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How To Open a Can Without a Can Opener — 9 Different Ways

How To Open a Can Without a Can Opener — 9 Different Ways

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When it comes to opening a can, the easiest and simplest way to do this is to use a can opener. However, when it comes to survival it is not always plausible to have a can opener to hand. If you are going camping, again, it can be difficult to remember to take a can opener with you. 

This can be very frustrating, especially when you are in a situation where you are relying on the canned food to keep you sustained. This is why it is always a good idea to have an understanding of other ways in which you can open a can without a can opener. 

If you are packing light, and in an emergency situation, it is unlikely that your mind is going to go straight to a can opener when you are packing. As a result of this, it is useful to know the alternative ways of opening a can if necessary.

In this article, we will be chatting you through the 9 nest alternatives you can use when you do not have a can opener! 

Method One — Knife

The easiest method to use when you need to open a can without a can opener is a knife. When you are prepping, a knife is something you will always want to consider packing. They have so many uses, and are one of the easiest ways to open a can. 

To do this, you will need to take the sharp edge of the knife, and pierce the lid of the can at the edge. Once a small hole appears, you will then want to cut around the top of the can with the knife until the lid can be removed fully.

This is an easy method to use, especially if the knife you are using is sharp. You will need to take care when piercing the can because the knife and the can itself can be sharp with the edges are not cut neatly. 

You can use any type of knife to do this, however, a kitchen or hunting knife is probably the easiest option to consider. 

Method Two — Fork

How To Open a Can Without a Can Opener — 9 Different Ways

If you do not have a knife to hand, but you have a fork, this is another method that works well too. While it is more difficult to open a can with a fork, it is still possible, especially when you know the correct technique to use. 

It is likely that in a survival situation, you will have access to a fork. To do this, you will need to place the can upright. To begin with, you will want to use the handle of the fork to rub against the top edge of the can. This makes it easier to penetrate through the metal. 

Next you will want to take one prong on the edge of the fork and press this down with force on the area you were just rubbing. This should then create a small hole in the can.

From here, you will want to use a sawing motion to cut around the top edges of the can until the can opens enough for you to pour out its contents.

This method does require patience, but it is entirely possible. We would recommend that you use gloves where possible to protect your hands from becoming injured on any sharp edges. 

Method Three — Spoon

You may be surprised to learn that you can open a can with a spoon, but it certainly is possible. However, you will need patience and perseverance when it comes to this method because a spoon is blunter than a knife and fork. 

To use this method, you will want to run the handle of the spoon on the can for a short while to make it easier for the spoon to penetrate through the metal. You will then want to push the spoon through the metal firmly.

Once it has created a hole, you can then use the same sawing method to open the can. 

You will want to use gloves where possible, as this is a trickier technique to use. If you have a hammer, you can use a hammer to hit the spoon through the metal if you are struggling to pierce it. 

Method Four — Flat Stone

If you are in a really dire and survival situation, where you do not have access to anything sharp, you will want to use all that you can from your surroundings.

While this does make things slightly more difficult, it is still possible when you put your mind to it. 

To use this method you will want to continuously rub the can against a flat stone until the rim of the can begins to wear away. This does take a while to achieve, but it is possible.

Alternatively, you can aim to find a sharp stone that you can use to cut through the can too. 

Method Five — Metal File

A metal file is a very useful tool to use when it comes to cutting through metal. The tip of the metal file is fairly sharp, and should pierce through the metal easily. As it is a metal file, it will then be easy to cut through the lid of the can in order to open it. 

Again, care will need to be taken, but this method is fairly easy to do. The only concern with this method is the filing process. This can potentially cause small pieces of metal to make their way into the food. This is dangerous when ingested. As a result, a lot of care will need to be taken to ensure that this does not happen. 

Method Six — Pliers

Pliers are a useful tool to consider if you have them handy. They can be used to pry open the top of the can, fairly easily. As they can create sharp edges, you will need to be careful when doing this.

You will need to use the pliers to lift the top of the can away from the main body of the can. 

Method Seven — Screwdriver or Chisel

How To Open a Can Without a Can Opener — 9 Different Wayss1

If you are running out of options to use, a screwdriver or a chisel can be a successful method to use. In a similar fashion to the knife and spoon method, you will want to use force to push down the sharp end into the can lid.

You can then use it to cut around the top of the can to enable you to pour out its contents. 

Care should always be taken when piercing the lid, and you will want to do this firmly be carefully. You can use a hammer or a hard object if you are struggling to pierce the lid. 

Method Eight — Scissors

Scissors are something that a lot of people will have to hand in prepping situation. Given that the blades of a scissors can be quite sharp, they are a great option to consider. You will need to take care when using this method.

Place the can upright, and open the scissors. From here, you will want to use one of the scissor blades to pierce the lid of the can. This will be fairly easy to do. Once completed, you can then cut around the top of the can to open it fully. 

Method Nine — Table Edge

Last, but not least, you can use a table edge to open a can. This method can get slightly messy as you need to use some force. We would recommend keeping the can as upright as possible when doing this. 

You will want to hit the can firmly against the edge of the table at the top of the side of the can. It should open fairly easy. Keep repeating this until the hole is large enough to pour out the contents. 


We hope you have found this article useful. As you can see, there are   ways in which you can open a can without a can opener. This is reassuring to know, especially when you are in a survival situation.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to do this carefully to ensure you do not injure yourself in the process.+

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