7 Ways To Remove A Stuck Lens Filter

Welcome to a guide on how to remove a stuck lens filter. Have a stuck lens filter? Fear not. You are not alone, and this has been a common pain among photographers since the ancient days. Here are a few possible methods that may help to remove that stuck filter:

  1. Press the lens down on a rubber mat and twist.
  2. Use a pair of filter wrenches.
  3. Screw another filter on top and attempt to remove both of them.
  4. Wrap the filter with a large rubber band to provide more grip for removing.
  5. Freeze and unfreeze the filter. The temperature difference may help to loosen the filter.
  6. Cut a notch in the filter and use a file to loosen the filter.
  7. Tape the filter and smash it.

That covers the basics. Some of these, I have personally tried and they worked really well… While a few of these may just be plain dumb “Internet remedies”. Try at your own risk. 😛




Methods that work Somehow works WTF!?
Did it work?



These are the methods that I have personally tried, tested, and proven to be working. At least they worked for me 99 out of 100 times; There is a good chance to un-stuck your filters with these methods.



Tools required: Rubber mouse pad or anti-slip pad.

This is one of the easiest and most efficient methods that I have used. Be it a filter stuck to a lens, or 2 filters stuck together. All you will need is a simple rubber mat – A mouse pad, or one of those cheap anti-slip pads used in cars.

Press the filter down against the rubber mat, and give it a twist. The filter should come off pretty easily. But do note that this method will not work if you have a stuck circular polarizer… The filter will just turn along as you twist.




Tools required: A pair of filter wrenches.

The next best method that I know of, and will require a very affordable pair of filter wrenches. Very easy to use – Just grab the lens with one wrench, grab the filter with the other. Then simply screw them apart (turn the wrench holding the filter).



These methods, they work… somehow. Sometimes they work really well, sometimes nothing much happens except for frustration. Just don’t count on these methods too much. It’s 50-50.



Tools required: A cheap UV filter or step-down ring.

How do you get a stuck filter out without using any tools? Screw another filter on top of it. The idea is to increase the surface area you can grab, and thus making it easier to unscrew. But there is a problem with this method – You might get 2 stuck filters instead. Which, you might be able to unstuck with a rubber mat.

Quick note: If you do not want to risk getting another filter stuck, you can use a step-down ring instead.




Tools required: Rubber band, or resistance loop band

This method only applies to the circular polarizer or similar “spinning” filters. It only worked for me after struggling for a few minutes, but it’s still worth a try. Simply strap a thick rubber band on the filter. Grab the part that does not move, and try to unscrew it. The rubber band should give you more grip, more area, and thus more turning force to release the stuck.

Quick note: You can also use a piece of rough-textured cloth or anything that can help you get more grip.



When all else fails, we pray to the filter gods. The methods described in this section are rather dangerous… But desperate times call for desperate measures. Just don’t ever attempt to do these otherwise.



Tools required: Ziploc bag, silica gel

The “mythical science” method is what I call this. I tried it once, did not work, and will never use this method again. You can try this out of desperation if you want to. Put the stuck filter into a Ziploc bag along with some silica gel (or a piece of bread if you don’t have silica gel), and let them sit in the freezer for 30 mins. Then, take the lens out from the freezer and try to unscrew them.

The silica gel (or piece of bread) is supposedly used to absorb moisture to prevent a wet lens, and the sudden change from cold to warm will supposedly help to release the filter with contraction/expansion… Supposedly. Well, this method did not work for me, but who knows?

Quick note: This might help if you can freeze the filter only, causing it to contract and thus, easier to remove.




Tools required: Clamp, saw, straight file

When the “soft methods” don’t work, it is time for heavy-duty tools. Use a hacksaw to partially cut the filter, create something like a notch, then use a file to turn it like a screwdriver. This will potentially destroy your filter and your entire lens if you are not careful.



Tools required: Hammer, pliers

When everything else fails, it’s time for the ultimate solution. Smash the filter, break the ring, and save the lens. Just be very careful to not smash the entire lens, and tape the filter before smashing it.




We have come to the end of this guide, and I hope one of these methods helped you to get out of the sticky situation. Which method worked for you, and do you have better ways to remove a stuck filter? Let us know in the comments section below. Good luck and happy shooting!

3 thoughts on “7 Ways To Remove A Stuck Lens Filter”

  1. I used a duct clamp firmly tightened around the filter to give extra traction, tapped the screw lightly with a small hammer and voila, it came unfrozen and came off, No damage, just a $1.49 investment.

    1. I had a filter that had jammed due to impact, distorting the threads. On Gordon Keen’s advice, I used a hose clamp to firmly, but not excessively grip the filter. That gave me enough grip to remove it. If I had needed more torque, a thin small rubber band around the filter first would have evened the pressure more.

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