How to Take Care of Kitchen Knives The Right Way

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Chefs love and care for their knives.

After all, the kitchen knife is the most important tool for any chef out there.

Since they’re so important, chefs generally spend a lot of money on their blades to ensure that they have top-quality tools to increase efficiency in the kitchen.

However, buying an expensive kitchen knife is only half of the story.

To ensure that your blades remain sharp and functional for many years, you need to take proper care of your blades.

And in this guide, we’ll be showing you how to take care of kitchen knives and ensure that they will stay reliable in the kitchen for many years to come.

So, if you’ve been wondering how to maintain kitchen knives, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn more.

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How to Take Care of Kitchen Knives

Hone & Sharpen Regularly

The first thing you have to do to ensure that your blades last you a long time is to hone and sharpen them regularly.

Remember, honing is different from sharpening.

To hone a knife, you need to use honing steel, and experts recommend doing this before and after every use.

Honing a knife straightens the blade (it doesn’t sharpen), allowing the blade to slide through ingredients with ease.

Before every use, we recommend running your knife through the honing steel a couple of times on each side to straighten the blade.

Sharpening, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be done as often.

The more you use your knife, the more frequently you have to resharpen it.

However, for most chefs, sharpening them once every year is enough.

It’s best to sharpen your knives with a whetstone, as this is considered the best method by most bladesmiths.

Keep in mind that whetstone sharpening requires a lot of skill and practice, so if you aren’t confident with a whetstone we recommend bringing it to a professional knife sharpener.

Clean & Dry After Every Use

Another thing to always do with your knives is clean and dry them after use.

NEVER put a good knife in the dishwasher, as that can result in irreparable damage to your blade.

After using a knife, we recommend washing it by hand with light soap and a non-abrasive sponge.

Start by rinsing the knife under running water, soaping it with the sponge, before thoroughly rinsing it until it’s completely clean.

Once you finish washing the knife, it’s also important to dry it to prevent rust and corrosion.

You can use a clean dish towel to dry your knife after washing to ensure that it doesn’t rust in storage.

Store Them Properly

After you wash and dry your knives, it’s important to store them properly.

We do not recommend storing your knives in a knife block or in a utensil drawer, but more on that later.

The best way to store knives is with a magnetic knife strip.

A magnetic knife strip reduces the likelihood of your blades rubbing up against other utensils, which can damage the edge.

On top of that, magnetic strips allow you to proudly display your knife collection and provide a unique aesthetic.

If you don’t have a magnetic knife strip, knife rolls are a great option as well.

Knife rolls are designed to safely store each of your blades while also allowing you to easily carry them around with you.

If you’re a professional chef who works in different kitchens, a knife roll could be a better pick for you since it allows you to move your blades around.

Always Use a Cutting Board

Another great way to keep your blade’s edge razor-sharp is to always use a cutting board.

To slice through ingredients, a knife needs to have a thin edge.

And no matter what material the blade is made of, the thin edge is susceptible to damage when it comes into contact with hard surfaces like concrete or a countertop.

So, we always recommend using a cutting board to protect your blade from damage.

Additionally, it’s important to use the right cutting board.

Most chefs recommend wooding chopping boards as they treat the edge of your blade very nicely, are very easy to cut on, and also provide a nice aesthetic.

But if you don’t have a wooden chopping board at your disposal, you can also use a plastic one.

Just make sure that the plastic is food safe and BPA-free to ensure your food remains safe and sanitary.

What NOT To Do With Kitchen Knives

Put in the Dishwasher

One of the worst things you can do to a kitchen knife is put it in the dishwasher.

While there are many brands that claim their blades are “dishwasher safe” we always advise against using dishwashers for knives.

Dishwashers are convenient, we fully understand that.

However, the wash cycle of the dishwasher is very harsh and your knives can get thrown around and bang up against other utensils.

This damages the edge of your blade and can result in your knife chipping or cracking.

Leave on the Sink

When you leave a knife dirty, you almost guarantee that it will rust.

Chemicals from different food and ingredients can cause corrosion and damage to the blade, which is why you have to clean your knife after every use.

Leaving a knife in the sink can also result in it dulling much faster than most would like.

Store with Utensils

As we mentioned earlier, the way you store your knives is very important.

For many people, storing their knives in the same cabinet as the utensils is the way to go.

And while this might be convenient, we do not recommend storing knives in a utensil drawer.

In the drawer, your knives can rub up and bang against different utensils whenever the drawer is opened and closed, slowly dulling out the blade.

Additionally, storing your knives in a knife block is also not recommended.

When you store knives in a block, pulling the blade out of the slot and putting it back in can damage the edge.

This is especially true with blocks that are made out of hard materials.

If you have to use a knife block, we recommend using wooden or self-sharpening knife blocks to protect your knife’s edge.

Cut Without a Cutting Board

Hard surfaces spell trouble for kitchen knives.

So, when you cut and slice ingredients directly on the kitchen counter, your blade’s edge will come in contact with the hard surface and lose its sharpness.

On top of that, you might also risk chipping your knife when chopping on a kitchen counter.

The same goes if you use hard chopping boards made of granite or marble.

Conclusion

And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to keeping your kitchen knives safe and sharp.

Since a good set of kitchen knives can cost us a lot of money, it’s integral that we maintain our blades to ensure that they stay functional for many years to come.

Some chefs claim that they’ve used the same knife for many years without it breaking.

Whether you have a premium set of Wusthof and Shun knives or a budget set of Chicago Cutlery blades, it’s very important to maintain and take care of kitchen knives.

And with the information from our guide, you’ll be able to keep your blades working in the kitchen for a very long time!

Last Updated on October 11, 2021

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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.