Maybe, during the great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, you overstocked on canned goods. Maybe you’re camping and realized you forgot a critical component to making dinner. Whatever the reason, you need a can opener…and it’s MIA. All hope is not lost: Here are five simple ways to open a can without a can opener.
Before you dive into learning each of the tricks, we all know metal cans are sharp, even when using a can opener. So, when trying a makeshift alternative for opening a can, we beg of you, be extra careful!
If you’re camping or outdoors, the rock or concrete method may be your best bet. As the description suggests, no tools are required to use this trick other than a convenient slab of concrete (yes, a curb will do), or a large rock.
To make it work, turn the can upside down on the concrete or rock so that the lid is placed directly onto the hard surface. Then, rub the can’s lid back and forth on the concrete, pressing down with a significant amount of pressure to create friction that’ll cause the lid to loosen. Check the lid to see if the magic has started, then rotate and repeat. Eventually, you’ll notice the lid has loosened enough for you to pop it off. Don’t believe us? Watch.
2. A spoon
Take a metal spoon that you wouldn’t mind roughing up a bit (fair warning: It may get destroyed during this process) and hold it vertically above the top of the can. While holding the can with one hand, use your other hand to press the spoon down hard into the top outer edge of the lid to puncture a hole (as you would with a can opener). Once the first slit is cut, continue pressing the tip of the spoon around the edge until the lid is opened at least enough for you to carefully bend it backward. Key word: carefully. Voila!
3. A knife
Handling sharp objects requires caution in any use, but especially when you’re trying to cut through metal. Should this be your only option, proceed with caution! Like the spoon method, this knife hack simply requires you to puncture a hole at the outside edge of the can lid. Make sure to choose a metal knife that’s sharp and sturdy. Plastic or butter knives just won’t work the same. A clean pocket or steak knife? Great choice. Once complete, slowly slice around the outer edge until the lid can be bent backward or until you cut it off entirely.
Similarly, a pair of clean scissors or cooking shears can get the job done. As Aaron Linsdau shows in the video above, you use one blade tip of the scissors to puncture a hole in the lid’s outer edge. Proceed to cut around the rim until the lid is open wide enough for you to carefully remove it.
5. Chisel (or flathead screwdriver) and hammer
If you’re short on tools, this may not be the most convenient of the options, but if the circumstances allow and you have a chisel or flathead screwdriver and hammer on hand, this will definitely do the trick. Simply place the tip of the chisel or flathead screwdriver on the outer edge of the lid and hold it as you hit the top with the hammer to puncture a hole. Move the chisel next to the punctured hole and hammer again. Repeat along the entire rim of the lid until it is fully removed.