12 Everyday Objects To Sharpen a Knife Without Sharpener

12 Everyday Objects To Sharpen Your Knife Without Sharpener

If you’re like me, you can’t stand a dull knife. Not only is it difficult to use, but it is also dangerous. But what can you do if you don’t have a sharpening stone around?

The good news is that there are a dozen things you can use for sharpening a knife. The best part? These things can be found around your home! So what are these exactly? Let’s have a look at 12 everyday items you can use to sharpen your knives.

1. Using A Mug

If you want to sharpen a knife, all you need is something hard and coarse. You might not realize this, but there is a lot of things in your kitchen that fit this requirement. One of these are your mugs.

Most mugs today are made of ceramic. As we all know, ceramic is a very hard material. This is why we use ceramic knives, because of how hard it is. Other mugs are made of porcelain, which is also great for this trick.

All you need is a good mug to get your knife sharp. To do this, flip your mug upside down, you’ll see a coarse circle on the bottom. This is where your mug usually rests on the table. You want to find this circle because the rest of the mug is smooth, so it won’t do a very good job at sharpening.

Once you’ve found that coarse circle, all you need to do is stroke your knife on it. Stroke your knife like you would on a sharpening rod, lightly and at an angle. After a few strokes, feel for a burr. Then flip and do the other side.

2. Using A Plate

Staying in the kitchen, what else can you find that is ceramic or porcelain? Perhaps your plates are made of these materials? If they are, then they will make a great emergency knife sharpener.

Using your plate is the same as using your mug. Flip the plate over and look for that coarse circle underneath. Once you’ve found it, run your knife through it several times and get it sharp.

If your plate doesn’t have that coarse circle, you can still use it for sharpening. Look for any rough part of your plate, and that’ll do. If there’s none, you can always make one. Keep in mind though that this will damage your plate. So it may not be worth it. Besides, you can always use something else. Such as…

3. Using A Knife

That’s right. One of the best ways to sharpen a knife is by using another knife! If your mugs and plates fail you, you can always turn to another knife.

But before you go rubbing two knives together, it is important to know how to do it first. You do NOT want to rub both edges against each other. If you do this, you’ll destroy both knives.

Instead, the proper technique for this is to use the back of the blade for sharpening. The spine of your knife, opposite of the edge, is thin and flat. This makes it perfect for sharpening.

Use this like you would a sharpening rod. After a few passes, you’ll find your knife sharp and ready to cut.

4. Using A Nail File

Moving out of the kitchen, there are still a lot of items around your house you can use for sharpening. One of these is a nail file.

Nail files are made of steel, so they can sharpen knives. What makes them great though is their coarseness. Without this coarseness, this nail files wouldn’t be able to smoothen your nails. That is why it is so important for this tool.

You can take advantage of this coarseness and use it for sharpening your knives. Place your nail file down on a smooth surface, and sharpen like you would with a sharpening stone. The coarseness will get your knife sharp in a few strokes.

5. Using Sandpaper

Speaking of coarseness, nothing is coarser than some good sandpaper. The sandpaper has all the grit you want to sharpen your knife.

However, you shouldn’t just take your sandpaper and start rubbing it on your knife. Instead, you want to rub your knife on the sandpaper. It may seem small, but this makes a big difference. If you rub the sandpaper on your knife, there’s a big chance you’ll cut yourself.

So instead of doing that, place the sandpaper down on a flat surface, then stroke your knife against it. This will also prevent the flat of your knife from getting scratched.

6. Using Glass

Did you know that glass is a very hard material? It may shatter easily, but it is hard. If you take a look at the Mohs scale, you’ll see that glass is around as hard as steel knives.

This is why if your favorite sharpening stones aren’t around, all you need is some glass. Most glass is smooth, so you’ll need to find a coarse edge on them. Look for a piece of broken glass, or flip your glass cup upside down and look for the coarse circle.

A lot of people don’t realize that they have an amazing sharpener in their car. One trick that I love to use is the window sharpening trick. Roll your window down halfway, and you can use top of the glass as a sharpener. It is coarse and hard, perfect for getting your knife sharp. This is a great trick for whenever you’re on the road and need to cut something.

7. Using Concrete

When you’re on the road, it’s not only car windows that can help you. You can also use the road beneath you for sharpening! A lot of roads today are made using concrete. And this is all you need for eliminating the dullness in your knife.

So get down on the road, and start stroking your knife against it! It may sound absurd, but it works. You want to make sure the patch of the road you are using is clean. Pouring water in the area is also a good idea.

Concrete isn’t ideal for sharpening, but it is certainly an option. When emergencies arise, you won’t have the comfort of choosing. That’s why when you’re on the road, the concrete beneath you can also serve as your sharpener.

8. Using A Brick

If the road is too broad for you, you can also find a good brick to use. Bricks are great because they are shaped like sharpening stones. Again, they aren’t ideal, but they will do when you don’t have anything else around.

Because they’re shaped like sharpening stones, you can use bricks exactly the way you would normally sharpen. But don’t forget to wet the brick first like you would a whetstone.

9. Using A Rock

You don’t even need a nice brick to get sharpening. All you need is a flat rock. Go outside to your garden, you’re bound to find some there. Any rock that has a smooth flat surface will do.

This also makes the ultimate camping sharpener. When you’re out in the woods, finding something to sharpen your knife will be difficult. But thanks to this simple trick, you can get your blades ready in no time.

There’s no special technique in using a rock. Make sure you wet it first for the best results.

10. Using A Shovel

Another tool that can double as a knife sharpener is a shovel. You get the point by now, any surface that is hard and coarse makes a good sharpener. For the flat surfaces, sharpen like you would on a sharpening stone. For the thin surfaces, use them like a honing rod.

Shovels have this thin coarse surface. You can find this on the top edge, right at the top of the U shape. So use it as a honing rod to get your knife back to top condition.

11. Using A Leather Belt

If your knife isn’t dull but isn’t razor-sharp either, you need some stropping. This technique will turn your decent knife into a great one. How? By using a leather belt.

If you’re into knife sharpening, you surely use leather strops already. What you may not have realized though is that your leather belt will make a great strop.

All you need to do is to run your knife across your belt. Make sure the knife’s edge is moving away from the belt. If you push into the belt instead, the knife will cut it.

Yes, belts aren’t hard. But this technique isn’t for sharpening, it’s more for honing. This is a great second step after you’ve used one of the impromptu sharpeners I’ve mentioned above.

12. Using Cardboard

If you don’t have a leather belt around, but want to get that perfect finish, then get some cardboard. Like leather, this is perfect for honing your knife. Rubbing your knife against cardboard will remove any debris and polish it nicely.


At the end of the day, nothing beats a good sharpening stone. But now you see, even without sharpeners, you can still have razor-sharp knives. All you need is a hard coarse surface, and you can get sharpening right away!


I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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