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One day I came home from the grocery store so excited to dig into all of the juicy tropical fruit I'd scored. The deep reds, bright oranges, sunny yellows, and rich greens were truly gorgeous. I was going to make a delicious fruit salad.


Then I tried cutting into the fruit, and my knife just sort of smooshed it all. Ugh!

I needed to sharpen my knife in a pinch -- trouble is, I don't own a knife sharpener. So I figured out the next best thing: my morning coffee mug.

It's true, the bottom of most ceramic coffee mugs have a flat, unglazed ring that is the perfect surface for giving that dull knife a quick sharpening. Just run the blade across the bottom of the mug at a 45-degree angle, working from the butt up near the knife's handle to the tip. Slide the blade downward in one direction, keeping your fingers out of the way as you work.

This little trick will sharpen your knife like new in a few quick strokes. Just don't use try it on serrated knives.

Now, if you've flipped over all of your mugs and none have the unglazed ring, no worries -- a terra cotta pot will work just as well. Or try flipping over some of your soup or cereal bowls.

Think that's cool? I have some easy ideas for sharpening other kitchen implements too!

- Sharpen can opener blades by running a piece of waxed paper through the mechanism. It will clean and sharpen in one quick step.

- If your scissors are dull, fold a piece of aluminum foil several times and give it a bunch of snips with your scissors. You won't believe the difference. If you don't have any aluminum foil in the house, try cutting through some sandpaper instead; it'll give you the same outcome.

See? It's never too late to sharpen your kitchen skills.

I'm Mrs. FIXIT and it's just that simple! Check out my site, Mrs. FIXIT.

SEE ALSO:

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Craft a DIY Knife Block in 2 Hours


  • Ed Taylor

    My dad taught me another way of sharpening knives is on the edge of your car window. It has the same effect as a hoaning stick. I've seen him do it hundreds of times when sitting and waiting om my mother when shopping. It will put a great edge on the knife. I have done the sandpaper trick on scissors while messing around in the shop. It seem to make them better but uses up good sandpaper.

    Reply
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  • Al Schrader

    I'm actually a knife maker. Most of what I've seen on here is, well, not good.
    Using sandpaper, foil, or common household items to sharpen a knife is not recommended. Only in the worst cases is using a whetstone suggested. If your knife has gotten to the point that it needs an abrasive to restore it, more than likely it has been abused to the level of being junk. Kitchen cutlery should only be sharpened using a tool called a Sharpening Steel. This requires a certain level of skill. I'll teach anyone that asks me how to use this. The sharpening steel is made from a material that is a Rockwell Hardness greater than the knife and as a result "hones" the edge to smooth perfection. Dragging the edge of a knife across a ceramic cup bottom creates a myriad of scratches essentially ruining the blade. Alfred Schrader-


  • Gary

    TAKE YOUR KNIVES TO A PROFESSIONAL SHAPENER PERIOD! BUY ONLY GOOD KNIVES, NOT THE GINSU OR A KNIFE THAT WILL CUT A NAIL IN HALF..WHAT'S THAT ALL ABOUT? HAND FEEL AND WEIGHT ARE THE GOAL. TOO LIGHT OF A KNIVE CAN CUT YOU AS WELL. ONCE YOU MASTERED BASIC KNIFE SKILLS A BIGGER KNIVE BECOMES YOUR FRIEND. REMEMBER THIS: A KNIFE IS A TOOL, AND LIKE AL TOOL EACH HAS IT'S APPLICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS. IF YOU USE THE WRONG KNIFE FOR THE WRONG APPLICATION YOU COULD BECOME SERIOUSLY INJURED.
    CHEF KONKY

    Reply
  • sunny

    Here's a radical idea...How about using a sharpening stone?
    It's called the right tool for the job.
    Duh.

    Reply
  • kausnerrl

    now that's what I"M talking about!


  • Mark

    I learned young how to sharpen knives on a stone, I honed this skill to where I can make them too sharp, they'll cut you quick if you accidentally put any pressure on the blade at all. In school I learned to sharpen the wood shop tools, it is a skill that has to be mastered, you need to know the correct angles and use quality stones/tools. The knives you buy will also be afected, has to be quality steel to hold the edge, and you need to own a steel to maintain the blade between sharpening, not for serated blades. Go to a good knife shop and buy a quality steel, that's what it is, a steel rod, forget the stupid diamond steel that is selling at all stores, they grind the blade, you just meed to stand the edge back up, starting price is usually $50. Ends up to wheter you want to cut or tear the item, serated blades tear through, straight blades cut and only use them on a WOOD board.

    Reply
  • Sparks

    So; don't have a coffee mug, eh? (Savage!) I wouldn't want to destroy or disshevell (?) any sharpie (ugh!) in the biz of feeding his kids through knife sales - but a common brick works just as well - maybe a convenient flat spot of concrete, and on and on. Lay your blade as flat as possible, and "scour" it with a slow motion. "Swish" it - backhandedly - back edge toward you. No lube needed - nothing magic about it. The rougher the texture of the abrasive, the faster it'll sharpen. You want a nice, clean - non-burred knife edge? Finish up with a fin grit. Emery wheels don't work very well, since they're usually spinning at 500 rpm and faster. They'll burn a thin blade in a heart beat. Have a fun life. That's what I'm doing. Sparky

    Reply
  • joe ring

    i think a clarification needs to be made. there is a difference between straightening a blade and sharpening. when you use a honing stick (either metal or ceramic like the t.v. chefs use), you're not really sharpening, but straightening the blade. this does help the blade seem 'sharper'. but true sharpening is only done by actually removing material from the blade to redefine a new sharp edge. i use a ceramic 'sharpening' stick at home, but this is just for daily use.....when i need a blade sharpened (about once a year) i take my blades to an expert.

    Reply
  • johnpod

    Using tinfoil or sandpaper to sharpen scissors in this manner is not good
    practice as it will result in wearing the inside of the blade which is needed
    for the scissor action. Scissors should be sharpened in the same manner
    as a knife by rubbing the tapered edges with an abrasive.

    Reply
  • brockl24

    If you want to sharpen your knifes you are better off buying a stone and a steel(If you dont already have one. Most people have one in their draws but dont know what it is). You can find an ok stone for around $20-$40 that will do its job for what you need. It shoudn't be any lower than 1000 grit on it's roughest side. Anything lower will take to much metal off the knife and if you dont know how to use the stone properly you can do more bad then good.When you get the stone watch some how-to videos so you can learn how to correctly use a stone. Using it improperly will casue the knife to ware unevenly,so it is important that you learn the correct way .This artical is telling you to put your knife at a 45 degree angel. That is way to much, you want about a 20 degree angel. Once your knife is sharp after using the stone run it across the steel, it redefines the edge. You should run your knife across the steel 5 or 6 times each time. It may seem like a lot but it will help keep your knife sharp.

    Reply
  • Becca

    I grew up watching my Grandmother sharpen her knifes on the edge of the concrete steps of the back porch. Its works like a charm if you need an emergency sharpening!

    Reply
  • Christine V. Eiskant

    I Love your sharpening ideas! I have a little sharpener I got for less than $7.50 that's lasted me more than 2 years, and it's plastic! I have learned by sharpening my knife each time before I use it, it is like having a new knife every time. I do have a question that no one seems to be able to answer, and I hope you can help me. How in the world do you sharpen a serrated knive. I have several, and I also have several that are part straight, with parts of tham that are serrated! I haven't the slightest idea what to do with them:) Anyway, thanks again for all your advise, and please don't stop giving it to soon. My mama used to say don't give unwanted advise, so I am making it official, P-l-e-a-s-e keep giving your wonderful advise. Thanks, Christine Eiskant

    Reply
  • cj

    This guy who says to use a ceramic dish must not be married. I am married and I am not fool enough to use my wife's dishes for that and at the same time furnish her a sharper knife.

    I think the proper tool for the proper job is the best advice.

    You can't hollow grind anything with a coffe cup. It might be handy to use this idea at Denny's, but don't do this to a good knife. If it is not hollow ground, then it is not ground as well as it could be. It would take pictures to more esily explain hollow grinding to you that don't know what it is.

    Reply
  • chckpope

    Next you'll be telling people how to use a pair of pliers as a hammer, or a butter knife as a screw driver. There is NO substitute for using the right tool. Stones are not that expensive that so every household could easily have 1 or 2. I've been sharpening knives and wood carving tools for years and if I ever saw someone rubbing them on the concrete or cup bottoms I would come unglued. Get some knives made from a good Swiss steel and they will keep there edge longer. You can tell if your knives are sharp before trying to use them by simply holding them up to the light, a sharp edge will shine and you will see no ridges or chips.

    Reply
  • Gert

    My grandmother used to sharpen knives this way many many years ago

    Reply
  • Alann

    We have the old-fashioned kind of knife sharpener just like our mothers used, made with a series of steel discs. It was one of a box of gadgets received as a wedding gift almost 54 years ago. But I have a question--what about sharpening an apple corer/wedger that doesn't do the job any more? Is there any really good way of doing that?

    Reply
  • Peter W.

    Good idea. But also remember that this trick does not work on a hollow-ground knife, only bevel ground. And further, one should turn the knife over with each stroke - that is do not stroke only one side of the edge. that will cause a curl on the edge that will make it duller than before.

    Note that when people use a 'steel' to hone a knife, they turn the blade with each stroke - for that reason.

    Reply
  • rita

    use steel wool to sharpen you knives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    do it until you think the knife is sharp!
    that's it!

    Reply
  • Zac

    Do NOT EVER sharpen a Knife at a 45 degree angle. You will kill the blade. Knives should be shapened at a 12-17 degree angle nothing more! trust me I know what I am talking about I used to sharpen knives for a living now im a chef.

    Reply
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