Why Is a Dull Knife More Dangerous Than a Sharp Knife

Dull knives are more dangerous since they require more force to cut an object, leading to more significant damage when they slip. Likewise, cuts from dull blades are more irregular and jagged, thus, taking more time to heal and might cause an infection.

Thus, keeping your knives sharp is recommended, so you don’t suffer any of the safety consequences of a dull knife.

For more reasons to keep a knife sharp, continue reading.

Dull Knife vs. Sharp Knife: The Safety Concerns

Besides managing better cooking times, there are several safety concerns around keeping a knife sharp.

Below, I address some of them that you’ll resonate with too.

#1 Dull Knives Cause Kitchen Accidents

Sharp knives rely on a sharp edge to catch on to objects you’re cutting and slice into them seamlessly. You have to rely on force with a dull knife to make the same cut. Likewise, the knife edge doesn’t catch on to the object you’re cutting, so it can slip.

Such slips could catch your hand or fingers (depending on how you’re holding the knife) or other body parts.

#2 Dull Knives Cause Worse Skin Cuts

Nobody likes knife accidents, but the cuts are often minimal and regular with sharper knives. However, blunt blade cuts are often deeper, irregular, and jagged due to the force behind the dull knife. Thus, they heal later than sharp knife cuts and may even cause a knife-cut infection.

#3 Dull Knife Leads to Poor Cutting Techniques

Proper knife cutting techniques rely on sharp knives to work.  Otherwise, you’ll have to defer to other unconventional knife usage styles to get the best of a dull knife.

For example, cutting with the knife edge towards (rather than away from) your body with a dull knife.

This makes it easier for the dull blade to slip and stab you.

In fact, I was reading some answers on Quora, and this has happened to someone.

So, you know enough to keep your knives sharp now.

#4 Repeated Dull Knife Usage Makes Sharp Knives Unsafe

This is one I don’t see many people talking about.

When you’ve been using dull knives for a long time, you might forget what a sharp knife feels like. It takes cooking in someone else’s kitchen or getting a new set of sharp knives to make a silly mistake by applying too much pressure.

I don’t need to tell you how that could end wrongly.

#5 Dull Knives Will Change Direction During Cuts

Perhaps the scariest move that a dull knife makes is changing direction during a cut, mainly due to some parts of the edge being sharper than others.

Such unanticipated changes in direction could cause a kitchen accident, especially if the knife edge changes in the direction of your fingers, hand, or both.

What Should You Do When You Have a Dull Knife?

The obvious thing that comes to mind is to sharpen the knife. However, you may also need to remove the rust on a dull knife, change the blade, or trash it.

Likewise, depending on the knife, you might need to sharpen it differently.

However, what do you do if you’re not close to a standard whetstone?

Here are a few things to do when you have a dull knife:

  • Sharpen it on a whetstone: Get your whetstone out to sharpen that knife. You can find a complete whetstone knife sharpening guide here.
  • Sharpen with other tools: If you don’t have a whetstone handy, you can sharpen your knife with other tools. Follow this guide to unconventional knife sharpening to get started.
  • Strop the knife: Sometimes, you may need to strop the blade, especially if you’ve just sharpened it, but it remains dull. Fortunately, I have a guide to stropping knives for you.
  • Hone the blade: As long as you have a good knife, you don’t have to sharpen it more than 3-5 times a year. You only need to hone the blade in most cases, and it’ll start working correctly again.
  • Remove rust on the blade: Is your knife getting dull from excess rust on the blade? Here’s a complete resource for removing knife rust with different methods.
  • Get another knife: For knives that have been used for some time, it may be time to change the blade altogether. Look through this buying guide to choose the right knife.

Depending on the situation of your dull knife, one of the pointers above will work for you.

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One Comment

  1. I am always on the lookout for interesting articles about knives. I found this one to be very unique because it talks about how having a dull knife is more dangerous than someone with an edge-rated tool in their hand!
    The way you mention why in your article makes sense too and has really helped me think through some situations that might occur when using either type of blade ( sharpen or unsharpened).

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