Sharpen Up: 4 Ways to Tell if Your Knives are Dull

I feel a little silly admitting this but…I’ve been using dull knives now for a few years and honestly didn’t even realize it. I just recently read an article with some tips on how to tell if your knives need sharpening and after my knives failed every single test (yikes!) I realized I very obviously need to sharpen my knives.

Embarrassing, I know. I guess it’s just one of those things that happens so gradually you barely notice it and forget what they used to be kinda thing. My mom got me a nice knife block for Christmas probably 5 years back and I definitely use these babies for at least one meal a day so it’s not like they’ve been sitting there collecting dust for 5 years. We have some sort of chopped veggies dish or side everyday so I can’t wait to see how drastically my life will improve when my prep-work game improves :)

Anyway, we have the smartest readers around so I’m sure none of you are silly like me and only sharpen your knives once every five years, but here are some tips on how to tell if your knives are getting dull and could use a good sharpen.

1. The blade feels dull.

It's useful to get familiar with the way the blade of the knife feels, albeit very carefully. Gently run your fingertips over the edge of the blade. Sharp knives simply feel sharp, with a blade that has a well-defined, distinct edge. On the other hand, if the blade feels dull or rounded, you're knife will benefit from being sharpened.

2. It's not sharp enough to cut paper.

A piece of paper (standard white paper or even a magazine page will do) is a fast and easy way to tell if your knife needs sharpening. Hold the paper upright, and with your other hand hold the knife at the top edge and slice downward. A sharp knife will slice the paper cleanly in two. It's time to sharpen your knife if the blade slides off the edge or rips the paper unevenly.

3. It smashes tomatoes.

How well does your knife slice tomatoes? Sharp blades will slice cleanly through this delicate fruit, without needing much downward force. If your knife pushes down on the tomato or the blade catches on the skin, it's time to get your knife sharpened.

4. It slips off an onion.

Still not sure? Put your knife to the onion test. A sharp knife will move straight through the skin and layers with ease. However, if your knife slips or slides off this veggie's slick skin, it's a telltale sign the blade needs sharpening.

Now, for the next question: do you have any tips for me on what knife sharpener you life? Please feel free to share any sharpening tips in the comments below. :)


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author!

blog comments powered by Disqus