How to Sharpen a Grater [Foot, Microplane, Zester]

Last Updated on February 28, 2023 by Claire

A dull grater can be downright frustrating to use. Not only will it make the job slower and tedious, but it can also be dangerous to use and quite difficult to sharpen. Thus, you want to know how to sharpen a grater since a sharp grater can make your job quite fast and less stressful. Do note that some graters like the drum and box graters can be tougher to sharpen.

How to sharpen a grater

How to sharpen a grater

The steps are not tedious at all—anyone can do it. Just follow the instructions below to sharpen your grater properly:

1. Gather the tools

The tools needed include:

  • A pair of safety gloves (leather gloves)
  • Sharpening stone or honing steel
  • Sandpaper or even a metal file (if you’re on a budget)

2. Place the grater on a stable and flat surface

Make sure you secure the grater on a stable and flat surface to prevent it from wobbling around while you’re sharpening it. A wobbly grater is a recipe for injury.

3. Use your sharpening tools

It’s time to start sharpening. Now, there are different ways to do this depending on the type of sharpening tool you’re using.

  • If you’re using a sharpening stone, hold it at a 20°angle and run your grater along it in one direction to create a smooth, sharp edge.
  • If you’re using a honing steel, hold it vertically and run your grater across it at a 45°angle.
  • If you’re using sandpaper or a metal file, hold it carefully and begin to file away any rough or sharp edges, and hope for the best.

Tip: For best results, use a sharpening stone to sharpen the grater blades after you are done using sandpaper or a metal file. After all, nothing beats the good ‘old-fashioned’ methods.

4. Take a break

If you’re not getting the desired result, take a break, and if possible, enjoy a nice bowl of mac and cheese.

It’s a “win-win” situation for you; you get to take a break and also use your newly sharpened grater to shred some cheese.

5. Rinse the grater

CAES Media Newswire research found that additional cross-contamination in the kitchen and that the pathogens were spread from produce to produce if the utensils weren’t washed. Thus, the last thing you want is to end up with a mouthful of metal-sharpening residue mixed with cheese. Trust me, it’s not a pleasant experience.

So, after you’re done sharpening the grater’s blades and satisfied with the results, rinse your grater thoroughly with warm water to remove all of the metal residues.

Then dry out the grater with a paper towel or clean cloth.

Read also: meat grinders mean so much to vegans

What to keep in mind when sharpening a grater

Generally, safety is the only thing you need to keep in mind when sharpening a grater. Remember you’re dealing with sharp objects, so the importance of safety cannot be over-emphasized.

1. Get leather or Kevlar knit gloves

Make sure you wear proper safety gloves to keep your hands safe.

A pair of leather or Kevlar knit gloves are best for handling sharp metal because they are capable of protecting the hands from rough and sharp objects that can penetrate ordinary fabric or rubber gloves.

2. Keep everything in a safe place

You don’t want any sharp projects flying or laying around (accidentally) when you’re sharpening your grater.

3. Just be careful

Take proper safety precautions when using any of the tools required to sharpen your grater

All in all, just make sure you don’t accidentally sharpen your fingers instead of your grater. Trust me, it is not a pleasant experience.

Can you sharpen a box grater?

You cannot sharpen the blades of a box grater in the traditional sense as they are not made of a material that can be honed to a fine edge like a knife.

However, you can maintain the sharpness of the blades by regularly using a wire brush or a piece of sandpaper to remove any rust or debris that has accumulated on the surface. This will help to keep the blades functioning effectively for a longer time. If the blades have become severely dull or bent, the grater will likely need to be replaced.

How to keep your grater sharp

Sharpening your grater is a piece of cake, keeping it sharp is the hard part.

Here are a few tips to keep your grater in tip-top shape:

1. Keep it clean

Always make sure your grater is properly and thoroughly cleaned after each use.

Cheese can be pretty stubborn, so you might need to use a brush or a sponge to get all the tiny bits out, and also make sure the grater is properly washed.

A properly cleaned grater will keep your food safe and always produce excellent results.

2. Proper positioning

Always place your grater on a stable and flat surface so you can get an even cut every time you use it. This will also reduce incidences of injury or accidental cuts to you during grating.

3. Proper storage

Store your grater properly so it doesn’t get knocked around or damaged. You don’t want to go through all the trouble of sharpening your grater only to have it get dinged up in the utensil drawer.

4. Sharpen it at regular intervals

Always sharpen your grater at regular intervals of about 8 to 10 weeks, or if you notice that your grater is starting to get dull again.

Don’t always wait till it gets completely dull before you sharpen it. After all, practice makes perfect, or sharp graters.

5. Be patient

Don’t grate your food too fast, you won’t get smooth results and you also risk causing injury to yourself.

Instead, do this slowly and steadily. A little bit of ‘finesse’ will get you a long way when it comes to the grating.

What are the types of graters?

Graters come in all shapes and sizes. There are box graters, cheese graters, rotary graters, microplane graters, foot graters, rasp graters, and others.

The truth is grating with a rusty old box grater can be quite stressful. So, to avoid having your cheese taste like it’s been sprinkled with iron filings, it’s important to choose a grater that can be sharpened.

Microplane graters are the best type of graters for use. These babies come with fine blades which allow them to grate much more nicely and produce consistent results when compared to the traditional box grater.

They are also designed to be self-sharpening, so you can save yourself the trouble of sharpening them yourself.

But if you’re like the rest of us ‘plebs’ who are stuck with a regular old box grater or rotary grater, then you’ll just have to go through the stress of sharpening it yourself.

Just remember, if your grater is so old and dull that it resembles a butter knife more than a cheese shredder, it might be time to retire it and invest in a new one.

After all, life is too short to waste on subpar grated cheese.

Best graters to buy

A grater generally helps to shred or grate food ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, and fruits. Graters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with each type designed for specific tasks. In this review, we will take a closer look at the features, pros, and cons of several popular grater models, helping you to determine which one will best meet your culinary needs. Whether you are a home cook or a professional chef, a high-quality grater can make all the difference in your kitchen.

1. OXO good grips etched zester and grater

An OXO zester grater is specifically for grating your citrus fruits and other foods with tough skins. It has a flat surface with small, sharp blades designed to easily remove the zest (the outermost layer of the fruit’s skin) without removing the bitter white pith underneath. During the test, we discovered the following pros:

  • precision
  • speed
  • versatility
  • user-friendliness

This OXO zester grater allows you to precisely remove only the zest, without getting any of the pith.

Speaking of speed, it is quick and efficient, allowing you to zest a fruit in just a few seconds.

It’s versatile too. Many zester graters by OXO come with different blade designs, allowing you to create different zest styles, such as fine or coarse.

We do think it’s easy to use due to their lightweight and easiness to handle, making them a great tool for home cooks and professional chefs.


OXO zester graters are designed specifically for zesting citrus fruits and other foods with tough skins, so they may not be suitable for grating other types of foods.

Secondly, blade maintenance can be tough due to the small, sharp blades that can easily clog with food particles, and require regular cleaning.

2. KitchenAid gourmet 4-sided stainless steel box grater

The KitchenAid Gourmet 4-sided stainless steel box grater is quite versatile and perfect for home cooks and pro chefs. It comes with four sides, each with a different grating surface for a variety of tasks.

The coarse side is great for shredding vegetables, the medium side is perfect for grating cheese, the fine side is ideal for creating fluffy mounds of freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon, and the slicing side is perfect for slicing fruits and vegetables into thin ribbons.

One of the standout features of the KitchenAid Gourmet grater is its sturdy construction. Made from high-quality stainless steel, this grater is built to last and is resistant to rust and corrosion. It also features a non-slip base, which keeps the grater securely in place while in use, reducing the risk of injury.

In terms of ease of use, the KitchenAid Gourmet grater is a breeze. Its ergonomic handle provides a comfortable grip, while the sharp grating surfaces make quick work of even the toughest ingredients. And when you’re finished using it, the grater is dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.

Overall, the KitchenAid Gourmet 4-Sided Stainless Steel Box Grater is a top-quality grater that is built to last. Its versatile design, sturdy construction, and ease of use make it a great choice for any kitchen. Whether you’re grating cheese for a salad, shredding vegetables for a stir-fry, or slicing fruits for a dessert, this grater is sure to be a valuable addition to your kitchen arsenal.


Some users have reported that the grater can be difficult to clean, especially if you are grating sticky or stringy ingredients. The small spaces between the grating surface can be challenging to clean, and some users have reported that food particles can get trapped in the crevices.

3. Geedel rotary cheese grater

I recently purchased the Geedel rotary cheese grater and can confirm its impressiveness. It is made of high-quality stainless steel and has a comfortable, non-slip handle for ease of use. The rotary design makes grating cheese a breeze, as it can be done with just a few turns of the handle.

The grater also has multiple grating options, including fine, medium, and coarse, which is great for creating a variety of dishes.

One of the things you’d love about this grater is how easy it is to clean. Unlike other graters I’ve used in the past, there are no small crevices for the cheese to get stuck in, so it can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth.


Not so much of cons other than being tough to clean due to its design. The quality is good, so no criticism there.

Overall, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an efficient and high-quality grater. It’s well made, easy to use, and versatile, making it a great addition to any kitchen.

Do graters get dull?

Yes, graters do get dull, and below are a few reasons why graters become dull or blunt:

a. Wear and tear

The most frequent cause of graters becoming blunt is general wear and tear.

Over time, the sides of the grater may become dull from food constantly rubbing against it, making it more difficult to adequately grind food.

b. Moisture and rust

Graters can also become dull after being exposed to moisture and rust. The grater’s edges may become rough and uneven if moisture becomes trapped in the gaps and rust develops.

c. Poor Cleaning

If you don’t thoroughly clean your grater after use, food particles may lodge themselves in the teeth and crevices.

The edges of the grater may then become damaged as a result of this hardening, eventually becoming dull.

d. Aging

Even the sharpest tools will lose their ‘sharpness’ over time, this includes graters also.

So, even if your grater is kept in tip-top shape and you don’t use it for an extended time, it’s prone to getting dull or developing rust. After all, it’s just metal.

How to use a grater properly

Here are 4 tips to help you use your grater quickly and efficiently:

  1. Always wash the grater with some warm water thoroughly before use
  2. Place it on a secure, stable, and flat surface before use.
  3. Don’t grate your food too fast, you won’t get smooth results and you also risk causing injury to yourself. Instead, do this slowly and steadily.
  4. Get rid of any food leftovers and clean the grater immediately after each use


What is the best way to clean a grater?

Use a damp towel and a small amount of vinegar to clean any oily places. To avoid tearing the cloth, make sure you wipe it in the opposite direction from how you would grate the cheese if it’s a cheese grater. Afterward, rinse the grater with water to wash away any remaining vinegar or soapy smell.

What is the difference between a grater and a shredder?

Shredding and grating involve slicing or cutting foods like cheese, coconuts, and others into small pieces.  The primary difference between shredding and grating is that the former produces thin strips while the latter produces microscopic, powder-like food fragments.

What is the spiky side of a grater for?

The “spiky” side of a grater is used for zesting fruits or hard cheese.


With a little bit of care and maintenance, your grater will stay sharp, shiny, and in tip-top shape for years to come.

And who knows, you might even end up working as a professional cheese grater one day. You never can tell.

Leave a Reply