How to Open a Sealed Cremation Urn

Posted on March 20, 2022 by Maine Cremation Care under Memorial Urns
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If you have recently received the cremains of your deceased loved one, you may have questions about how to open a cremation urn. Opening a cremation urn may be an emotional experience for many individuals, as it’s hard to imagine our once alive and vibrant loved ones being transformed into a few pounds of sand-like material. However, since death is an inevitable reality and an increasing number of people are choosing cremation over conventional burial, Maine Cremation Care aims to walk you through the process of opening a sealed urn and what to expect when you open an urn.

But before we get into the step-by-step guide to opening a sealed cremation urn, let’s learn what “sealed” means. A sealed urn has a lid that is secured with screws or threads and is held in place with a sealant such as an adhesive, silicone, or wax. 


Step 1 – Thoroughly Examine the Urn to Understand How You Can Open It

Different types of urns are secured in different ways. Moreover, their lid is sealed using different materials such as silicone, wax, or adhesive. 

You typically need to turn the urn upside down and unscrew the base off the bottom to open the wooden urns. To remove the screws from the bottom, you will need a screwdriver before opening an urn. On the other hand, urns made with stone often have screw-off plugs hidden at the base of the urn, which can be removed without using a screwdriver or any other special tools. You can also find traditional-shaped curved urns, which usually have a screw-on top of the urn, so you don’t have to turn this type of urn upside down. So before you actually open the seal of the urn, it is critical to thoroughly examine the type of urn and how it is secured using screws. 

Step 2 – Determine the Type of Seal Used to Secure the Lid 

Once you have thoroughly examined the urn and have unscrewed it, the next step involves determining the type of seal that is used to secure the lid. An unsealed lid would easily come off once you unscrew the lid and apply gentle pressure. However, if it seems that the lid does not come off after applying gentle pressure, it indicates that it’s a sealed urn, and the lid is secured using wax, silicone, or some other type of adhesive. 

Step 3 – Run a Cotton Swab Dipped in Fingernail Polish Remover Along the Sealed Part of the Urn

To unseal the lid, you may require a few cotton swabs, a fingernail polish remover, or an epoxy solvent. Dip the cotton swab in an epoxy solvent or a fingernail polish remover and run the cotton swab along the sealed part of the urn. You may have to repeat the process a few times and will also have to twist and wriggle the lid a few times in between to loosen up the sealant. You can also use a screwdriver with a flathead to open the sealed lid after running the dipped cotton swab over the sealed area several times. 

Step 4 – Gently Pull Off the Lid 

If silicone, wax, or an adhesive is used as a seal, running a cotton swab dipped in an epoxy solution or fingernail polish remover should do the trick but don’t forget to wiggle the lid several times during the process to loosen the glue from the lid. However, when you pull off the top, make sure to be gentle, so you don’t damage the urn.  

If you have trouble opening a sealed cremation urn despite using the steps mentioned above, you may seek help from professionals working at a cremation service. They have the experience that allows them to guide you to open a sealed cremation urn without damaging it. 

What Happens When You Open a Cremation Urn?

When you open a cremation urn that contains the remains of a person, you will likely find the cremains placed in a plastic bag, or you may expect them to be loose within the urn, depending on the type of cremation urn that is used. 

Handling Cremains

Many people find it uncomfortable to open a sealed cremation urn and handle the remains of their loved ones. And that’s completely normal. After all, seeing your living loved one transformed into sand-like material is not easy. In that case, it’s best to seek assistance from a good friend or close loved one who can support you through these difficult times. If opening a sealed urn is particularly challenging, do not hesitate to seek the assistance of a professional at a cremation service provider. 

To learn more about cremation service providers in Maine, get in touch with Maine Cremation Care today. 

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