7 ways to remove a cork without a corkscrew

Removing cork from bottle
Removing cork from bottle (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’re hosting a celebration, have just moved, or simply fancy a glass of wine, it’s always a nuisance when you can’t find your corkscrew. 

But don't despair: There are some clever tricks to remove a cork without a corkscrew that are relatively easy and inexpensive. In fact, some of the best alternatives are simple household tools lying around. The idea is to find a tool that mimics the traditional, corkscrew method of inserting a sharp prong into the cork, and using an exterior lever to extract the cork from the bottle. 

And while there were plenty of online hacks to do this, we’ve chosen the safer methods. Bear in mind, that you should only use one item at a time when removing a cork without a corkscrew, and proceed with caution. Plus remember to do this away from crowded areas. So if you find yourself in a wine emergency, here’s how to remove a cork without a corkscrew.

You might also need to know how to remove red wine stains from carpet and clothes, or if you have stains on leather items, check out how to clean leather to restore its shine.  

1. Using a screw and hammer  

Screws and a hammer

Screws and a hammer (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Begin by removing the foil that covers the cork of the wine bottle. Then take a long screw (the longer, the better), and use a screwdriver to drive the screw down into the middle of the cork. Rotate until it has about an inch left above the cork. Then, take the backside of the hammer, position the pincers to lock under the screw, before carefully pulling the cork out. This may require some strength to extract the cork out, but it is a proven method! 

2. Twist out with keys or serrated knife 


Keys (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similar to the method above, simply push your keys or a serrated knife into the cork at a 45-degree angle, moving the top of the item in a circle. Slowly twist the cork upwards, which should eventually come out after a couple of rotations. 

If using a knife, proceed with caution when twisting to avoid accidents, and try not to damage valuable keys!  

3. The wooden spoon method 

Holding a wooden spoon

Holding a wooden spoon (Image credit: Shutterdtock)

This is relatively easy since it involves pushing the cork down, rather than pulling up. Find a long-handled wooden spoon and push the handle down into the top of the cork. You can also do this with any blunt utensil or object. 

Then, using a little force, push the cork down into the bottle of wine. This should make the cork slide into the contents of the bottle. The only caveat is that the cork may crumble and shed into the wine once pushed in. However, you can just pour the wine through a strainer to remove unwanted cork pieces.

4. The hanger hook method 

Holding a white wire hanger

Holding a white wire hanger (Image credit: Shutterstock)

First, thoroughly wash and dry a wire hanger before bending the tip about 30 degrees back to resemble a fish hook. Next, wiggle the hook down into the neck of the bottle, alongside the cork. Rotate the wire 90 degrees to ensure the hook is underneath the cork, before simply pulling the wire until the cork eases up. If the wire gets stuck, you can always use pliers to give it a good tug.  

5. Use scissors to twist out the cork 

Scissors with orange handles

Scissors with orange handles (Image credit: Shutterstock)

First, get a pair of household scissors and carefully plunge one blade of the scissors into the middle of the cork, until all the way in. Next, gently twist the handles of the scissors, and pull upward until the cork is loose enough to remove from the bottle. 

Again, take caution when using sharp scissors to avoid any accidents.  

6. The bike pump method 

Blue bike pump

Blue bike pump (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you own a bicycle, simply take a pump (that has a needle attached to it), and insert needle through the cork. Ensure it’s all the way through until the needle reaches the air between the cork and the wine. Then, slowly pump air into the bottle. Keep pumping until the cork begins to move out of the bottle due to the air pressure. Just be sure you're doing this on a flat surface, preferably on the ground.

7. The shoe method

This is the most unorthodox — and risks spilling wine if you're not careful — but it works. Remove the foil from the top of a wine bottle, and place the bottom of your wine bottle in a shoe. (Pick a shoe with a good rubber sole, and not, say, a stiletto.) Holding the shoe and the bottle horizontally, bang the bottom of the shoe against a wall. The the wine inside the bottle should force the cork out. It will take a number of whacks to get the cork out, and be mindful that you might get wine all over the place!

Can I still drink wine if cork gets into the bottle? 

Wine glasses on dinner table

Wine glasses on dinner table (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you do find broken bits of cork floating in your wine, it’s perfectly safe to drink (albeit unpleasant). However, the best course of action is to filter the wine through a fine strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filter. This will catch any bits of cork, and be more enjoyable for yourself and your guests. 

Got more than just wine stains to remove? Well, here's how to remove oil stains from clothes without ruining them. And learn how to clean a leather couch to remove everyday stains. Also take a look at the 11 things you didn't know you could clean with toothpaste

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!