The Proper Way to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife

By Liza Hollis

There are many different ways to sharpen your knives for kitchen use, but some are considerably more effective than others. Sharpening your knives is not only essential to simplifying cutting in food preparation and serving, it can minimize safety concerns as well. If knives are allowed to become dull over time, they might not pierce the food when you are cutting and could instead slide off and cut the user. The best method for sharpening a kitchen knife is with the use of a whet stone.

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Sharp kitchen knives simplify cutting and can prevent safety hazards.

Step 1

Clean the knife blade to remove any built up residue. Never run good kitchen knives through the dishwasher. This will cause them to dull or tarnish quickly. Instead, clean the blade with a dry dish cloth quickly after use. Store in a block to keep them from getting scratched.

Step 2

Soak the whet stone in water for up to 10 minutes. This removes air from inside the stone. Higher grade stones do not require thorough soaking. Try wetting the stone. If air bubbles are released, the stone needs to be soaked until they are removed. Position the stone on a piece of cloth or wet paper towel.

Step 3

Hold the face side of your blade over the stone, approximately 1/8 inch. Hold it horizontally so that the most surface area of the blade is hovering over the stone and parallel. Do not cut into the whetstone with the sharp cutting edge.

Step 4

Brush the blade against the stone at a 15- to 20-degree angle. Slide the blade back and forth over the stone quickly and evenly at this angle. Continue until the blade is sharpened. Flip to the other side of the knife and repeat.

Step 5

Sharpen every few months for best results, or more often if you use the knife very frequently. Avoid using heavy detergents when cleaning the knife.