Inside: A rusty can opener is not only unsightly but it can cause issues when you’re attempting to open a can. This problem can be solved by finding out the exact steps you should (and shouldn’t) take to clean to clean a rusty manual can opener.
A manual can opener is one of those kitchen gadgets you don’t pay that much attention to. It does its job, you wash it off, then toss it back in your utensil drawer.
In reality, a can opener should be thoroughly washed and dried using a paper towel after each use. The longer the can opener remains wet, the quicker it’s going to rust.
No one knows for sure if consuming a small particle of rust that fell from the can opener into your food is going to hurt you, but isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?
On that note, you should never place a can opener in the dishwasher unless it’s deemed dishwasher safe.
A rusty can opener makes it harder to open a can. How many times have you used your manual can opener only to find it doesn’t open the entire can? You may have a few openings in the lid of the can, but the rest of the can is sealed shut.
This is how to clean a rusty manual can opener
Fill a bowl with apple cider and/or white distilled vinegar.
Place the rusted can opener in the bowl and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.
Using a toothbrush, scrub away at the rust.
If your manual can opener is still rusty
Mix ¼ cup baking soda to 1 cup vinegar. Make sure you use a large bowl. For this disaster, I made the error and grabbed my ½ cup measuring cup.
After all the bubbles overflowed and the mixture came back to normal, I had to put more vinegar in the bowl since it mostly all came out. Once again, the chemical reaction did what it was supposed to do and I caused another mess.
On the third attempt, I got smart and put the bowl in the kitchen sink.
I left it sitting for another hour, hoping the rust would come off, but it was still there. Although it was easier to clean, I had a dickens of a time scrubbing it off the blades.
When vinegar doesn’t work to remove the rust off your can opener
Seeing how the rust was still present, and I wasn’t giving up without a fight, I enlisted the help of a brass wire brush and some liquid dish soap.
After scrubbing for less than 5 minutes, the blades were noticeably cleaner.
I can’t say for sure if you should just skip the entire vinegar process and go directly to the dish soap and the wire brush. The vinegar may dislodge some of the rust making it easier to clean.
Regardless, the can opener looks 95% better than it did before it was cleaned.
Should you clean your rusty manual can opener, or just buy a new one?
Only you can determine if you’re going to do that, but if you’re like me, I know you’re up to the challenge.
What methods do you use to clean the rust off your can opener? Share in a comment.