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What can I use to sharpen my blender blades?

If your blender blades have gotten dull from frequent use, there are several effective and inexpensive ways you can sharpen them at home. Sharpening blender blades regularly helps maintain optimal performance and prevents you from having to replace the blades frequently.

Why Blender Blades Get Dull

There are a few key reasons why blender blades become dull over time:

  • Frequent use – The more you use your blender, the more wear and tear occurs on the blades. The friction from blending causes the sharp edges to gradually round off.
  • Blending hard ingredients – Ingredients like ice, frozen fruit, nuts, and seeds can chip and nick the blender blades.
  • Improper care – Not cleaning the blades properly or handling them roughly can lead to damage and dulling.
  • Quality of blades – Lower quality blades may become dull faster than high-quality stainless steel blades.

Dull blender blades lead to poorly blended smoothies, purees, and other recipes. The blender motor has to work much harder when the blades are not sharp. Over time, dull blades can burn out the motor and require blade or machine replacement.

How to Tell if Your Blender Blades Are Dull

Here are some signs that indicate your blender blades need sharpening:

  • Food is not blending smoothly or thoroughly. You see large chunks or unblended pieces.
  • Recipes take much longer to blend than they used to.
  • The blender seems to strain when blending and the motor runs loudly.
  • You see nicks, chips, or rounded edges on the cutting blades.
  • The blender blade makes a grinding noise when running.

If your blender shows any of these signs, it’s time to sharpen the blades. Sharpening is recommended every 6-12 months for regular blender users. More frequent sharpening may be needed if you use the blender daily.

Effective Ways to Sharpen Blender Blades

Here are 5 of the most effective methods for sharpening dull blender blades at home:

1. Use a Blender Cleaning Stone

Blender cleaning stones, also called sharpening stones, are designed specifically for the task of sharpening blender blades. These handy devices allow you to sharpen the blades without needing to remove them from the blender jar.

To use a blender stone:

  • Fill the blender jar halfway with warm water and a couple drops of dish soap.
  • Put the blender stone into the jar and screw on the blade unit tightly.
  • Run the blender on low speed for 30-60 seconds, using the stone to sharpen the blades.
  • Remove the stone and rinse the blades thoroughly.

Blender cleaning stones can sharpen even very dull blades. They are quick and easy to use. Stones designed for blenders have a coarse grit size and shape that conforms to the curve of the blades. Look for a stone made specifically for blenders to get the best results.

2. Use a Wet Sharpening Stone

A wet sharpening stone, also called a whetstone, is a rectangular block made from materials like silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, or nova stone. When water is applied to the stone, it provides an abrasive surface ideal for sharpening knives, blades, tools, and other implements.

Here is the method for using a whetstone to sharpen blender blades:

  • Remove the blender blade assembly from the jar.
  • Rinse the blades and dry thoroughly.
  • Place the whetstone on a stable surface and apply a small amount of water.
  • Hold the blade edge at a 20 degree angle against the stone.
  • Make smooth, circular motions across the stone for 30-60 seconds per blade.
  • Repeat on all blades until sharp.
  • Rinse blades and dry well before reassembling.

Look for a whetstone with a relatively coarse grit of 120 or 200 to sharpen blender blades effectively. The circular sharpening motions evenly hone and sharpen the cutting edges.

3. Use a Handheld Knife Sharpener

A handheld knife sharpener is another handy tool that can be used to sharpen blender blades. These devices have either a V-shaped sharpening notch or small abrasive sharpening wheels.

To sharpen with a handheld sharpener:

  • Remove the blender blade assembly and rinse the blades.
  • Start with one blade edge and hold at a 20 degree angle in the sharpening slot.
  • Draw the blade through the slot from base to tip in one smooth motion; repeat 5-10 times.
  • Rotate and sharpen all edges and blades in the same way.
  • Rinse blades, dry, and reassemble once finished.

Look for a sharpener designed for thick blender blades. Ceramic sharpeners tend to work better than metal. Always match the angle of the blade to the angle of the sharpener slot.

4. Use Sandpaper

Surprisingly, regular sandpaper can also sharpen dull blender blades very effectively. The abrasive grit quickly hones and realigns the cutting edges.

To sharpen with sandpaper:

  • Detach the blender blade assembly and rinse the blades.
  • Lay a sheet of 200 grit sandpaper on a flat surface.
  • Hold a blade edge at a 20 degree angle and rub it back and forth across the sandpaper.
  • Rotate to sharpen all edges, using moderate pressure and smooth motions.
  • Repeat with finer 400 grit paper once initial sharpening is complete.
  • Rinse blades well, dry, and reattach to the blender.

Use coarse 200 grit paper for initial sharpening, then finer 400 grit to refine the edge. Move the blade in opposite directions across the paper to sharpen evenly.

5. Use a Dremel Rotary Tool

A Dremel rotary tool equipped with a grinding stone is a fast and effective way to sharpen very dull, damaged blender blades. The high-speed circular grinding quickly restores a sharp edge.

To sharpen with a Dremel tool:

  • Remove the blade assembly and separate the blades if possible.
  • Secure each blade with clamps or pliers to hold steady.
  • Attach a small grinding stone to the Dremel and turn to lowest speed.
  • Holding blade steady, grind across edge with smooth, even motions.
  • Repeat on all blades and edges until restored to sharpness.
  • Rinse well to remove any metal debris before reassembling.

Take care not to overheat and discolor the blades with a Dremel tool. Dip blades in water periodically to cool during sharpening.

Sharpening Method Pros Cons
Blender Cleaning Stone – Designed for blender blades
– Very easy to use
– No blade removal needed
– Need to purchase stone
Whetstone – Can use for knives too
– Leaves a very sharp edge
– Need to remove blades
– Takes some skill
Handheld Sharpener – Very quick and easy
– Portable for travel
– Some only work on smaller blades
Sandpaper – Simple and inexpensive
– Easy to find
– May wear unevenly
– Takes time
Dremel Tool – Sharpens fast
– Good for heavy damage
– Can overheat
– Requires clamps

Tips for Sharpening Blender Blades

Follow these tips to safely and effectively sharpen your blender blades:

  • When removing the blades, handle carefully by the plastic base to avoid cuts.
  • Use a 20 degree sharpening angle to match most blender blade edges.
  • Sharpen all edges and blades evenly to maintain balance.
  • Rinse blades before and after sharpening to remove debris.
  • Dry blades thoroughly after rinsing to prevent corrosion.
  • Test blender function with water after sharpening before blending food.
  • Consider replacing very damaged or misshapen blades.
  • Have a professional sharpen if unsure about doing it yourself.

Maintaining Sharp Blender Blades

To maximize the time between sharpenings, care for your blender blades properly by:

  • Hand washing blades or placing in top rack of dishwasher.
  • Avoiding bending or twisting blades during cleaning.
  • Storing assembled or covered securely.
  • Not exposing blades to moisture for prolonged periods.
  • Regularly inspecting blades for damage/wear.
  • Chopping hard items like ice before adding to blender.
  • Shaking blades in jar with water to dislodge fibers.

Knowing When to Replace Blender Blades

While dull blender blades can be sharpened many times, they do reach a point where replacement is needed. Replace your blender blades if:

  • The cutting edges are missing or heavily nicked.
  • The blades are bent or warped out of shape.
  • The blades are rusted or corroded.
  • Sharpening no longer restores cutting performance.
  • The plastic hub is cracked or damaged.

High-quality replacement blades can be purchased from the blender manufacturer or third-party vendors. Match the new blades to the make and model. Installing new blades restores blend power and performance.

Conclusion

Keeping your blender blades sharp is essential for blender performance and longevity. Dull blades lead to frustration and extra work for the blender motor. Thankfully, there are many effective sharpening solutions you can easily do at home using basic tools like sharpening stones, sandpaper, a whetstone, or a rotary tool. Sharpen every 6-12 months and care properly for your blender blades to keep your smoothies, purees, and recipes blending smoothly.