What do you do when you own a dull knife but no whetstones or knife sharpeners? You might be saving money for the right sharpening stone, or maybe you’ve just misplaced it. Well, there’s nothing that a bit of improvisation can’t solve!
Of course, you will not get the same results as you get with knife sharpeners. However, they’re enough to get your knife ready for the slicing task at hand. Moreover, do not use these methods too often since you might end up ruining your blade permanently.
Without further ado, let’s go through the list of household items that you can use for sharpening knives.
How to Sharpen a Knife With Household Items?
There are quite a few household items that you can use to sharpen knives. The ones which have made it to the top of my list include coffee mugs, ceramic plates, the spine of another knife, nail files, a nylon backpack strap, glass, a shovel, concrete, a pair of scissors, and leather belts.
Using a Coffee Mug
You have some tough salami to slice through and your knife sharpener is nowhere to be seen. Wondering how to sharpen a knife with household objects? Well, you better devour your coffee quickly because that mug has other jobs to do too. Keep reading to see your coffee mug transforming into a knife sharpener.
- Turn your mug upside down. While the sides of all coffee mugs are polished and coated inside out, the lower rim of most mugs is rough and unpolished.
- If the rim is rough, you are good to go.
- Hold your knife at an angle of 10° to the mug’s lower rim.
- Now slide the entire length of the blade over the surface and repeat it multiple times.
- Switch sides. Keeping the angle constant, repeat the process with the same number of strokes till you can feel a sharp edge on your knife.
Using Ceramic Plates
When you’re trying to figure out how to sharpen knife with nothing, ceramic surely comes to the rescue! This method pretty much employs the same technique as that of using a coffee mug. The most important safety measure is ensuring this plate isn’t from your mom’s favourite crockery collection! On a serious note, here’s what you have to do:
Place a towel on your work surface and place the plate over it, bottom side up. A ceramic bowl will work equally well for this purpose. Holding your knife at an angle of 20° to the utensil, rub the entire length of the blade along the surface.
This method might be a little time-consuming, but it will eventually give you a nice sharp blade.
Using the Spine of Another Knife
This is another simple way to sharpen a knife, which does not require many instruments. The only tool that you need is another knife. This one should also be your go-to trick if you have guests over! It makes you look like a pro and never fails to impress!
Hold the sharp knife in your non-dominant hand and the dull one in your dominant hand. Keeping your dull knife at an angle of 20°, run it over the sharp one’s blade. Since the instrument that you are sharpening with is also smooth, it will take longer to sharpen the blade.
Using a Nail File
A nail file is a common household item that almost every woman owns. The texture of nail files is quite similar to that of sandpaper and it sharpens knives with the same technique.
With the help of adhesive tape, stick the nail file onto a hard and flat surface. Now tilt your knife till it is at an angle of 20° with the file. Run the knife across the file from its base to the tip until you get a sharp edge.
Using a Nylon Backpack Strap
If you are an adventurous soul and spend time outdoors, you have probably wondered about how to sharpen a pocket knife with household items. Your pocket knife and backpack are must-haves for all your trips. Since you’d be on the road with both of these items together, you should know that your backpack strap can also be used as a knife sharpener.
All you have to do is rub the edge of your knife across the nylon strap about 10 to 15 times. Repeat this manoeuvre on the other side of the blade too, and you’ll have a sharp-edged knife in a jiffy.
Using a Glass Bottle or Jar
If you have read this far, you probably have your answer to what household items can you use to sharpen a knife. But wait, there are more! Glass bottles and jars are essential household items which we cannot do without.
Mason jars are quite convenient to use in this regard. Use the top rim of the jar to sharpen your dull knife. Run the knife blade several times across the rim. Although this will eventually give you a sharp blade, the process will take its fair share of time. I wouldn’t recommend using this method if you are in a rush and want instant results.
Using a Shovel
Many Australian households have large backyards. If you have a green thumb and like to shovel away in your backyard, here’s how you can use this tool for sharpening knives too.
Hold your shovel vertically with its blade facing downwards. With your dominant hand, hold the knife at an angle of 10° from the shovel. While exerting pressure, rub the knife across the shovel’s surface multiple times. Repeat the process ten to fifteen times on either side of the blade and enjoy using your ultra-sharp knife.
Sharpening your knife with concrete, although possible; is something that I wouldn’t recommend. Since it is made up of so many different materials, you will notice that even the smoothest of concrete tends to be really rough.
There is a high chance of damaging your knife blade when sharpening it with concrete. Therefore, I would suggest that you only do so when it is an absolute emergency.
To sharpen your knife with concrete, wet the area with water. Holding your knife at a 20° angle, run it across the concrete surface. Make sure that you switch sides of the blade while sharpening.
Using a Pair of Scissors
You can also use a pair of scissors for sharpening knives. Keep in mind that this will not damage the scissors in any manner.
Place your dull knife between the two blades of the scissors, behind the adjustment screw. Note that for cutting anything, the object is placed between the two blades “in front” of the screw.
Once you have positioned it correctly, move the knife back and forth several times to attain a sharp cutting-edged knife.
Using a Leather Belt
This method of sharpening knives is quite common among hunters and people who like to spend a lot of time outdoors.
All you have to do is wet the belt a little and then hold it tightly. Run each side of the knife blade across the surface of the belt, away from the edge. This method is especially useful if you like to camp out and travel light.
FAQ – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When it comes to sharpening knives, the best results are obtained by using whetstones and knife sharpeners. However, if you don’t own one, you may use a household item to serve the purpose.
Ceramic mugs/ plates and nail files are good choices when it comes to sharpening everyday items. If you are outdoors, you can sharpen your knife using your leather belt or the nylon strap of your backpack.
You may also use another knife or glass bottles/ jars to sharpen knives. However, these take longer to bring about results. Whichever item you choose, remember to use it correctly and only after exercising safety precautions.