Opening Cans, Jars, and Bottles

Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated March 1, 2021)

Having trouble opening a tin can? Try one of these tips:

  • Open cans containing liquids with the triangular punch end of a bottle opener. Punch on both sides so that air can enter one hole while you're pouring from the other. You can also use the triangular punch (with difficulty) all the way around a tin, but be careful—there will be lots of sharp edges.
  • Multipurpose camping knives often have can openers or gizmos that can be used as can openers. Plunge the sharp point of the U-shaped tool inside the rim, hook the other end on the outer edge, and then work it up and down around the can. (Like most things, this tool is made for right-handed people; left-handed people will likely find it difficult to use.)
  • In a pinch you can puncture a tin can with a sharp rock, pocketknife, or screwdriver; then work it open a little at a time with pliers or some other tool (not your hands).

A caution for any time you're opening a can: Watch out for any metal scraps that may fall into the tin. You don't want to bite in to any of those!

If it seems like jars are getting harder and harder to open, there are a couple things you can try:

  • Wrap a rubber band around the lid. This will make it easier to keep the lid from slipping out of your grasp.
  • Run hot water over an obstinate jar lid to expand it and make it easier to open.
  • Slip on your latex dish-washing gloves. They'll help you pop that top without the strain.
  • Loosen a lid with a nutcracker. Nutcrackers come in handy because they adjust easily to the size of the jar.

Don't have a bottle opener handy? Check your corkscrew. Corkscrew handles are often bottle openers, too. If you don't have one of those either, you can remove a bottle cap without an opener by using locking grip pliers or the strike plate opening of a doorframe (the plate that receives the door latch). You can also fit a coin between the lip of the cap and a hard, firm surface, and then hit the top of the bottle with your clenched fist.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

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