If you’ve ever made a nice tall bucket stack like i have on the free 5 gallon buckets article, you’ve probably had the misfortune of sticking buckets together so tightly that you couldn’t pry them apart.
Wow. What’s with that terrible artwork?
Well, I don’t have any photos for this article, so I’ve drawn some for you instead.
Stuck buckets used to happen to me all the time, so I tried carrying a pliers around with me so I could wrestle buckets apart when they stuck together. I finally broke my pliers, so I knew I had to find a better way.
Here’s the quickest, easiest way to unstick 2 plastic buckets from each other. All you need is your foot, arms and back muscles.
In case you can’t tell what’s going on from my dismal illustration, here’s what you need to do.
- Turn the buckets upside down so that the open end is facing toward the ground.
- Put your foot through the handle closest to the ground. If your buckets don’t have handles – I feel bad for you – unsticking your buckets will be much harder. Skip to the end of this article for the hot water solution.
- Grasp the top bucket – the one closest to the sky – by the rim and pull up using your back muscles.
This trick will work about 95% of the time.
But! Sometimes you’ll have stuck buckets so vicious that you’ll need to go a step further. The hot water treatment.
- Take your stuck buckets into the bathroom with you and run the outer bucket under hot water for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Rotate your buckets so the hot water runs evenly over the entire outside.
- Try prying them apart again using the foot trick. It should slip easily now.
The hot water actually expands the little air pocket between the buckets so the pressure inside becomes closer to the pressure outside. It weakens the suction keeping the buckets together, making them easier to pry apart. I’m sure there’s a physics formula that explains it, but you won’t find fancy math like that here.
I’ve never met 2 stuck buckets that could stay stuck after using both of these methods. So that’s all you need to know to unstick any 2 buckets!