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How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener: 7 Best Ways

Filed in Articles by on June 22, 2021

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Wondering how to open a can without a can opener? While most canned goods have an easy-open tab, you may still find yourself in a situation where the tab has broken off or the can lacks an easy-open tab. Worse, what if you don’t have a can opener? or you don’t seem to find it.

How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener

We’ve found a safe, easy solution to opening a can without a can opener. So instead of trying to pry the can open or thinking of going hungry, consider using other tools. Lets find out other ways to open a can without a can opener.

Using a Pocket Knife

Just about any reasonably-sized knife, whether it’s the blade of a Swiss army knife or kitchen knife. To open a can with a knife, follow these steps:

Step 1.

Position the can upright and on a flat sturdy level surface.

Step 2.

Grasp the knife in a reverse-grip. Keep the knife vertical and place the tip of the blade against the inner edge of the can’s lid. Make sure that the knife you use has a sharp tip and edge. A dull blade can fail to pierce the metal, slip off and injure your hands.

Step 3.

With your free hand, forcefully but carefully “pound” the pommel of the knife, palm facing down. If you think you can’t pound the knife with enough force, you can use a brick or a rock to hammer the knife in, being careful not to hit your hand or damage the knife. “How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener”

Step 4.

Reposition the knife at the leading edge of the puncture you made and repeat steps 3 and 4 until the edge of the lid has been completely “encircled” with punctures. Encircle the edges of the entire lid with holes. The lid should now be easy to pry

Step 5.

Carefully pry the now-loose lid off the can. Don’t use your fingers to do this, the jagged edges of the can are extremely sharp. If you prefer, you can use a smaller knife to pry off the lid.

Open a Can Without a Can Opener Using a Spoon

Yes, it’s possible to open a can with a spoon. Just make sure the spoon is metal, not wood or plastic, and is of robust construction. Use an actual spoon, and not a metal “spork”; the small tines may only bend or break off without the lid being pierced.

To use a spoon to open a can, do the following:

 Step 1.

Place the can on a flat, level sturdy surface.

Step 2.

As with the knife in method 1, grasp the spoon firmly and position the tip of the spoon on the edge of the lid. Make sure the “bowl” of the spoon is facing towards the center of the can.

Step 3.

Keep the tip of the spoon on one spot of the lid, then, bearing down on the lid, “rock” the spoon in a back-and-forth “sawing” motion. This continual motion should wear down and eventually penetrate the lid of the can.

Step 4.

Once the lid has been pierced, continue the motion until the entire lid has been “sawn” off.

Step 5.

Carefully pry open the lid by digging the spoon under it. Slowly push the lid upwards with the spoon to expose the contents of the can. Remember that the edges of the pried lid will still be very sharp.

To remove the lid completely, use your hands but only if you’re wearing gloves or use a towel, cloth, rag or your shirt sleeve as protection

Using a Chef’s Knife

If you have a large chef’s knife, DON’T use it in the way you would the other smaller knives. Chef’s knives may be very sharp, but they’re too thin and flexible to use as prescribed by Method 1. When using a Chef’s knife, use the “heel” of the blade instead.

Follow these steps to open a can safely with this kind of knife:

Step 1.

Place the can on a level, stable sturdy surface. Don’t try this method by placing the can between your legs, on your lap or while holding the can; the blade could slip and you risk seriously injuring yourself. “How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener”

Step 2.

Grasp the Chef’s knife firmly where the handle and the blade meet, with the blade facing away from you. Rest your thumb on the side of the blade to avoid obstructing the “heel” of the blade and risk getting your thumb cut. Never use this method with any other knife; the weight of the blade is vital to the success and safety of performing this method.

Step 3.

Keeping the can on a level surface, position the heel of the Chef’s knife on the edge of the can’s lid. Carefully but forcefully press down on the can’s lid to make a hole.

Step 4.

Repeat the process all around the circumference of the lid. The lid should now be loose and easy to pry off. After making several punctures into the lid, you may be tempted to reverse the blade and cut into the rest of the unopened areas of the lid. Don’t. Stick to using the heel of the blade, as you could break off the tip of the Chef’s knife and even injure yourself.

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Step 5.

After you’ve punctured most of the can’s lid, proceed to prying it off. Place the blade under the lid, then pull upwards to remove the lid safely and expose the contents. “How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener”

Again, never handle the lid or detach it from the can with your bare hands. Wear gloves or protect your hand with a towel, cloth, rag or your shirt sleeve.

How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener

Using Concrete Pavement or Concrete Blocks

If you don’t have any sort of knife or spoon within reach, you can hit the pavement and find another way. Or more accurately, rub the can right on the pavement. The key is to have a really abrasive surface; a smooth tile or bit of pavement won’t work. You’ll need friction to work its magic on the can’s lid.

For this method, follow these steps:

Step 1.

Find a large, flat, coarse surface like concrete pavement, the wide face of a concrete block or even a large flat rock with a rough surface.

Step 2.

Place the can upside-down on the pavement, rock or hollow concrete block. This will enable you to break the seal.

Step 3.

With a back-and-forth “scrubbing” motion, rub the rock with the can while applying some even pressure. Keep rubbing the can over the rough surface until moisture from the can appears on the rock; turn the can over to check if any moisture has built up on it.

Stop rubbing the can on the rough surface once you observe moisture formation. If you continue to rub the can after moisture has formed, you risk rubbing through the lid, spilling the can’s contents and wasting it.

Step 4.

The can’s lid should be thin enough to pierce and pry off. You can use a pocket knife, a small knife, a spoon, butter knife or similar tool. Sometimes, the lid will even become so thin that you can simply squeeze either side of the can with both hands, and the entire lid will pop right out cleanly.

You can also use a small rock to bash in the lid but do this only as a last resort; the result could be messy and you could have bits of rock and dirt contaminate the food.

Using a Pair of Scissors

Step 1.

Keeping the blades of your scissors closed initially, place them point-down on top of a can next to the lip of the tin. Make sure one hand holds onto the scissors’ handle so they can’t slip. “How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener”

Step 2.

Then, using the palm of your other hand, tap the scissors to pierce the can. At this point, do not hold onto the can (to avoid getting hurt if the blade slips or the can moves). If standing, make sure your feet are firmly placed on the ground, and if kneeling, that your groin is far from the action.

How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener

How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener Using Pliers

Flat-nosed, not long-nosed pliers work best with this method. To open a can with pliers, perform these steps:

Step 1.

Place the can on an even, flat sturdy surface. Don’t hold it in your “free” hand or place it on your lap or between your legs.

Step 2.

While grasping the pliers in one hand, use it to “attack” a portion of the can’s lip; crimping and crushing it carefully but vigorously.

Step 3.

Continue to crimp and crush all of the can’s lip; doing so will weaken the lid’s hold on the can. Once you’ve crimped all around the lid, carefully pry it off. “How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener”

Open a Can Without a Can Opener Using Your Bare Hands

This is the messiest and possibly the riskiest method of opening a can. Note that this is best used on larger cans that have grooves or “ribs” around their circumference. Do this only as an absolute last resort.

Follow these steps:

Step 1.

Tear off any labels on the can and find the grooves.

Step 2.

Grip the can with one hand on each end, then push your fingers into the grooves near the middle of the side facing up. If your hands aren’t strong or big enough to do this, lay the can on the ground and push against the grooves with the “heel” of your hand.

Step 3.

Once you’ve made a dent on one side, rotate the can 180 degrees and push your fingers into the grooves again.

Step 4.

Make the dents on either side of the can even deeper. To do this, hold the can horizontally with the heels of either hand placed on each of the flat lids on the top and bottom.

Place the “heels” of your hands such that they’re at the tops of the now-flatter areas and closer to the outer rims and not the center of the can. Squeeze the two ends by pushing in with your hands. Repeat this on the other side.

Step 5.

Continue squeezing both sides of can, applying an equal number of squeezes to deepen the dents on both sides uniformly. Interlock your fingers as you squeeze to make it easier. Keep doing this until the can develops an “hourglass” shape. “How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener”

Step 6.

When the body can’t be dented any further, grip each end of the can firmly and proceed to slowly pull the can apart. You can bend the can towards you to “open” it up from the center. Carefully spoon out the contents into a separate container and sift out any metal fragments that may have mixed with the food.

Don’t give up on canned foods just because you don’t have a can opener. Going hungry is not an option, so what do you do? Learn how to open a can without an opener. These are the can-opening solutions you’ve been looking for.

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