I have a plastic grocery bag, but the top is tied very tightly in a knot like the image below.

tight knot

I would prefer to not rip open the side of the bag because I would like to reuse it.

I would use a fork if I had one at hand, but I don't usually carry a fork (or anything that could be used as a fork) around with me. The knot is too tight for me to untie it with my fingers. Is there any method or strategy I can use to untie it with only my fingers and without ripping it open?

2 Answers 2


Twist one of the handles until it becomes hard, then use it to push that handle through the knot.

  • 2
    @J.Musser What sort of detail do you imagine Tim might add? This answer seems complete to me. I'd hate to see it ruined by the addition of a whole lot of waffle. Dec 24, 2014 at 3:54
  • 1
    @J.Musser I'm sorry to say, I don't see all that many steps that this could be broken down into.
    – Shokhet
    Dec 24, 2014 at 5:32
  • I use the variant of this answer where I actually twist BOTH handles and then push them together until it opens.
    – TecBrat
    Dec 24, 2014 at 13:47
  • You’ve got to be kidding me. My life has turned over a new leaf.
    – fregante
    Dec 9, 2020 at 4:01

What often works for me is:

  1. grab each "side" of the knot between thumb and index finger of respective hands.
  2. "Work" the knot by twisting it back and forward repeatedly. i.e. counter rotate hands first one way then the other.
  3. After some time it will loosen and you can then grab a loop of the knot and pull it free.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.