Since can openers are used in prep and not cooking, it is easy to believe that they don’t need proper cleaning like other kitchen supplies.

Don’t fall into that group of thinking.

Since can openers are made of metallic principals, and since they often are put to use around liquid foods, they run the risk of rusting and or harboring bacteria if not cleaned properly. Try to ensure that your can opener is made from stainless steel. Stainless steel products tend to be more rust-resistant, and are also relatively easy to clean.

The rule of thumb for can openers and any other metal tool or appliance is to ensure that it is totally dry once cleaning is complete. Metal tends to rust when it is not dried properly, which can create a headache all on its own.

Obviously the process of cleaning a can opener hinges on whether it is a manual or electric model. Below, we will breakdown the most effective ways to clean and maintain both types of can opener.

Manual Can Openers

Manual Can Openers are the most simple to clean and maintain since they have no spare parts or electronic components. Most models are dishwasher safe, and thus a breeze to clean. Don’t have a dishwasher in the kitchen? Fear not. Some warm water, dish soap, and a good scrub with a sponge are generally enough to get a thorough clean. Try to remember to wash your can opener after each use; whether you think it has interacted with the contents of the can or not.

If you have an old can opener lying around that is rusty, don’t fret. Make sure to avoid using any products that show the subtlest hint of rust as this is a surefire way to potentially get yourself sick. Instead, fill a bowl or pot with white or apple cider vinegar, enough so that your can opener can sit fully submerged. Allow to soak over night, and let the vinegar go to work. Once completed, remove the can opener and grab something with a brittle and fine brush. A toothbrush or sponge should do the trick. Give the appliance a deep scrub and make sure to remove all the visible rust from the surface. Once spotless, make sure to rinse off any remaining vinegar on the can opener by giving it a thorough wash under a warm tap with some dish soap. Be sure to dry completely, and your can opener will be good as new!

Electronic Can Openers

Electronic Can Openers are slightly more difficult to clean, if only because you can simply rinse them off in the sink or toss them in the dishwasher. The first rule of thumb is that whenever you use your can opener, make sure to unplug it and immediately begin the cleaning process. We advise to wet a sponge or paper towel with warm water and a touch of dish soap. Give the metal on your opener a solid scrub down, and ensure that it is fully dry once completed.

If your electronic can opener requires a more thorough clean, you can remove the elements that interact with food while in use. Namely, the cutting wheel and lid holder. Once again, make sure that your can opener is unplugged from any outlet. Once removed, grab a bowl or pot and submerge in warm water mixed with a dash of dish soap. As with the manual can openers, allow these pieces to soak from anywhere from a few hours to overnight. When that process is completely, remove the cutting wheel and lid holder and give a good scrub to remove any visible rust or detritus. We recommend a fresh sponge or brillo pad, although a fresh toothbrush will also work. Allow to dry completely before placing the pieces back in their respective spots.