Magical Can Openers?

How come?

How come can openers don’t kill people? I was looking at my can opener today, more closely than you can look at a can opener without getting uncomfortable. We use the manual kind that you twist with one hand while the other hand holds the two handles clamped together.

We never put the can opener in the dishwasher. Ever. I don’t know why you don’t, maybe it rusts or something, but that’s the can opener etiquette I learned growing up. Usually, after you use the can opener you give it a perfunctory rinsing under the faucet, then shove it back in its drawer.

The guck around the cogs and wheels is rust colored. It’s scary. My dad’s can opener always had guck around it’s little wheel/cog opening things. So did my mom’s. So does mine. I don’t know if some of that guck is like a lubricant that they put on it, to keep the can opener can opening, or if the guck is the accumulated detrimus of things that have been can opened in years gone by.

Think of all the things you open with a can opener: Cat-food, tuna-fish, canned fruit, chili, soup, green beans, etc. That little steel thing touches all those foods, over and over again.

Wouldn’t you think the stuff on the can opener would rot or mold or botchulate? Seems like the can opener would become freakishly toxic after a time. Seems like it could kill anything it touched after awhile. Additionally, it ought to glow green.

But no. I’ve been in living situations where the same can opener was used for years and years and it never killed anybody. That’s kind of amazing.

Maybe the ominous gunky stuff is magic. Maybe the big companies developed a special gunk that would neutralize all food stuffs till the end of time. Maybe the safety of can-openers is one of those mysteries, like the Bermuda Triangle that will never be adequately solved.

But it sure makes me wonder.


8 thoughts on “Magical Can Openers?

  1. Hmmmm. I had no idea there was dishwasher / can-opener etiquette. Everything in my kitchen is dishwasherable, in my opinion. If it isn’t, it might as well go in the garbage.

  2. I started cleaning our can opener when I was about 14, because I realized it smelled like cat food.

    However, in answer to your question, not a lot of the opener actually comes into contact with your food. Further, germs are not nearly as malignant and terrifying as your average news anchor or Lysol commercial would have you believe. Most of what you open with the can opener is “ready to eat” so there isn’t raw food germs. Even cat food is edible.., it has been cooked.

    We don’t wash our soda cans before we drink from them and we don’t die. Think about the candy you get from candy machines. (like 25 cent, turn the crank, dispensers.) Those get loaded by some guy with a bag full of candy and a scoop, and every kid in the mall has gone through and stuck his finger in the chute (that’s what she said, lol) to see if there was a stray piece of candy in there. Anyway, we have pretty strong resistance to germs. The reason we get colds and flu is because the virus mutates so fast that every time it cycles around again it is essentially a new disease that we have not immunity to.

    Ultimately though, if a can opener was the cause of illness… how would you know? You would think you got a stomach flu or that you ate something undercooked. CSI doesn’t come to your house and test everything after you get a case of the shrieking shits. Well… ok, they do at my house but that is for different, and scary reasons.

  3. I think a vengeful can-opener would be a great horror story character. A combination of hot water, darkness, and dishwasher detergent, made it both sentient and evil. It writes itself.

  4. slothboy for the win!

    To be honest though, I imagined an automatic can opener reaching out and grabbing someone, throwing them into their ravenous gear-jaws. Germs are less scary, unless they turn you into a zombie.

  5. Oh my. I can’t remember the last time I washed my can opener, if ever. To me it is like a tool, and I wouldn’t throw a screwdriver or hammer in the wash, would I?

    Hmmm. While I am by no means a neat freak or germ phobic, I suppose tonight would be as good as any to give the old (and I do mean old – I think I inherited from my parents) can opener.

  6. My parents have never washed our can opener and just recently I’ve started putting it in the dishwasher. I find it disgusting that it comes into contact with all that food (and it does touch it, sometimes the liquid inside goes on top of the lid once you start) and then just gets put back in the drawer with the cutlery. Everything else that touches food gets washed, why not that?

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