You’ve Probably Been Using A Can Opener Wrong

You’ve Probably Been Using A Can Opener Wrong
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There are some things that will never be replaced by an app and a sturdy, hand-cranked can opener is one of them. Unfortunately, we’re all too busy learning to code or whatever to practice our domestic skills and no one knows how to use them.

I watched this 30-second video posted to Reddit by u/dengerenger and had my entire world blown open.

No wonder the can opener always pops off halfway through and there’s shards of metal sticking out at random! No wonder I have to pry the final threads of the lid off with a butter knife! It all makes sense!

This is how I’ve been orienting my can opener:

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And this is how you’re actually supposed to orientate the can opener:

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You’re not cutting down into the lid, you’re sort of slicing the can’s head off, working horizontally instead of vertically. 

Wow. Well, I will never doubt the wisdom of a cowboy eating a can of beans by the campfire again. It’s just the easiest meal. Especially once you know how to correctly open the can.


  • Until you get the cans with the super high rim.

    Also, all cans should be stackable with their own brand at the minimum.

  • If you’ve ever seen an electric can opener, you’d know you were using your mechanical can opener wrong. But you were probably taught to use it wrong, ON PURPOSE by your parents.

    If you start using it the “correct” way, you’ll quickly find out why.

    If you use a can opener the way explained in this article, you leave a razor sharp edge on your can, and a nice dull edge on the lid you instantly threw away. This is fine if you’re getting all your food out of the can and throwing the can away.

    However, if you plan on eating out of the can, or using half the food out of your can and putting the rest in the fridge for later; you will WANT to use your can opener wrong – because it leaves the razor sharp edge on the lid that you instantly throw away, and a nice dull edge on the can that you’re about to be handling.

    If you’re having problems with the can opener riding out of the can, or leaving razor sharp shards and you having to pry it apart with a butter knife, it’s time to buy a new can opener with a nice sharp blade. (ie. An expensive one from one of those kitchen shops. Not the cheapest one you can find at your local supermarket)

    • Further to xqx, if you are planning to only use part of the can contents, and intend to fit a reusable cover, you will find that they have nothing to latch on too using the ‘correct’ way.

  • In addition to the super sharp edge, the other annoying consequence of using the can opener horizontally is that many canned products are filled to the brim and spill as soon as the lid is cut off. So I suggest having a plate under to collect the spillage.

  • The lip on cans was different many years ago, holding the can opener vertically was not a problem in days gone by.

    So your old can opener may not work properly but a good one will. I have one that is made specifically to work horizontally and it does work well. The really old ones that are basically a levered knife which you probably find hard to find these days will always work, but leave a nasty serrated edge.

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