How to Remove a Stuck Ring With Dental Floss

by Amber Keefer

Heat, humidity, and exercise as simple as walking with your hands swinging at your sides can cause fingers to swell, often tightening a ring that you may be wearing. When the usual methods fail to work, such as using soap and water, cooking oil or petroleum jelly as lubricants to make the finger slippery, dental floss may do the trick. The key is to reduce the swelling so that the ring slides off easily.

Step 1

Cut off a piece of waxed dental floss, about 2 feet.

Step 2

Slide a few inches of floss under the ring with the short end facing toward your hand, and the long end stretching toward the swollen joint.

Step 3

Start just above the ring and begin wrapping the long end of the floss securely, (but not too tightly), around your finger. Wrap each row of floss closely against the other, much like winding thread on a spool.

Step 4

Continue wrapping the finger until the floss extends just a bit above the swollen joint. The purpose is to apply slight pressure to the swollen joint so that you can pull off the ring.

Step 5

Take hold of the end of the floss that is tucked under the ring. While holding the floss firmly, begin unwinding it gently and slowly. The ring should slip over the swollen knuckle, as you unravel the floss.

Step 6

Remove the ring, and then unwind the rest of the floss.


  • Apply ice to the finger to reduce swelling quickly. Elevating your arm for a few minutes may reduce swelling as well.


  • Use a twisting motion rather than pulling a ring straight over the knuckle. Trying to force it off may make it even more difficult to remove. Never leave dental floss wrapped around your finger for more than a minute, as it blocks circulation to your finger.

About the Author

Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.