The 1-Minute Trick You Should Do the Next Time You Pull Out Your Can Opener

updated Dec 9, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Can openers don’t appear to get too dirty. They’re a kitchen tool that gets grabbed from the drawer, used for a task that no other tool can accomplish as readily, and then probably gets a quick rinse at most.

But all manner of tomato sauce and black bean juice can get squirted and splashed onto your can opener and into its inner workings. And with the tiny gear teeth and hidden screws that make up even a simple can opener, these bits of food sit and linger and crust on and grow bacteria that could theoretically be introduced to the food in the next can you go to open.

Even after a more thorough washing with a dish rag or scrub brush, it’s challenging to get all the nooks and crannies of a can opener clean. But there’s a simple, inexpensive trick that can help. And you already have what you need.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Why You Should Use Wax Paper to Clean Your Can Opener

Using wax paper to clean your can opener accomplishes the task quickly and easily. Running the thick paper through the gears helps gently dislodge any deep, hidden grime — and the wax lubricates your tool for smoother operation at the same time.

Running your can opener over the wax paper is close to bubble-wrap popping levels of fun for me, and seeing the black crud that you’re getting off of your kitchen tool is equally satisfying.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Here’s how to use wax paper to clean your can opener:

  1. Tear off a sheet of wax paper, about 4 inches in width.
  2. Fold the wax paper in half width wise, and then in half length wise.
  3. Run your can opener over the long section of the wax paper on both sides.
  4. Fold the wax paper in half lengthwise again.
  5. Repeat, running your can opener over the wax paper several times, using both sides.
  6. Keep going until no new gunk comes off on the wax paper.

You may need to rip off a new sheet of wax paper through the process, especially if it’s been a while since you last cleaned your can opener. But when doing it is this easy, you can make it part of your regular routine.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This 1-Minute Trick is the Easiest Way to Clean Your Can Opener