to cut off your precious ring – more often than not, the problem is easily solvable.

Numerous factors can affect our finger size, leading to the ring getting stuck, from environmental factors to injuries.

In some cases, all the person needs to do is relax and wait a bit. Other instances are more complex and require professional help.

Most importantly, you should know when to seek medical help if the ring is stuck and how to prevent it from getting stuck in the future.

Why Do Rings Get Stuck?

The reasons wedding rings get stuck are different, but they all come down to one problem – the ring is too small. Sometimes, people buy a ring according to their finger base measurements and neglect the knuckle.

You may push a small ring over the knuckle, but taking it off can be challenging. In other cases, the ring is initially the right size, but people wear it for too long.

Our bodies tend to change, and one may not notice how their fingers become larger until they understand the ring is stuck.

Apart from incorrect size, the ring may get stuck due to a hand injury. Injuries may cause severe swelling or bone dislocation, and a ring then becomes a danger to blood circulation.

Swelling can also be related to pregnancy, health issues, time of the day, and air temperature. Our fingers swell in the evening, after lunch, training, and in hot climates.

Some women wear two or even three rings on the same finger, and swelling appears after removing the first one due to physical pressure applied to the finger. In this case, waiting for 10-15 minutes can resolve the issue.

Reduce the Swelling

Regardless of the reason your ring got stuck, start by reducing the swelling. Professionals use the RICE method to reduce swelling of any severity. RICE has nothing to do with rice – it’s an acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

First, submerge your finger in a cup of cold water or ice. A decrease in temperature makes our blood vessels conduct, thus helping to reduce finger swelling.

Keep the finger in the water for up to ten minutes. Then, raise your hand above your head and keep it for five-ten minutes to make the blood flow from your finger.

Compress your finger above the ring with your second hand or cloth. Try to remove the ring by gently turning it in different directions. If the method didn’t work, repeat the attempt after about ten minutes.

Anxiety can also contribute to swelling. Although a stuck wedding ring may cause panic, the best piece of advice you could get is to relax. Stress causes our blood pressure to spike, increasing the swelling.

Don’t just sit and count time or read about the horrors of stuck rings in between attempts. Instead, read a book, watch TV, or chat with your loved one. Breathing exercises can also help.

Apply Lubricant

Depending on the reason your ring got stuck and the case severity, you may use different methods to take it off. Applying lubricant is the easiest way to take off a stuck ring, but it only works in cases that aren’t extreme.

You may use regular soap, oil, Windex, Vaseline, butter, hand lotion, or any other lubricant you have at home. Lubricants help to reduce surface tension between your skin and the ring, allowing you to easier maneuver the band.

After applying lubricant, you may need to turn your ring in different directions while pushing it off the finger. However, don’t be too harsh because tugging can cause even more swelling.

Note that some lubricants can leave a film on your ring’s gemstone, causing it to appear dull. Clean the ring after you take it off to get rid of the film.

Windex (or any other ammonia-based window cleaner) and other non-moisturizing lubricants are the best choices for this method because they don’t leave a film. Wash your hands carefully after applying any chemicals.

The Wrap Method

Try the wrap method if applying oil or Windex didn’t help remove the ring from your finger. You’ll need dental floss or a thin elastic cord long enough to wrap around your finger multiple times.

Note that this method shouldn’t be used on fingers extremely swollen from injuries. It can elevate the pain you’re already experiencing. In this case, you can try to use a strip of nylon cloth or satin ribbon wider than a floss.

Start by slipping the floss or cord under the ring with the tip pointing towards your wrist. You may use a needle and thread or thin brow tweezers.

Then, tightly wrap the floss or cord around your finger all the way up to the knuckle, starting with the top of the ring.

Keep the tip sticking out of the ring’s other side with your thumb to prevent it from slipping under the band.

Now, start pulling the shorter floss tip towards your fingertip. The floss or cord will gradually unwrap, and the ring will slowly slide over the knuckle.

Use a Surgical Glove

The surgical glove method works similarly to the wrap method but is less painful. Doctors often use it if they consider the case to not be severe enough for cutting the ring off.

Cut a finger off a surgical glove and put it on your finger. Use thin tweezers or a similar tool to insert the glove in-between your finger and the ring. Pull the glove bottom outwards – the ring should slowly slip up.

Some lubrication can be of great help when using this method. Apply oil, lotions, or other lubricants on the outer side of the glove before putting it on your finger.

Have It Cut Off

If none of the methods helped you take off a stuck wedding band, you might need to have it cut off. Depending on the case severity, this can be done either by a jeweler or medical professional.

If your finger isn’t painful or extremely swollen and the situation doesn’t seem urgent, call your local jeweler and ask whether they could help.

People come to jewelry stores to try on rings every day, and they get stuck more often than you think. Jewelers always know how to deal with the problem and have professional tricks.

In some instances, home remedies and jewelers won’t help. If you suspect that your finger is broken, seek urgent medical help. You can detect a fracture by sharp pain and extreme swelling.

The ring can increase the swelling, so taking it off as soon as possible is vital. Other symptoms indicating that you need urgent medical help are the finger turning purple, reddish, or grayish-blue.

Red or purple finger shade indicates abnormal blood circulation, while blue color and numbness signal compromised blood flow. Act quickly to avoid losing the senses or the entire finger.

You can check the blood circulation condition before calling an emergency if you aren’t sure. Hold your hand with the finger up higher than the heart level, about on the same level as your face.

Then, press the fingertip until it becomes white and release. If the fingertip takes over two seconds to return its color, seek medical help.

Unfortunately, not every ring can be cut off. Tungsten carbide is one of the hardest metals and is extremely difficult to cut off. The only way to remove a stuck tungsten ring is to shatter it using pliers.

Titanium is easier to cut off than tungsten rings but more complex than gold. The doctors will have to use a diamond blade. Full eternity bands can be cut off. However, it will inevitably damage the gemstones.

Never attempt to cut off a ring at home. Seek emergency ring removal to ensure your health safety and, possibly, even maintain the ring in a decent condition.

How to Avoid Ring Getting Stuck

Even if you’ve managed to take your ring off, it isn’t yet time to relax. You should know how to prevent a wedding ring from getting stuck in the future.

If your ring got stuck due to incorrect size or bodyweight change, have your ring resized. Unfortunately, some rings can’t be resized, including eternity bands, tungsten, and titanium bands.

If resizing is not an option, consider wearing your wedding ring on a different finger. If you’re inclined to wear it on the ring finger, consider switching the ring hand.

The fingers on different hands often differ in size because we use one hand more actively than the other. The left-hand fingers are typically slimmer in right-handed people and vice versa.

If the finger swelling is caused by a temporary change in your body, such as pregnancy or illness, avoid wearing your ring for a while. Alternatively, you may wear your wedding ring on a chain around your neck.

If the swelling reason is training, heat, or alcohol intake, avoid the circumstances in the future or remove your ring beforehand.

Removing your ring before exercise and taking a hot bath is a good practice also for preserving its visual appeal.

Image credit: Unsplash

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