Do knives go dull without use?

We all have this one knife we never use. It’s just lying there for years till the day you finally decide to use it only to found out that it’s dull. But why did it dull even though you didn’t use it?

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Knives do dull over time, even if you are not using them. In most cases, this happens due to not storing them correctly, but other factors may also play a roll in this, and you might be surprised at what they are.

I remember back when I was living at my mother’s house, she would have so many knives (and she still does), back then she did not know much about caring for a knife and, when one got dull, she would simply buy another one.

Luckily, the knives she bought were cheap, so I guess it was ok. I, on the other hand, prefer to work with more expensive knives, not too expensive, but, from my experience, if you pay a little more, you get much better value. Once I left the house, I would sometimes buy impulsively and barely (or even never) used it.

This was because I had or else bought another right after the first one (which might also have been impulsive buy) but then the second one would feel easier/better. Or for example, because I did not sell the old one, and it just laid there.

In any case, I did have from time to time use for them but, after a long period, I noticed that it had dulled, in fact, not a little but almost the same as one that I would use from time to time.

What is the reason for dulling without doing anything?

I had found out that unused knives will dull if you store them incorrectly; in fact, this is one of the most common mistakes people make. This happens due to the knives constantly rubbing on things. Ok, fine, so I just need to make sure they are not touching anything and I’m good right? Wrong!

Rust it seems is also a big problem; rusting of a knife is the second most common reason for your blade to dull without you ever touching them. Even if you are being careful with them not rubbing on things, they can rust because of oxidation.

Oxidation is something that most people are not aware of including me, but it is something that us real and but very hard to notice (only when it’s too late). You see, the dulling of a knife occurs at a level that is not visible to the human eye. The blade gets irregular and slowly deteriorates.

Basically, it causes rust to form on the edge of your knife. Because of this, the geometry of the edge changes. The more uneven it is, the “duller” it is. That doesn’t mean that a dull knife won’t cut, but it doesn’t cut cleanly and without resistance.

How can I avoid this?

There is no escape to it. All knives dull over time. Slowing down the process as much as possible would be the only thing you can do. First, make sure to keep your knife dry at all times and store them in a dry environment, someplace high would be ideal. it should be a place where you are not working so no water will ever reach it by accident.

An eggshell foam padded box could be the right solution but an expensive one, but at least then you are sure you have the best storage. Apply from time to time a small amount of mineral oil on them like 2-3 times a year is also helpful (applicable especially to high carbon steel knives).

This helps prevent surface oxidation and corrosion from moisture, which is why you need to avoid getting them wet in the first place.

Does this happen to every knife?

As mentioned previously all knives will dull over time. Some metals such as high carbon steels, titanium, and carbide do hold their edge longer than cheaper metals, but eventually, the same happens over time but just slower.

Ceramic blades, on the other hand, are harder than any metal – in fact, harder than anything except diamond. But even on a ceramic knife, with time, micro-abrasions, or nicks, will appear on its edge. This is part of the normal process by which all blades dull over time. So I guess this is a fact you just have to accept.

So all knives are doomed to dull eventually?

Short answer yes, but if you follow the instructions from this article, you will be fine for the most part. It might be needed for you to sharpen your knife maybe once or twice if you never use it, but then, what is the point in sharpening it in the first place?


I would not buy a knife if you have no use for it. Do not make the same mistake as I am and buy a bunch of knives and leave them hanging there just looking nice. if you have an emotional attachment to one knife and simply want to keep it. Just make sure to follow the guidelines in this article and you’ll be good. otherwise, I would simply try to sell them.

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