Vegetables in cans
Boarding1Now/istockphoto

Here's How To Open a Can Without a Can Opener

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Vegetables in cans
Boarding1Now/istockphoto

The MacGyver Method

If Angus MacGyver can disarm a nuclear bomb with a paper clip, there's no doubt he could open a can without a can opener. But as much as you might want a heroic, mullet-haired genius to drop from the sky to solve your problems, we're not sure you'll find one on TaskRabbit. Luckily, this detailed guide (with video!) will teach you how to channel your inner MacGyver. Here's how to open a can without a can opener.


Related: DIY Projects That Are Easier Than You Think

Canned corn with a spoon on the table
Snezhana Kudryavtseva/istockphoto

Opening a Can With a Spoon

Difficulty: medium

Video Tutorial


Hold the spoon firmly in the palm of one hand and grab the can with the other. Rub the tip of the utensil back and forth along the rim of the can where the metal is softest, and apply pressure. Once you've punctured a hole in the can, insert the spoon's head about halfway and push the spoon's edge laterally to cut through the metal, working your way around the can's circumference.


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Top view of two closed cans and one open can with knife on the wooden background
Tatiana Foxy/istockphoto

Opening a Can With a Knife

Difficulty: hard

Video Tutorial


Find a sharp knife (not a butter knife). Stand the knife carefully upright somewhere along the can's rim — where the metal is soft — with the blade facing straight down. Using the hard part of your palm, hit the but of knife into the can until you've made a small hole. Insert the knife into the hole, then push up with the blade to make the opening larger. Next, slowly run the knife along the rim of the can as you'd use a can opener. Rather than trying to cut through the metal using brute force, push the knife against the can's metal edge to generate enough force to push through the metal.


Related: Products to Upgrade Your Kitchen for Cheap

Detail photograph of a basalt rock on a white background
CribbVisuals/istockphoto

Opening a Can With a Rock

Difficulty: medium

Video Tutorial


Find a rock, flat piece of concrete, or other rough object. Rub the top of the can against the rough object while applying pressure. After a few minutes, you'll start to see moisture form on the rock and will break through a thin layer of metal on the can's rim, which holds the lid in place. Use a spoon, fork, knife, or other tool to pry the lid off; it should come off easily.


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Assorted work tools on wood. Hand tools on a wooden background, hammer with nails and screwdriver. Home renovation, construction. Hand tools and equipment. An assortment of tools.
Natalya Sambulova/istockphoto

Opening a Can With a Hammer

Difficulty: hard

Video Tutorial


Place the can on a hard surface, and hold the hammer firmly with the claw facing the can. Use the hammer's claw to puncture the can around its rim, where the metal is softest. Repeat this process around the circumference of the can. Once you've punctured through enough metal, you can pry the top of the can off with the hammer's claw. While a hammer will get the job done, know that it'll be a labor intensive, inelegant process that'll make a lot of noise.

Must have at home used hand tools Needle Nose Pliers on black background with copy space
buddyb76/istockphoto

Opening a Can With Pliers

Difficulty: medium

Video Tutorial


Using the end of a pair of needle-nose pliers, puncture the top of the can near its rim and continue making holes around its circumference. After piercing the can three or four times, use the pliers to pry the metal upward. If you need to remove the metal lid completely, continue making holes around the can and prying the metal upward.

Beautiful first impression of new home in Illinois
PC Photography/istockphoto

Opening the Can With a Neighbor's Can Opener

Difficulty: easy


Assuming you're on good terms with your neighbors, asking for a can opener next door might be preferable to smashing a can of beans with a hammer.