Can You Use Olive Oil To Sharpen Your Knife?

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When using a sharpening stone, you need to apply some oil to the stone to lubricate and make the process easier.

And when you’re just starting out with these tools, choosing the right oil can be pretty confusing.

In fact, there are a lot of people out there who ask if you can use olive oil to sharpen your knife.

The answer to that is yes, but it won’t do a great job. You can use just about any oil to lubricate your sharpening stone whether it be olive oil, mineral oil, or even coconut oil.

But that being said, certain oils will do the job better than others, and when sharpening a knife, the best oil that you can use is honing oil.

So why are some oils better than others?

This is exactly what we’ll discuss in this article, along with what characteristics you should look for when on the hunt for a sharpening oil.

Read on to learn more!

Should I Use Olive Oil For Sharpening?

There are some cooks out there who use this material when sharpening their knives, and it doesn’t exactly do a bad job.

It doesn’t harden, so you don’t have to worry too much about clogging, but at the end of the day, this is a food oil and not one designed for sharpening and honing steel.

Since it’s a food product, if you leave it on for a while, it will eventually develop a pretty rancid smell that can get pretty pungent.

So if you do choose to use this for sharpening your knives, at the very least, make sure to clean out the stone entirely and wipe the knife down before storing it so that it won’t develop an unpleasant order.

There are a lot of better choices out there when it comes to sharpening lubricants, but if you have nothing else available, olive oil would work just fine.

What Are The Features Of A Good Sharpening Oil?

In this section, we’ll take a look at what qualities you need to keep an eye out for when choosing oil for your sharpening stone.

The purpose of using oil when sharpening is to lubricate your stone, so almost all types can get the job done, but as we said before there are certain qualities and characteristics that make certain oils a better choice than others.

Odorless

This is one of the main characteristics you should look for in a sharpening lubricant.

It is also why food oils such as vegetable and olive oil aren’t exactly the best choice for this purpose.

While they will be able to do the job fairly well, they will develop a rancid odor if left to sit for a long time.

And if you’ve ever smelled rancid oil, you’d know that this isn’t something you’d want to happen to your knives or stones.

The substance can get stuck in the stone, and if it gets rancid, it will be hard for you to even go close to it, let alone use it for sharpening.

So when looking for the right lubricant for your stones, make sure to choose something with a neutral scent and try to avoid food oils as much as possible.

Non-Hardening

The next thing to look out for is whether or not the substance hardens.

Sharpening stones have pores, which is what sharpens your knives, and after a lot of use, some of the debris can get stuck in the pores, rendering your stone useless.

This is why people make sure to clean out their sharpening stones of any lubricant after they use it to ensure that it won’t get clogged.

That being said, debris isn’t the only thing that can clog up the pores.

There are certain substances that harden at room temperature, such as beef oil, which you would definitely know if you’ve ever cooked with beef.

When the oil hardens, that could clog up the pores of your sharpening stone and render it useless, which is why you need to make sure the lubricants you’re using won’t harden at room temperature so it will be easier to clean out the stone once you’re done sharpening.

Low-Viscosity

Lastly, you would need to make sure that the substance you choose has a low viscosity.

Of the three qualities we have discussed, this is the only one that actually affects your sharpening.

High-viscosity and heavy oils can get in the way of you getting a smooth stroke when sharpening, which could get in the way of the whole process and result in you having an improperly sharpened knife.

On top of that, heavy substances might also end up staining your blades when sharpening.

To avoid this, always go for substances that have low viscosity to make the whole process more efficient.

Conclusion

So if you’ve been planning to sharpen your knives but aren’t sure exactly what to use as a lubricant, this article should have helped you out.

It’s best to avoid food oils such as olive and vegetable oil since these can get pretty rancid and make it hard to get near your sharpening stones, let alone use them.

Make sure to get neutral oils that are very light such as honing and mineral oil to ensure that the process will be smooth, efficient, and won’t leave stains and odors on your tools!

Last Updated on April 28, 2021 by Andy Wang

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.