Your Can Opener Is Probably Covered in Germs—Here's the Right Way to Clean and Disinfect It

Research shows no one is cleaning their can openers correctly.

When was the last time you cleaned your can opener? The mental math you're doing right now explains why it landed on the top of the list of dirtiest items in your kitchen, according to a study by the University of Rochester. An old-school-style can opener accumulates bacteria like salmonella and E.coli because the wheel gets food from inside the can on it and then it doesn't get washed properly—gross!

Good news: The newer can opener models that leave the can edge smooth tend to be less germy, since the wheels don't come in contact with food as often. It's still a good idea to clean this kitchen tool regularly. Here's how to clean your can opener every day, plus a deep-cleaning method, to make sure you keep your can opener germ-free.

What You'll Need:

  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Paper towels
  • Food-grade mineral oil

Follow These Steps:

  1. After each use, thoroughly wash your can opener with hot water and dish soap. Dry as thoroughly as you can with a towel to prevent rust. Let it sit with the handles open so the wheels can air-dry completely before putting it back in the drawer.
  2. If you want to deep-clean and disinfect your can opener, skip the dish soap. Start by clamping the wheels of the can opener on a layered piece of paper towel, then turn the handle to remove any excess gunk from the wheels.
  3. Combine a tablespoon of bleach with a gallon of hot water. Spritz your can opener with the mixture, including the wheels, and let it sit to both disinfect and soften any stuck-on food. Wipe clean, then rinse and thoroughly dry the can opener and wheels.
  4. Once the can opener is completely dry, place a little bit of food-grade mineral oil on a cloth or paper towel and lubricate the gears and wheels to help prevent rust.
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