Clean Your Gross Can Opener With Q-Tips

Photo: Claire Lower
Photo: Claire Lower

I consider myself a clean person, but I had a real “damn bitch, you live like this?” moment when I was forced to inspect the state of my can opener. I had been browsing the web, looking for inspiration, when I came upon an article from The Kitchn that boasted a “1-minute trick” for cleaning your gross, shameful can opener.

There’s no moment like the present to try a new trick, so I went to my kitchen and pulled out my red Martha Stewart-brand can opener and discovered that it was, in fact, quite disgusting and shameful.

I have a shame. (Photo: Claire Lower)

Obviously, something had to be done, so I decided to do the thing The Kitchn told me to. The Kitchn suggests running a folded sheet of wax paper through the can opener, which is supposed to deep clean the innards of the opener, while lubing it up at the same time:

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.

Given the sorry state of my can opener, I decided it was only fair that I give my can opener a good scrubbing before trying the wax paper. So I cleaned it with a bristle brush (and hot soap and water), dried it off, then ran the folded piece of waxed paper through the can opener.

Some gunk was removed (Photo: Claire Lower)

The paper removed some gunk, but a visual inspection revealed that it was not enough gunk.

Photo: Claire Lower

Maybe the wax paper trick is enough for can openers with lesser amounts of gunk and grime, but true negligence may require reinforcements. True negligence calls for Q-tips.

There it is. (Photo: Claire Lower)

As you can see, the Q-tips were quite effective. I dipped them in a little isopropyl alcohol, then got ‘em in there real good, in between the gears and wheels, dislodging the stuck-on grime, restoring it to its former gleaming glory.

GLEAMING (Photo: Claire Lower)

So while I wasn’t blown away by the wax paper trick, I do appreciate that it forced me to face the gross, some might say reprehensible, state of my can opening device, and it renewed my appreciation for Q-tips, a truly useful cleaning tool.

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