How To Open A Pump Bottle That Won't Open

How To Open A Pump Bottle That Won’t Open

Encountering a pump bottle that refuses to open can be pretty aggravating, particularly when you’re pressed for time or need to use the product inside.

Pump bottles are commonly used for a variety of products, including soaps, lotions, and shampoos, thanks to their convenience and efficiency in dispensing just the right amount of product. However, they can sometimes become stuck, refuse to pop up, or not work.

This article will guide you through several methods to troubleshoot and open a stubborn pump bottle, ensuring you can easily access your product.

Understanding the Mechanism

Before attempting to open a stuck pump bottle, it’s helpful to understand how the mechanism works. A pump bottle consists of a few key components: the pump head (which you press down to dispense the product), a tube that extends into the bottle (drawing the product upwards), and a spring mechanism inside the pump that helps it return to its original position after being pressed.

Common Reasons for Jamming

Pump bottles can fail to open for several reasons:

  • The pump is locked in the closed position.
  • The product has dried inside the pump or tube, causing a blockage.
  • The pump’s internal mechanism is faulty or broken.

Step-by-Step Guide to Opening Your Pump Bottle

  • Check for a Locking Mechanism:  Many pump bottles have locking devices to prevent leakage during transportation. This is usually a twist lock where you must twist the pump head in one direction (often marked on the pump) to unlock it.
  • Clean the Pump: If the pump is clogged with dried product, run warm water over the pump head for a few minutes. You can also try soaking the entire pump head in warm water to dissolve any blockage inside the tube or pump mechanism.
  • Try to Prime the Pump: If the pump isn’t broken but simply not drawing up the product, it may need to be primed. Press down on the pump several times with the bottle upright to try and draw the product into the tube.
  • Loosen with Tools: Pliers can gently twist the pump head in the unlocking direction if the pump seems stuck due to the product’s viscosity or a slight misalignment. Be careful not to apply too much force, which could break the pump.
  • Remove and Clean the Pump: If all else fails, try removing the pump from the bottle. You can often do this by unscrewing it. Once removed, rinse the pump and tube thoroughly with warm water to remove any blockage. Before reassembling, check that the spring mechanism inside the pump moves freely.
  • Cut the Bottle: As a last resort, if you need the product inside and the pump is irreparably jammed, you can cut the bottle open. This is not ideal, as it exposes the product to air and potential contamination, but it can be necessary in some situations. Transfer the product to another container for storage.

Preventative Measures

To prevent future issues with pump bottles, consider the following tips:

  • Always lock the pump when not used, especially if transporting the bottle.
  • Regularly clean the pump, especially if using products prone to drying or clogging.
  • Store the bottle in a cool, dry place to prevent the product from drying inside the pump.


A pump bottle that won’t open can be a minor inconvenience, but it’s usually fixable with a bit of patience and some troubleshooting.

Understanding the mechanism and reasons behind a jammed pump can help you effectively address the issue and prevent future occurrences.

With these tips, you’ll enjoy your products to the last drop without letting a stubborn pump stand in your way.

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