How to Sharpen a Knife Without a Sharpener

Whether you are out in the wilderness or at home, having a sharp knife is vital for survival. Knives are rendered useless if they are dull and you don’t have a sharpener at hand. Turns out, there are many items that can be used as sharpeners and can be found around your house or outside. You don’t have to break your bank buying an expensive knife sharpener when there are other options that work just as well.

The Bottom of a Mug or Plate

Ceramic mugs and plates can be found in almost every household and can be used as a knife sharpener. Turn a mug over and locate the raw part that is used to keep it from sliding around. Using that rough ceramic piece sharpens by removing materials from the blade, creating a discoloration on the mug.

Sandpaper or Nail file

These may not be readily available in some houses, but the rough surfaces can sharpen a knife as good as a store bought knife sharpener. Sandpaper and nail files are cheap and versatile so they are good to have around. To sharpen, run the cutting edge of the knife on the sandpaper or file until you meet your desired sharpness.

Broken Glass

Any broken glass bottle or edge will work. Be aware of uneven breaks before using it as a sharpener. Hold the knife at an angle against the glass edge and slide it a few times in the same direction. This sharpens your knife easily and quickly.


The good thing about concrete is that you can find it anywhere, but using it to sharpen your knife can cause damage to the knife. The concrete has to be smooth and in good condition. Use it just as you would a sharpening stone. Stropping afterward will help smooth out the blade

Smooth Stones

The next best thing from a sharpening stone is a smooth stone that can be found in or around rivers. To create a smoother stone, take two stones and rub them together to grind off any rough parts. Then, use it the same way to sharpen as you would if you used a sharpening stone.

Another Knife

This is a great reason to carry two knives when going on camping trips. Having two knives made with different or more rough material will have the best results. Simply drag one of the knives edges across the other to sharpen it.

It’s that simple and there are that many amazingly easy ways to sharpen a knife.