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Why You Should Definitely Be Cleaning That Can Opener

A woman opens a can with a can opener
Venus Angel/Shutterstock.com

There’s no shortage of random gadgets in most kitchens. From the items in the junk drawer to those handy tools you’re always reaching for, all of them tend to get overlooked when you’re cleaning. There’s one in particular, though, that you might want to make sure gets a more regular sanitizing.

Washing your can opener can go a long way toward preventing the spread of bacteria. If you haven’t been cleaning your handheld can opener regularly, it could be harboring anything from mold and yeast to E. coli and salmonella.

Because food waste can come in contact with the gears and blade, it can remain there and grow into dangerous germs and bacteria according to a 2013 study by NSF International. 

So how do you clean and disinfect it?

KitchenAid Classic Multifunction Can Opener

If your can opener has rust, it might be time to replace it.

If you’ve got a dishwasher-safe can opener, it’s as simple as popping it in the dishwasher and running the cycle. If, however, it’s not, the cleaning process is still pretty simple. You’ll wash the can opener with warm soapy water paying particular attention to the area around the blades in order to ensure the removal of residue. Then, rinse with clean water and air dry before using.

As for electric can openers, those also still need cleaning, but it’s a little different. You’ll first unplug the opener. Then, wipe the opener down with a sponge dampened with warm, soapy water. Remove the cutting wheel and life holder and soak them in hot, soapy water. While those are soaking, use a toothbrush to remove stubborn food particles in a tight space. Dry all of the parts, reassemble, and you’ve got a clean can opener.

While you’re doing your kitchen spring cleaning, don’t forget about your small kitchen gadgets as well.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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