Introduction: Open a Vacuum Sealed Container
Two easy ways to open a vacuum sealed container.
I'd like to say I've never done it, microwaved a container with the lid on, but I have. As you might expect, I ended up with a lid that had been vacuum sealed to the container and felt impossible to remove. Hungry and at a loss for what to do next, I got to thinking. Vacuum seals are created between your tupperware and its lid when they are heated together and then cooled. As you heat your tupperware, the contents inside expand as they warm up. To release the building pressure from the contents expanding, some air is released, escaping between the lid and the container itself. Then, when your container and its contents begin to cool, it tries to equalize the pressure again. Your tupperware is rigid though, and cannot flex with the pressure necessarily, so the lid dents inward instead to account for that pressure change.
So....to release the lid, we'll have to increase temperature of the contents inside the tupperware so that they expand again, exerting a pressure force on the lid allowing it to release. Follow along for two methods of removing the vacuum sealed lid from your tupperware.
Step 1: Method 1: Heat Source
For method 1, we will be reheating the contents of the container to get them to expand again. To do this, find a pot with a diameter larger than your tupperware lid. Fill this pot with water and place on the stove to boil. Once boiled, allow your water to cool just enough so it is not actively boiling or steaming* anymore.
*NOTE: It is important to wait until the water is no longer steaming so that you do NOT get a steam burn while holding your tupperware over the water. You can also put an oven mitt over your hand if you are still worried about hot air rising from the water.
Step 2: Heat It Up
Invert your container, don't worry about the lid--remember it's sealed on! Dip your container far enough into the hot water so that just the lid is submerged. You'll feel the pressure release when the seal is broken. It took me about two minutes of soaking the lid in the hot water.
If your container is heavy, feel free to take breaks or switch hands. The contents just have to heat up, it doesn't have to be a consecutive two minutes. It will just be faster if it is.
And again, if you are worried about burning your hands from the steam coming off the water, I would recommend wearing an oven mitt.
Step 3: Open Sesame!
Place your heated container on a dish towel. This towel will contain the contents of your container if they splatter on the immediate opening.
Using your fingers, or a dish towel, pry the lid off of the container. It should be relatively easy if the seal has released. If it is not easy go back to the last step and begin heating the lid in the water bath again.
Step 4: Method 2: Patience
This method is an alternative to the first if you do not mind losing the contents of your container to spoiling.
Leave your container out at room temperature for a week to two weeks. As your container sits out on your counter, the food inside will begin to spoil and the air inside the container will begin to expand. After 1-2 weeks, the air will have expanded enough with the growth of bacteria on your food that the seal will break. Test every couple of days after one week until your lid comes off easily.
It is NOT recommended to eat this food as it has most likely spoiled. This method is simply to separate the lid and container base so that you can use them again.
3 days ago
Just microwave it with the double amount of your origin time until it pop, It's the way to go, although it seems weird that the microwave bring it seal but also could bring it open, how is that work???
7 years ago
Why not just pop the container back in the microwave for a few seconds.
Reply 3 days ago
It's the way to go, although it seems weird that the microwave bring it seal but also could bring it open, how is that work???
Reply 11 days ago
Totally. Took mine 4 minutes which was as long as I microwaved it in the first place when it sealed. The trick is to take it out right away and open it, not let it cool.
Reply 7 years ago
I didn't try that tazem! Let me know if that works if you do try it.
Reply 7 years ago
It does work...best method :)
Tip 1 year ago
These methods will surely do the trick, but you may be at work like me when this happens. If you are able to find something sharp and needle-like (I found a safety pin), simply pierce the lid. The tiny hole you make will release the vacuum seal and you'll be able to eat your lunch. The damage to your lid shouldn't be too bad and you'll probably be able to continue using it.
Question 1 year ago
Can you just use a blow dryer? Would it work?
Answer 1 year ago
Ok a blowdryer worked. I just used it around the lid. Once I saw it pop a little, I yanked it open lol.
2 years ago on Step 4
Thank you sooo much for such helpful advice. Had I not found this I would have ended up hungry since I was stubborn on eating my favourite veggie in the sealed container😬😬
Also Thanku for that Microwave comment.. I tried the boiling water for sometime.. Maybe I was not patient enough.. But running in microwave worked..😅 It opened in around 3 minutes in microwave
3 years ago on Step 4
Thank you sooooo much. Mine got sealed, but it was not my fault. It was my husband 🙄. You just saved a container. 😊
3 years ago on Introduction
I tried holding just the lid part in the boiling/hot water. It was difficult. I thought, if the idea is to reheat the lid, why not stick it back in the microwave for a minute or two.
It worked!! I heard a pop and the lid came unsealed.
Thank you so much! As I read your instructables, I was thinking- that’s exactly my situation- hungry and frustrated! But thank you for posting the scientific part about how to unseal the lid.
Tip 4 years ago on Introduction
You can make a small hole on the top of the lid and air will escape thus breaking the seal
5 years ago
Just warmed up my food in the microwave at work and was unable to open the lid. I decided to Google methods on how to open a vacuum sealed container and came across this website. I have the same container shown on this website. After reading the helpful comments, I decided to use a plastic knife to lift the lid so air can get into the container and IT WORKED! Definitely learned my lesson next time I will lift the lid prior to microwaving my food.
Reply 5 years ago
this worked just fine. quick and easy. thanks for the suggestion!
6 years ago
YUP. just stuck the back of my fork in between the lid and container.. popped out in less then ten seconds.. i'm at work and neither of those steps outlined were feasible.
6 years ago
I microwaved a closed container fresh from the fridge for 1 minute. Maybe the pressure is too strong the above method does not work for me. I tried it for multiple times consuming 1 whole hour. At last I used a thin and bendable knife slipped it under the seal and opened it effortlessly. The most important thing is to bend the rubber to let the air in. Hope my experience helps!
6 years ago
I faced a similar situation just last weekend and I simply popped a couple of small holes using a safety pin to release some of that air pressure. Problem solved and the lid of the storage container barely got disfigured! Nevertheless, you handled the problem very intellectually which would actually be a great science lesson for the children to experiment out at home.
7 years ago
I had the same problem the other day. Putting the container in the microwave for about 20 seconds (just as Tazem has suggested) sorted the problem very simply.
7 years ago
Why not just punch a small hole or two in the lid? That will release the pressure and if you are silly enough to do this again, the pressure just won't build up. But, you do have a unique way of handling this problem, kudos!:)