How To Untangle A Necklace & Get That Knot Out For Good

Being stuck behind slow walkers on the sidewalk, getting to the gym and realizing you forgot your headphones, sitting on an hour-long Zoom call for something that literally could’ve been an email, etc.—we’re all too familiar with these little nuances that cause that special “I just want to scream for a second” type of frustration. But, I think it’s safe to say there’s almost nothing in the world as uniquely annoying as trying to untangle a necklace. You know, you’ll sit there for what feels like days trying to pick apart impossible knots to no avail, and your favorite piece of jewelry is now a lost cause. It’s a defeat like no other. Don’t worry, though—there actually are ways to get the job done.

There are tons of hacks on the internet that promise to work like a charm, but they’re not always the safest route when it comes to untangling necklaces. A lot of them can ending up damaging the chain or causing discolorations, which we obviously want to avoid. So today, we’re here to share some our favorite safe and effective ways of untangling a necklace chain. No more cramped up fingers or shrinking jewelry collections—it’s time to untangle smarter, not harder:


How To Untangle a Necklace


Warm, Soapy Water

This method is super reliable, and should definitely be your first go-to approach for dealing with tangled necklaces as it’s mess free and simple to do. If you can, try to remove any pendants that the knot isn’t blocking from your necklace as an extra precaution.

Materials: warm water, dish soap or unscented shampoo, a flat surface, sewing needle or safety pin

1. Soak your necklace in warm water and mild soap to loosen the knot. If the chain is tangled very tightly, gently rub the knot between your fingertips to help the process.

2. Once the knot is loosened, lay your necklace on a flat surface where the non-tangled part is safe from potential entanglement.

3. If the knot is loose enough, you may be able to undo it with your fingers. But if it’s still pretty tight, you can use a small, thin tool like a sewing needle or safety pin to work out the knot. Gently place the tip of your tool inside the center of the knot and move it in a circle to loosen it. Keep going until you can pull the untangled chain out of the knot.


Baby Powder

The baby powder approach is obviously a little messier than simple soap and water, but it acts a 10/10 lubricant between the chain links that allows knots to come undone without having to pull the necklace too harshly. If you can, try to remove any pendants that the knot isn’t blocking from your necklace as an extra precaution.

Materials: baby powder, a flat surface, sewing needle or safety pin, warm water, mild soap, paper towels

1. Lay your necklace onto a flat surface (once again, to avoid further tangling) and douse the entire chain with a layer of baby powder.

2. Gently rub the knot with your fingers, or use a safety pin or sewing needle if the knot is still too tight. 

3. Once the knot is gone, rinse the necklace off with warm water and mild soap, and pat dry with a paper towel. 


Baby Oil 

Baby oil works in a really similar way to baby powder in that it helps the chain links easily come undone without any kind of damaging twisting and pulling that can end up breaking the chain.

Materials: Baby oil, cotton swab, a flat surface, sewing needle or safety pin, warm water, mild soap, paper towels

1. Dip a cotton swab in the baby oil and dab the necklace knot to loosen up the chains. For very stubborn knots, gently work the oil into the knot by massaging that specific area until the center of the knot starts to give. 

2. Once the knot loosens up, use your fingers (or sewing needle or safety pin if it’s still pretty tight) to untangle to knot completely. 

3. Rinse your necklace with mild soap and warm water, then gently pat dry with a paper towel. 


Specific Kinds of Tangles

Maybe you’re dealing with something a bit more tricky than your average knotted necklace. Stressful! But don’t worry, there are some specific approaches to safely help these kinds of tangles find their way:

Thin necklaces

Use the baby oil method and a thin pin needle to gently pull at the center of the knot. Thin chains are very fragile, so be especially careful with how hard you’re tugging. 

A bunch of necklaces

To tackle that mess in your jewelry box, the baby oil method and a thin pin needle are your best friends. While using your fingers can work, anything bigger than a safety pin or sewing needle will be too thick for multiple chains. 

A necklace already on your neck

Bring the knot to the front of your neck for optimum vision. Then, use either the baby oil or baby powder methods. Try to avoid using any pins for safety purposes, and have it removed by a jeweler if it’s not budging. 

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