How to Clean a Can Opener Easily and Effectively

How to Clean a Can Opener Easily and Effectively
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Amongst all the kitchen tools and appliances you own, the very last thing you think of cleaning is a can opener. We tend to believe that this is something that you use and stuff back into the drawer once you are done. In reality, it is important to know how to clean a can opener for so many reasons.

Can openers are known to get grimy over time. The more you use it without cleaning it, the more bits of food, flakes of metal, dirt and more get lodged into it and become very tough to clean it out. At times, the opener could also be rusted.

Using dishwashing soap and some water could help to a certain extent, but won’t be able to truly clean the opener and make it sanitary. So, if you’re looking for tips to clean a can opener, just keep scrolling below.

Why Clean a Can Opener

For anyone who wants their kitchen and all the tools and appliances clean, having your can opener cleaned regularly is imperative. Most of us use can openers regularly. For instance, you are very likely to open a can of tomatoes with a can opener.

You are well aware that every time you open the can, there is always some amount of that tomato or the puree that smears all over the can opener’s blade. If this is left, it will continue to build up and will become a dark and rusty brown residue, and home to some nasty bacteria.

As such, when you use this same dirty can opener to open another can, this dirt could seep into the contents of that can, which you ultimately end up ingesting. Not only is that completely unsanitary, but it can also cause some serious health issues.

How to Clean a Can Opener

There are actually a couple of ways you can clean a can opener, but it all comes down to the very same method. So, we will talk about that in detail and also list some other helpful ways that will keep your can opener clean.

1. Using the Dishwasher

Let’s start from the simplest possible method, which is throwing the can opener in the dishwasher every time you use it. It is the easiest way to keep it clean but do remember that not every can opener is dishwasher safe.

Thus, you must find out whether your existing can opener can be washed in a dishwasher or not. Alternatively, you can pick up a new can opener which is dishwasher safe.

2. Cleaning with Vinegar

If you own a can opener that cannot be washed in a dishwasher, then you need to go all out with the following cleaning process to make your can opener sparkling new.


  • A tall and narrow container or a mason jar
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Dish towel
  • An old toothbrush


  1. You first need to begin this cleaning process by soaking the can opener.
  2. Put the opener inside the container or the mason jar.
  3. Fill the entire container with the white distilled vinegar (you can also substitute this with apple cider vinegar). Make sure that the vinegar is covering all the working parts of the opener. Stick to using mason jars or containers, as they need lesser vinegar as compared to a bowl.
  4. Leave the can opener submerged in vinegar for a couple of minutes. In case the opener is extremely dirty, then let it sit in there for a couple of hours.
  5. You will begin to see bubbles coming off from the opener’s gear. It is also possible that you will see some of that dirt coming off and floating inside the jar. We recommend you be very patient with this process.
  6. Once you are satisfied with how much of the dirt has come out or loosened, it is time to bring that container over a sink.
  7. Remove the can opener from the container and take your toothbrush to scrub all the parts and gears of the can opener fully. The number of times you need to do this process entirely depends on how bad the condition of the can opener is. If once is not enough, dunk the opener back in the vinegar for a while and repeat this same process until the opener is clean.
  8. Once you feel that the can opener is clean enough, take some of the dish soap on to the toothbrush.
  9. Scrub the can opener with the soapy toothbrush. Give the entire can opener a good scrub and then rinse it. This step ensures to get rid of any of the lingering bits of the dirt.
  10. Once the can opener is fully clean, you can wipe it dry with a dish towel.
  11. Do not store the can opener wet as it will begin to rust again. Now you can admire your can opener that’s as good as new.

What About Electric Can Openers?

Electric can openers are unfortunately tougher to clean, especially if the dirt is set up well on it. The best way you can clean an electric can opener is with the help of elbow grease and vinegar again.

Start by checking whether your electric can opener and its cutting wheel or lever can be removed or not. If it can be removed, follow the same process we have mentioned above.

Make sure you also scrub the opener’s body, everything around the opener’s mechanism, and everything else as well. Also, ensure that you switch off the machine or pull out the batteries when you do this.

For those who have electric can openers wherein the lever and the blade cannot be removed, we are sorry to tell that your only option, if it is very dirty, is to get rid of it and buy a new one. These are pretty much impossible to clean.


As you can see, knowing how to clean a can opener is not a difficult process at all. The most important thing you need is vinegar as it effectively removes or loosens all the dirt and rust from the can opener. We recommend you thoroughly clean and wipe your can opener every time you use it instead of letting it become too dirty.

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