How to Fix a Can Opener: A Simple Guide

How to Fix a Can Opener
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There are many times when can openers have proven their value, but admit it, we rarely think about cleaning them or repairing them when they malfunction. If you wish to learn how to fix a can opener and maintain its functionality, this article has got you covered.

Can openers come in various models. Manual can openers are the traditional types that require turning a crank to rotate the blade. On the other hand, commercial can openers are used in commercial kitchen establishments and consist of two moving parts and a gear mechanism.

The newest type of can openers are the electric can openers, which are battery-powered to automatically cut and open can lids. Below, we demonstrate how you can repair each of these types of can openers.

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How to Fix a Can Opener

The problem starts when manual can openers get stuck or when electric can openers stop rotating. Fortunately, any malfunction is relatively easy to fix. In fact, sometimes, it can be repaired through common sense. An average person can fix it in several minutes.

This portion shows the step-by-step process in fixing different types of can openers.

Fixing a Manual Can Opener

The common problem of manual can openers is that they get harder to turn in time. Because of regular wear and tear, rotating the knob would require more and more effort. What’s worse is when the knob no longer rotates.

There is one very simple solution to this: a cooking spray. Any kind of oil, such as canola oil or vegetable oil, will do. Spray or apply a dab directly to the gears and parts of the can opener. In less than a minute, the problem is solved!

Another problem with manual can openers is the build-up of rust. This is an unavoidable scenario. Just before you notice it, there is already rust in a few parts of the tool. The solution is to clean the tool properly, which we will share with you how to do in the latter part of this article.

Fixing a Commercial Can Opener

Commercial can openers are more heavy-duty and long-lasting than their counterparts. There are four possible reasons why they stop to work. Nevertheless, each kind of malfunction can be easily solved in less than an hour.

Here are the proper ways on how to fix each problem:

  • The handle knob needs a replacement if it is cracked or spins freely on the center post. All you need to do is this: Find the screw under the handle. Using a screwdriver, loosen the post and replace the handle knob with a new one.
  • If the can opener skips parts of the lid unopened, the blade is probably the problem. To replace the blade, unscrew the middle of the blade front. Take the blade carefully by lifting it off the opener. Then, place the new blade in place. Tighten the screw to secure the new blade.
  • Another common problem of commercial can openers is when dirt or debris of food gets stuck. To remove these unwanted elements, clean all the gears with dishwashing liquid, water, and a scrub pad. Make sure to reach all the teeth of the gears. Afterward, rinse and air-dry the can opener.
  • If all of the above solutions do not fix the can opener, the gear parts may have loosened. As a result, it does not catch on the gear. Find the screw that holds the parts together, and tighten the screw little by little. Check the opener on every turn of the screw until it has the sufficient tightness to catch on the gear.
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Fixing an Electric Can Opener

Most problems of electric can openers can be either electrical or mechanical. The gear can become greasy or worn, it may malfunction or be filled with food or metallic pieces, or the switches and cords can be defective.

Luckily, any average person can fix an electric can opener. The tools you may need are a screwdriver, wrench, sandpaper, pliers, electric contact cleaner, multimeter, and white lubricant. Sometimes, though, soapy water and a sponge are enough to fix the problem.

To repair any malfunctions of an electric can opener, you need to disassemble it first. To do that properly, here are the steps:

1. Unplug the power cord.

2. Loosen the housing screws and take the housing from the back plate.

3. Remove the motor screws and cautiously take the motor off the housing.

4. Unscrew the internal gears according to the can opener manual.

Fixing the Can Opener’s Power Switch

If the on/off switch malfunctions, here is the proper way to repair it:

1. Remove the housing.

2. Unscrew the cover of the switch and clean its contacts with fine sandpaper. Then, remove any sanding residue from all the gears.

3. If necessary, bend the switch contacts with pliers. This is to create a secure contact between the leaves when the switch is pressed.

How to Clean a Can Opener

Every now and then, the problem is as simple as food pieces stuck between the gears. This is why is it important to clean the can opener regularly to ensure optimal performance. Doing so also increases its functional life.

Cleaning an Electric Can Opener

To clean an electric can opener, disconnect the clatter and shaft first. Then, wash them in hot water with a brush or sponge. Do it carefully so that you don’t get cut by the blade.

Once you’re done with the washing, dry all the parts using a clean cloth before putting them back together.

Cleaning a Manual or Commercial Can Opener

Most of the time, manual and commercial can openers accumulate rust and other dirt. To remove them, you need white or apple cider vinegar, an old brush, a scrub, and water.

Soak the handheld can opener in a bowl filled with vinegar. For larger can openers, dab the vinegar on all parts and gears.

Leave the vinegar on for several hours or overnight depending on the amount of rust or dirt buildup. Then, scrub the rust or dirt away. Rinse it with water and dry all of its parts with a clean cloth.


Let’s face it: can openers often get unnoticed. We use them but fail to recognize that they also need to be cleaned thoroughly. Until such time that they malfunction is the only time when we realize that we need to repair them.

Any type of can opener is prone to malfunction, breakage, and rust. Fortunately, it takes less than an hour to repair, especially if you know how to fix a can opener.

Fixing a can opener does not require expert knowledge or advanced tools. The technique is to identify the problem and apply appropriate methods to address it. Generally, malfunctions can be simply solved by cleaning the can opener.

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