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Cleaning Can Openers

Category Kitchen
Can openers need to be cleaned regularly to remove the buildup of the dried can contents that collect on them with normal usage. This is a page about cleaning can openers.


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By 11 found this helpful
October 18, 2010

To clean and disinfect the wheel of a can opener, just use white vinegar and an old tooth brush. Dip the toothbrush in the vinegar and scrub clean. Swish in hot soapy water and rinse.

By Ron from Cortez, CO

Comment Was this helpful? 11

July 29, 2017

I've always used a hand held can opener. I can always put it away after using and cleaning. I think under the cabinet mounted openers are unsightly. I'm funny that way. (Well, that's one way). And I doubt that most mounted openers get a thorough cleaning after each use.

I thought long and hard before purchasing the pictured opener. I had never paid 9 dollars for one. As a matter of fact, I'd never paid half that for one. I read the guarantee on the package label. It seemed unconditional. The gears were the heaviest I had seen on a manual model. Reluctantly, I shelled out the 9 dollars and made sure I kept the receipt. (Have you ever noticed money seems to be the only thing people ever 'shell out')?


I brought the opener home, washed it, and gave it a run for its money. Man, it went through that can lid like a hot knife through butter. I thought to myself, 'I think I'm gonna like this little jewel'.

I decided to keep the packaging with the guarantee. Before putting it away, I read the care instructions for the opener. I was taken back a bit when I read to never immerse the opener in water. Strange. How are you supposed to clean the thing?

I began to think about this warning. Why was it such? I concluded that the gears were made of hardened steel, not softer stainless steel or other rust resistant alloys. Hardened steel as in an axe has almost no protection against rust.

It stands to reason, the longer the opener stayed immersed the more it would rust, though each immersion may cause an imperceptible amount of rusting. That rusting would literally eat away the gears over time.

I have always washed my opener after each use with soap and a stiff brush. I carefully dried it and put it away. My problem was, I did all this after the opener had been immersed in water, usually for some time. That's what caused the demise of the opener I was replacing. The gear teeth had over time, literally rusted away.

I love ammonia for cleaning. It cuts grease like nothing else. If you want to know how dirty you walls are, move a piece of furniture that normally hides a portion of a wall and spritz a small area with ammonia from a spray bottle. You may see some grime running down the wall.

Knowing how ammonia will loosen grease and melt it away, I keep a spray bottle of it at my sink. It cleans under hoods like you wouldn't believe. When I'm finished with my new opener I give it a spray with clear ammonia, scrub with a brush a second or two, then rinse with another spray of ammonia, enough to drip into the sink. Then I carefully pat it dry, paying attention to the gears. No immersion in water.

I have a feeling it may be a long time before I need to purchase another opener. Yes!

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 1

May 6, 2014

Sometimes I just ramble through ThriftyFun to see what I can see. I was looking at the posts on can openers and two things came to mind.

I sometimes put both my hand held ones and the business portion of my electric one in the dishwasher.


I also put them in a small saucepan and boil them for a few minutes. You'd be amazed what comes to the top of that water! I have been also known to Brillo them.

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By 1 found this helpful
April 17, 2018

A piece of wet aluminum foil rubbed over a rusty item will remove the rust. Try it. I just saved myself from purchasing a new can opener.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 9, 2012

Why is it everytime I buy a can opener it only last for a few months and then it rust and becomes difficult to use? I heard you are not supposed to submerge them in water, but how should you clean them then? Any suggestions?


By Onesummer


July 9, 20120 found this helpful

We've had this U.S.A. made Swing-A-Way for fifteen years and it shows no signs of wearing out: around $9 online. Here's a link to a picture I found that most closely resembles ours.

http://www.aceh  roductId=1278254

All I do is rinse it off under hot water, dab the excess water off with a towel, put it in the dish drainer to air dry before putting it back into an enclosed drawer. Hope that makes your life easier!

One thing I have noticed: you know when you use a 'regular' can opener and you hear sound of air escaping from the hole being punched in the lid so you know the can opener has grabbed? I notice this one not doing that, but instead of thinking 'it's going to work' if I start to turn the handles it just starts cutting away. Read some reviews online & see if it would be better for you.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 10, 20120 found this helpful

Vinegar will clean off rust. Soak just that the cutting part in vinegar. You can also use WD-40 to remove the rust (and then clean & dry thorougly). Also, scrubby powder and a scrub pad (the green ones) and then clean and dry thorougly.


The best bet is never to let it rust heavily (they all seem to rust eventually) in the first place. Wash and dry the cutting part thoroughly (by hand) each time you use it. You don't have to wash the handles every time...if you worry about germs on them, spritz with rubbing alcohol, vinegar, etc.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 10, 20120 found this helpful

As a postscript, the rust is not likely to hurt you anyway....don't toss them for a bit of rust. Will probably give you some extra iron. Just my opinion, I have used hand can openers exclusively for years and I am still here.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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