How to Dispose of Kitchen Knives – The Guide

So, your old kitchen knives have been sharpened to oblivion and are well and truly done for. What do you do with them now?

Whilst a good knife has the potential to last a lifetime, excessive use can cause it to reach an early grave. If you’re into cooking, then lower quality knives often just don’t cut the mustard and simply wind up being a false investment. Unfortunately, many people realise this too late and end up with a draw full of useless implements that they just want to be rid of. Even the best quality knives are destined to wear out at some point and will need to be disposed of.

However, throwing them out in the trash would be irresponsible for a number of reasons. Not only could their sharp edges stick through the bin bag and injure whoever is disposing of it, they could also be discovered and used as a weapon. Although knives are common and readily available, discovering a knife in the bin is far less deliberate than walking into a shop to buy one, which is why it is so dangerous to leave them lying around in public. With knife-crime an ever-persistent problem, you certainly don’t want to be the one contributing to its effects.

If you have a set of knives that you can’t wait to see the back of, here are some responsible solutions for disposing of them.

Recycling Centre

Simply disposing of an unsalvageable knife is wasteful to say the least, as they are often made from metals which can be recycled and reused. Your local dump may have a scrap metal facility that accepts knives, where you can be sure that they will be recycled responsibly.

Failing this, you can check with other local recycling companies who may be able to repurpose your knives. Depending on the material your knife is made from, you may even be able to sell it for scrap metal and make some money in the process. Whichever of these options you go for, you will be reducing your contribution to landfill as your knife will be melted down and reborn into something new.

Police Station

If you just want to get rid of your knives and be done with it, then most local police stations will offer a knife disposal facility. Here, you will simply be able to hand your old knives over and rest easy in the knowledge that they are in safe hands.

This is the most failsafe way of ensuring that your knives do not fall into the wrong hands and end up doing harm.


If you’re throwing away your old knives not because they’re done for but simply because you’ve upgraded, you might want to consider donating them to charity.

Good knives can be expensive, so charity shops are able to make decent money from selling them second hand, and what may be useless to you could well do the job for someone else – not everyone is Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen after all. This is not only a safe way of getting rid of your knives, it also means that they go to a good home for a good cause, rather than simply being wasted – it’s a win-win situation.

When donating your knives, you should ensure that they are wrapped up properly to avoid injury – you can create protective blade covers out of cardboard and donate them in a box. You should also make the charity shop staff aware that there are sharp objects in your donation. You may also wish to check that they follow the proper process of ID’ing any customers seeking to buy knives in line with the law.

Wrap Carefully

If you don’t have the time for any of the above options and are dead set on throwing your knives in the bin, then the least you can do is wrap them up safely. This not only prevents any sharp edges from poking through the bag, it also disguises them so that anyone rooting through the rubbish will not be able to recognise them as knives. There are a number of different options when it comes to wrapping your knives safely. Here are some of the best ones:

  • Plastic Bottle – By chopping off the end of a plastic bottle, you can create a container for your knife that is tough and resilient. You can tape up the open end to prevent the knife from falling out. This is a cheap and easy way to dispose of your knife safely using a throw-away item that can be found around the house.
  • Newspaper – Following placing your knife in a plastic container, you should wrap it up in newspaper in order to disguise it and to give an extra layer of protection.
  • Bubble Wrap – Encasing your knife in bubble wrap, secured by duct tape, is another good option to ensure that its sharp edges can’t lead to any harm. You should also wrap duct tape around the sharp end to prevent it poking through.
  • Cardboard – You can use a piece of scrap cardboard to create a sheath for your knife. Simply cut out a piece of thick card that is longer than the blade of the knife and fold it around to cover the sharp edges.
  • A Box – Following any of the above techniques, you can place your knife in a small box to provide added protection.
  • Dull the Blade – In order to be extra safe, you may wish to dull the blade fully before disposing of your knife. You can lightly hammer the blade or tap it against a hard object, such as concrete block, until the edge is flattened or bent into a less menacing shape. This will guarantee that it can’t cause any harm, whether intentional or not.

Solutions and Alternatives

If you want to avoid the hassle of disposing of your dull knives, then the best preventative measure is to buy good quality knives in the first place. By investing in knives that will last, you can save yourself time and money in the long run as you will neither have to buy new ones or dispose of old ones.

It is also important to care for your knives properly in order to extend their lifespan to the fullest extent possible. Learn how to sharpen your knives properly and buy the correct equipment to do so.

If you have already made the mistake of buying lower-quality knives, you may be able to give them a new lease of life with the right sharpening techniques. For better quality knives that you’re having trouble restoring, you may wish to have them sharpened professionally as this will give you the best chance of salvaging them.

It is always better to find a way to revive or reuse your knives, rather than disposing of them. However, if your knife truly does have its point firmly in the grave, then be sure to dispose of it responsibly.


How to Sharpen a Ceramic Knife – The Ultimate Guide

Ceramic knives have become popular for their many advantages. Being immune to the wear than can be caused by acids, they are completely stainless, making them ideal for cutting things such as citrus fruits. In addition, ceramic knives are very light and can be washed in the dishwasher unlike steel knives.

Ceramic knives are also lauded as being able to retain their sharp edges for longer than your average kitchen knife. Whilst this may be the case, ceramic knives do eventually suffer the same fate as all other knives. So, what happens when the blade begins to dull?

Ceramic knives are by their very nature far more brittle than metal knives, which means that they often suffer from nicks and chips more than steel knives. This also means that traditional sharpening methods cannot be applied to ceramic knives without running the risk of snapping them. This begs the question, is it possible to sharpen ceramic knives, or are they destined to fall into disuse?

Can They Be Sharpened?

Against all odds, it is indeed possible to sharpen ceramic knives. Whilst sharpening methods may not be capable of restoring their fresh-out-the-box former glory, they can certainly be utilised to extend the life-expectancy of a knife.

However, sharpening a ceramic knife doesn’t come without its difficulties. We will take a look at these here.

The Challenges

When it comes to sharpening a ceramic knife, there are some unique challenges you are likely to face:

  • Technique – Due to ceramic’s tendency to snap, placing pressure on the blade is a big no-no. This is why you’ll need to adopt a different technique when sharpening a ceramic blade on a stone versus a steel blade. For ceramic knives, rather than holding the block steady with one hand and the knife handle in the other, it is advisable to use your first hand to guide the blade along the stone. this will give it the support it needs to withstand the pressure without snapping. Just be very careful to keep your fingers well away from the blade itself.
  • Knowing When to Stop – The second challenge when it comes to sharpening a ceramic knife is knowing when to stop. With a steel knife, you can tell when it’s time to switch sides as a result of the burr that forms. As ceramic is not a ductile material, this is not the case with ceramic knives, which can make it very difficult to know where you’re at. This means that high levels of precision are required to get it right. It is always best to under-sharpen rather than over-sharpen, so you may need to test the knife at stages along the way.
  • Don’t Be Fooled – Be wary that ceramic sharpening rods are not capable of sharpening ceramics, as they are only the same strength and not stronger. These should be used only to sharpen metal knives whose strength is lower than ceramic.

Professional Sharpening

If you’re wary of the pitfalls of sharpening your ceramic knives, one of the best ways that you can ensure that they are sharpened to perfection without running the risk of damage is to take them to a professional. Although this may be expensive, it saves you having to buy specialised sharpening equipment and it reduces the chances of ending up with no knives at all due to breakages.

However, this method is not ideal as it involves taking your knives to a professional sharpener, which not only takes time but also means you’ll have to wait to get them back. If you want to complete the task yourself in the comfort of your own home, then here’s a look at your options.

Diamond Stone

Diamond stone is by far the most common and effective means by which to sharpen a ceramic blade. As ceramic is a far harder material than steel, diamond is the only material hard enough to sharpen it effectively and efficiently.

When using a diamond sharpening stone, you should begin with one that has a low grit level, or a coarser surface, in order to tackle any chips. You should then work up to a finer grit level, with a smoother surface to refine the blade.

Are There Any Other Alternatives?

If you’re unsure about purchasing a diamond stone especially for your ceramic knives, then there are some alternatives out there, which could double-up as sharpeners for the rest of your knives too:

  • Knife Sharpener – Some knife sharpening devices come with diamond stone add-ons, making them suitable for use with ceramic knives.
  • Electric Sharpeners – Some electric sharpeners are capable of sharpening ceramic knives, but it is imperative to check that they are compatible before trying, as many simply aren’t up to the job. You will need a sharpener with abrasives strong enough to handle ceramic, i.e. diamond abrasives.
  • Sharpening Stones – It is possible to sharpen a ceramic knife with the more traditional water stones used for steel knives. However, you will not obtain the same effect as using a diamond stone, which means a less effective and shorter-lived result.

Maintaining Your Ceramic Knife

One of the best ways you can minimise the need for sharpening and extend the lifespan of your ceramic knife is to maintain it properly. There are a number of things you should avoid when it comes to ceramics.

These include:

  • Glass Boards – Glass cutting boards have a higher probably of leading to chips or breakages in your knives. This is why wooden chopping boards are much kinder on ceramics.
  • Dishwashers – Dishwashers should also be avoided. Although ceramic knives are technically “dishwasher safe”, it is risky business as debris may fly at them during the wash cycle causing breakages.
  • Tough Foods – In addition, you should not attempt to cut very tough or frozen foods with a ceramic knife as this may again result in breakages.
  • Manhandling – Proper care should be taken when handling ceramic knives. Dropping or tossing a ceramic knife should especially be avoided, as this is more than likely to result in it breaking; for this reason, ceramics should also be stored somewhere safe away from other utensils.

Are They Worth It?

Whilst ceramic knives certainly can last a lot longer than steel before they need sharpening, they will eventually become dull. When it comes down to it, the difficulty that is met when the time comes for sharpening a ceramic knife is simply not worth it for many people. Unless you are willing and able to take on the challenge, then you may be best sticking to traditional steel knives.


Knife Sharpening Guide – How to Effectively and Efficiently Sharpen Common Knives  

Sharpening The Blade

If you’re getting serious in the kitchen, then a sharp knife is an essential tool. Dull blades can cause a hazard in the kitchen, as you will have to struggle to use them, which is more likely to result in accidents.

If you’re searching for the best method of sharpening your knives, that will not only restore their effectiveness but also result in lasting effects and the least damage possible to your implements, here is a breakdown of all the different methods out there and their pros and cons.

Sharpening Stones

Sharpening stones, otherwise known as whetstones, are used across the board to sharpen all kinds of metal tools, and knives are no exception. Their coarse surface is able to grind and hone the surface of a knife to allow you to reach a razor-sharp edge.

Sharpening stones can be found in a whole range of different materials offering varying coarseness, which is measured according to the grit size and density of their particles. A higher grit size corelates with higher density; this equals smaller particles that provide a less abrasive tool, which can be used to create a finer finish.

Although it is possible to find natural sharpening stones, such as Coticule or Novaculite, artificially created stones tend to dominate the market due to their superior abilities and uniform particle size. You can often find sharpening blocks with a different particle size on either side, allowing for a whole range of different functions.

When sharpening your knife using a stone, it is essential to consider the following:

  • Selecting a Coarseness – You should always be careful to select the correct coarseness for each particular knife. Knives which simply need a quick refresher will only require a medium or fine stone. Blunt knives, on the other hand, should start with the coarsest stone to achieve sharpness, followed by a finer stone to refine the blade. Generally speaking, all knives will benefit from working through to the finest stone – only those which will be used for cutting soft vegetables are better with a toothed edge created by a coarser blade.
  • Choosing a Sharpening Angle – There is no use sharpening a knife if you get the angle wrong, which is why it is essential to take this into consideration before you begin. This is easiest if you know what angle your knife was sharpened at to begin with – these details can be found from the manufacturer of the knife. However, these angles usually fall within the ten to thirty-degree mark. The majority of knives which are to be used to cut hard products work well with a twenty-degree angle for a durable edge. On the other hand, knives used for softer foods should go slightly lower than this for the best effects, although the results may not last as long. Maintaining the angle whilst sharpening is essential to achieve a precise edge.
  • Maintaining the Angle – For the less experienced among us, a sharpening guide is a powerful ally when it comes to maintaining a consistent angle when sharpening. This allows you to achieve a sharp and precise edge using a small tool designed to maintain a consistent angle when sharpening. This removes room for mistakes in attempting it freehand. Another method which can be used to determine whether a consistent angle has been maintained is to shade the sloped edge of the knife with a black marker. If you have kept to a consistent angle, then this marker will have disappeared following a couple of strokes.
  • Wetting the Stone – Water or oil is sometimes used to lubricate sharpening stones as a method by which to dispel any waste material that arises whilst sharpening, thus preventing it from obstructing the surface of the stone. this makes the sharpening process more efficient and effective. It can also reduce the need for resurfacing or cleaning following use.
  • Sharpening Technique – The knife should be swept across the block sideways a number of times, moving from base to tip, first on one side and then on the other. It should be swept with the blade coming from bottom to top – in the opposite motion to that which would be used to slice a thin layer from the surface of the stone.
  • When to Use – Sharpening stones should not be used too often, as they can wear down the knife and reduce its lifespan. They are best kept for desperate times, when your knife is becoming unmanageably blunt.

Sharpening Rods

Sharpening steels or rods commonly come as part and parcel of a knife block, meaning they are often more readily available than sharpening stones. They provide a quick and easy fix when you need to refresh your knives. Sharpening steels are effective at topping up the sharpness of your knives throughout their lives but may not be capable of reviving a very blunt blade.

Honing rods are capable of smoothing out the blade of your knife, removing any bumps or nicks that may be causing resistance in your cutting motion. They are a good solution for a quick fix that will not significantly alter the lifespan on your knife.

When sharpening using a honing rod, your technique should be as follows:

  • How to Hold – The honing rod should be held facing horizontally outwards at a slight incline, in your non-dominant hand. Your knife should be held in your dominant hand so that you can maintain a firm grip whilst sharpening.
  • The Angle – As with sharpening stones, the ideal angle for sharpening is approximately twenty-degrees and should be maintained as consistently as possible throughout the process for the best effects.
  • The Motion – The knife should be drawn across the length of the honing rod, using a wrist motion to begin with the base of the blade and move up to the tip of the knife as you reach the end of the rod. Between six to eight sweeps should be adequate to complete the task. This should be repeated on the top side and the bottom side of the rod, so that both sides of the knife are sharpened.

Pull Through Sharpeners

Pull through sharpeners consist of a device which contains gritted grinding wheels, which you can simply pull your knife through in order to sharpen.

Although these are very easy to use, the effects are usually not as good. They are incapable of achieving the fine edges made possible with sharpening stones, and their results are usually short-lived. It is usually not possible to achieve a fully smooth edge or a razor-sharp blade with a pull through sharpener.

Electrical Sharpening Machine

Electric knife sharpeners are not something you find in every kitchen. These consist of a device containing a number of different slots with varying sharpening wheels, which are set at a precise angle.

On the plus side, they are very quick and easy to use and can achieve precise and reliable results. On the down side, their ready-set angles reduce flexibility for knives which require something a little more nuanced. In addition, they can significantly reduce the lifespan of a knife compared to practically every other method, as they diminish the metal much faster. Furthermore, they are quite large, so are not suitable for kitchens with limited storage.

A Coffee Mug

You’re probably wondering ‘did I read that right?’ – but, yes, a coffee mug can be used to sharpen a knife. If you place your mug upside-down on a clear, flat surface, it can act in much the same way as a sharpening stone. Drag each edge your knife along the edge of the cup several times at a twenty-degree angle. Just don’t try this with your favourite mug!

The Recommendation

If you want a set of effective knives which are sharpened to perfection, then the best option is to use a combination of a sharpening rod and sharpening stones. Whilst the steel rod can be used regularly to top up the performance of a knife and maintain longevity, the sharpening stone can be whipped out when times get really tough and your knife is crying out for a new lease of life.