Why Soap makes it easier to remove a tight ring?


So whenever I try to remove a tight ring whilst dry, it’s almost impossible yet soap / hand wash makes it a breeze? What does the soap do in order to make the ring much easier to slip off?

In: Chemistry

When you’re tugging on the ring, there are two forces in play: you trying to make the ring slide, and friction trying to keep it in place. If friction > the force you’re applying, the ring doesn’t move.

Soap is a lubricant, which reduces the friction between the ring and your finger. That makes it more likely that friction < the force you’re applying, so the ring begins to move. Once it starts moving, friction is typically lower, so if it starts to move it will typically keep moving.

Even a tight ring is easy to remove if you know the trick, which I learned from a jeweler.

When you pull on a ring, the skin on that finger bunches up between the ring and your knuckle.

The trick is to push the ring up and outwards, from the palm side of your hand, the inside.

Then the skin cannot bunch up in the way and you’ll be able to push the ring outward, over that knuckle and off your finger.

No soap or greasy stuff required.