How to sharpen a vegetable peeler or a potato peeler without any tools

This “sharpening” trick utilises the fact that if your potato peeler has a symmetric blade and you are only using one side of it, the other side stays sharp like new (provided it didn’t become rusty due to lack of care or bad quality of the peeler). Therefore, to make the peeler sharp again, you simply need to start using the other side of the blade.

You don’t need to become left-handed if you are a right-hander or vice-versa, nor you need to exchange peelers with an opposite-handed friend (though, it’s an option). No special sharpening tools are required either. You just need to turn the blade around:

Taking blade out of the peeler
Quick peeler sharpening, step 1: bend the blade-holding end outwards so the blade falls out.
Sharpening the peeler's blade by turning it around
Quick peeler sharpening, step 2: turn the blade and place it back in by bending the blade-holding arch again.

You can sharpen your peeler using this method if:

  • your peeler has a symmetrical (ambidextrous) blade; and
  • you did not use your peeler ambidextrously, i. e. the peeler has usually been held in the same hand, left or right; and
  • the peeler should either have an arch over its blade, or be made of flexible material (Y-peelers are usually flexible enough as they always have an arch).

Tips:

  • Mark the dull side of the blade if you are not sure you can easily tell the difference once it is taken out.
  • You may consider wearing gloves to protect your hands from accidental cuts and scratches.
  • You may need some assistance to place the blade back: it is much easier to fit the blade back in if one person holds the arch open and the other person positions the blade in place.

Different peelers

Often, peelers made of more flexible, better quality plastic with high arches over the blade cost more than basic peelers. However, if the price is less than double, it still pays off. The blade-turning trick would mean that you can get two blade life-spans for the price of one.

Fruit or vegetable peeler with an arch over the blade
A so-called “Australian” peeler with an high arch over the blade. This peeler is made of strong and a bit flexible plastic, which makes it bendable and suitable for the quick sharpening described above.
Potato peeler with no arch over the blade
This peeler is made of hard plastic and has no arch. Perhaps you have stronger hands, but I wasn’t able to bend it.

Conclusion

It is more practical to buy the peelers that have an arch and/or are made of flexible materials: they are easier to use because the peels go through the arch much easier, and they will last twice as long because you can turn the blade and make it sharp-like-new again. However, make sure that the flexible material is strong enough so the blade doesn’t fall out when you are peeling your fruits and vegetables. In my case, the black peeler was more expensive than the white one, but it has a handle with a much better grip, is easier to use, and it was easy to sharpen when it became blunt, which made it half-price.

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