Do Knife Sharpeners Go Bad? Here’s The Truth

There is hardly any kitchen that wouldn’t boast of having some knives, and where there are knives, it’s important to have knife sharpeners to help the edges stay sharp. It is only a sharp knife that effectively enables you to prep your meal with easy.

However, many are concerned about these sharpeners. Do they last long, will they never need replacement, or do knife sharpeners go bad too? The ultimate answer here lies in the type of sharpener you are using and the kind of abrasive surface it has. Now, let’s explore all of these below. 

Different Types of Knife Sharpeners and Their Life Span 

There are different types of sharpeners, each with its pros and cons, which add up to determine its lifespan. Other factors, like how often they are used and the type of knife used on them, will also contribute to this lifespan. 

1. Sharpening Steel

Do Knife Sharpening Steels Go Bad?

Sharpening steels are in two categories. You have the ceramic sharpening steel and the diamond sharpening steel. The diamond sharpening steel has a diamond-embedded rod surface. The knife glides over the abrasive surface to get sharpened. Thus, the more frequently you use a diamond sharpening steel, the faster it gets worn out. Typically, it can go bad between two to five years

On the other hand, the ceramic sharpening steel is made from fired ceramic, and it is very brittle and highly durable. The abrasive surface is so strong that it doesn’t wear out at all. However, it can get clogged up by accumulated metal particles over the years, which can be removed by running warm soapy water over it. 

2. Whetstone

Do Whetstones Go Bad?

Whetstones are not strange to homes, and they are the perfect sharpeners for expensive long knives. They are also made with different types of stones and abrasive surfaces. They could be made with water or oil stones, and they could even have abrasive diamond surfaces. It’s common to find them made from Arkansas stone, Carborundum stone, or even aluminum oxide stone. 

Regardless of this material, they wear out over a while. The whetstone’s surface favored for constant sharpening gets flattened over time.  You might even need another stone to get the whetstone plain again. However, a good quality whetstone can last you for ten years, if not more, but deterioration might be noticeable within those years. 

3. Electric Knife Sharpeners

Do Whetstones Go Bad?

An electric knife sharpener seems to be an indestructible alternative when it comes to choosing a suitable knife sharpener. However, it is an electric appliance, and just like every other appliance, it can go bad and get damaged. You need to understand that not every knife is suitable for a knife sharpener. Thus, it is essential to go through the user manual to understand the best knife for your electric knife sharpener. 

Firstly, the grinding wheel cannot regulate the number of metal particles the sharpener removes. All it can regulate is the speed. The accumulated metal particles on the surface of the grinding wheel might render the sharpener inactive after a while. Secondly, since it is electric, it can run into voltage or circuit glitches, rendering the entire sharpener grounded.  

Do Knife Sharpeners Go Bad?

There is no doubt that all these sharpeners will deteriorate in one way or another depending on how you use and care for them. Thus, it would help if you cared for your sharpeners as much as you care for your knives. Clean particles off them immediately after use, apply an essential oil and unplug them from the power source when necessary. You will be enjoying your sharpener for a long time. 


It is always sad to invest quite a fortune on a knife sharpener only to have it go bad after a while. Many have sought out expensive sharpeners in a bid to have just one type of knife sharpeners for all their knives. Many have wondered how do knife sharpeners go bad even after caring so much for them?

You need to understand that caring for your knife sharpeners can only reduce the speed of deterioration and cannot prevent it. 

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