How to Sharpen a Knife Without a Sharpener

How to Sharpen a Knife Without a Sharpener

Has your knife lost its edge, not as sharp as it once was? This article will show you how to sharpen a knife without a sharpener. These surprising household and outside tools can sharpen your knife without a sharpener.  


Things You Can Find at Home

Some household items can be unutilized for your sharpening needs. How you can use these household items to sharpen your knife without a sharpener are listed below. 

Mug or Plate  

This household item can be found in every kitchen, just a simple ceramic mug or plate. You can use this item for your knife sharpening needs with only a few simple steps. You will need to place the plate or mug upside down on a solid surface for the first step. Be wary that the surface is not too slippery. To fix that, place a cloth or a wooden cutting board under the mug. Next, you can take your knife and place it at a 30-degree angle, placing the blade away from you. Then you want to move the blade in quick succession, 4-6 times. When satisfied, flip the blade over and repeat this process on the other side.  

Nail File  

This next household item is small and lightweight and can be taken almost anywhere: a nail file. To use this as a sharpener, you will want to place the blade of the knife away from you. This placement is for your safety and the safety of others. Next, you will want to file the blade in an outward motion, away from you dragging the nail file the entire length of the knife. You will want to do this with quick and precise movements until you are satisfied with the results. Do not forget to keep the knife at a 10-degree angle for best results. 

Flooring Slate 

Finally, if you have any left-over flooring slate, this is yet another sharpening tool. You can use slate to sharpen a knife the same way you use a basic sharpening tool. The best flooring slate to use is one that’s flat and plain. Don’t forget to wet the slate with water to minimize the damage. First, you will want to position the knife so that it’s away from you at a 10-degree angle and start swiping the same way for the entire length of the blade. Do this until you feel satisfied with the sharpness of the blade.  


You can also use sandpaper as a sharpening tool for your knife. For this sharpening hack, you should mount the sandpaper on some wood or a flat surface as a makeshift sharpening stone. Your strokes should be pushed away from you and fulfill the length of the blade. Use one hand to move the sandpaper and the other to hold your knife. The grit of sandpaper depends on how sharp you intend for your knife to be. Start with coarser and then go up to finer grit to get the best possible outcome.  

Broken or Non-Polished Glass 

Suppose you happen to have any broken or non-polished glass, like the kind found on the edge of an empty jam jar. Non-polished or broken glass will sharpen the blade of your knife. Be careful if you wish to use broken glass because it can be dangerous.   

Leather Belt 

An old leather belt or a leather strap will sharpen your knife; the rougher and more used the belt is, the better. Drag your knife on the belt, pushing the blade away from you, keeping up the 10-degree angle with a smooth movement. Repeat these strokes for about 10-15 minutes on both sides.  


You can use a shovel as a short-term solution for sharpening your knife. A stainless steel or titanium shovel would be the best shovel to use. To do this, you will be using the top edge of the footrest of the shovel for your sharpening. Hold the knife in your dominant hand, place it on the footrest at a 10-degree angle. Make sure, as always, to have the blade facing away from you. 

Another Dull Knife 

Using another knife works as well, as you may have been told before that this is a big no. It can ruin both blades if you fail to do it properly. The best way to sharpen is with two blunt knives. Don’t use the blades of the knives to sharpen the other, instead use the back of the sharpener to the one you want to sharpen. Use your non-dominant hand for the knife you want to sharpen and your dominant hand for the other knife. Stroke the blade you are sharpening with quick repetitive movements at a 10-degree angle. Make sure to stroke the blade in a motion away from you to keep from injuring yourself or others.  

Things You Can Find Outside

While using household items is excellent, these outdoor alternatives help you when you’re in a bind. You can use things you find almost anywhere outside to help sharpen, let’s say, your best camping knife



The following tool can is found anywhere: a rock. While this seems easy enough, for maximum results, flat river rock is the best. First, you need to wet the stone and set your knife up facing away from you so that you don’t injure yourself. You will want to hold the knife at a 45-degree angle and swipe the rock across the blade. To have the sharpest results for your knife, you should, 3-5 swipes for a small blade and 5-7 swipes for a larger blade.  

Car Window 

Now, if you have a car, you can use the window, though this may seem strange. The rough stretch on the top edge of the window will do the trick. The key to sharpening is opening the window halfway and moving away from you towards the car with your blade angled 10-degrees. Do this same movement 8-10 times, or until you are satisfied, do not forget to do both sides of the blade. 


A brick can be used to sharpen your knife, but you must be careful. The perfect brick is fine-grit brick, not too rough, because then it will damage your blade as you should do anything like a rock or stone; in this instance, always water it down with water before using the brick to sharpen both sides of your knife.  


This next option is concrete and can be used as a sharpener for your knife; while this works, it is not the best option because it can damage your knife without the right conditions. The right conditions include finding a piece of concrete that is exceptionally smooth and running the knife’s blade along with the concrete with the same movements as you would with a sharpening stone.   

How to Sharpen a Knife Without a Sharpener: Conclusion

Now you know these 12 unconventional hacks for how to sharpen a knife without a sharpener. These hacks will sharpen your dullness in a short amount of time. So, next time you need to sharpen your knife, whether, at home or hiking, these hacks are helpful to know. Happy sharpening! 

 Written by Grace Kreber

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