After spending time to find the best knife for kitchen use, what’s next thing to do so you can use it longer? Well, you need to take care of your knives too.
Kitchen knives are a must in every household, but not everyone knows how to maintain them. I understand that you want to take good care of your carbon steel knife and you are looking for ways to keep knives sharp and effective.
In this article, I will be sharing with you various ways to care for your kitchen tool because I know how important it is for you to have a sharp knife at home. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Do’s On Taking Care of Kitchen Knives
Your kitchen knives and pocket knives should always be sharp to deliver the performance expected from them. Test your knives sharpness to know if it has cutting edge. Knives with dull blades are not safe to use. They might slip when you slice your food or cooking ingredients.
So, here are some helpful tips and information to give you an idea on how to handle knife blades well for the best maintenance!
1. Wash after every use
The easiest knife care that you can do is to wash your carbon steel knives after every use. Most kitchen knives are made of stainless steel or high-carbon steel making them less prone to rust. These two types of steel are considered to be the best knife blade steel material that you should have for kitchen use.
However, leaving them dirty for too long is not only unsanitary, it also lets the acid, water, and other chemicals from the food sit on the knife’s surface for too long which could eventually destroy the blade, leave dark spots or rust on it. You can avoid that by simply washing your knives after every use.
2. Hand wash
As mentioned above, you should wash your knife after every use. However, even if your knives are dishwasher safe, it’s best to wash them by hand. Simply wash it with water and dish soap and it is good to go.
Washing by hand is more preferred because your hands are more gentle than a dishwasher. Thus, you are less likely to damage your knife.
Plus, it is also a good way to ensure that the knife is really clean because you can see the dirt or food particles stuck between the stainless steel blades and the handle, and wash it
3. Dry your knife
Although it is okay to leave a knife to air-dry, it is best if you wipe it dry. Doing so will ensure your knife safe from rust. Plus, you can place it in a safe place right afterward because it is already dry.
For drying, you can use absorbent towels. Paper towels work the best, so I highly recommend them.
4. Hang them using a knife block or on a magnetic strip
If you want your knives to last longer, you better store them properly. Just like washing, there is a preferred way for knife storage. It is recommended that you use a clean and sturdy wood or bamboo block to store your knives.
A knife block is the best choice because it protects the blades from dirt and keeps them from clashing.
If you do not enjoy pulling knives from a knife block, you can opt for a magnetic strip! It is very convenient to use because the blades are exposed, so you will know which one you need and which one to get.
Just like the block, it keeps the knives from clashing against each other. However, they do not protect the knives from dirt unlike the knife block because they are exposed.
5. Use a cutting board always
Whenever you use your knife, you should always use it on a chopping board. Although you can use your knife on any surface, it’s not the wisest thing to do.
The knife’s cutting edge or knife blade is prone to damage when it gets into contact with things it’s not supposed to cut.
For the sake of your kitchen knife, get a cutting board made of wood, bamboo or plastic. Never cut or slice anything on your granite or marble countertop.
It’s best to use a wooden cutting board because they are the most friendly companion for your knives.
Those made of plastic are also good, but they are more difficult to sanitize. If you go for wood, hardwood cutting boards like maple and walnut are highly recommended.
Also part of kitchen knife care is maintenance which includes honing! Honing is maintaining an already sharp edge. It is polishing the rough surface of the knife’s edge which reduces friction and allows the knife to cut into the material better.
Honing is pushing the edge of the blade back into alignment. It is also referred to as folding back the burr. Honing differs from sharpening. Unlike sharpening, honing is recommended to be done frequently.
Sharpening knives leads to safe cutting. And a sharp knife is safer to use than a dull one. And it is best to sharpen your kitchen knife when it starts to feel dull. When you feel that your kitchen knife is not performing its best when you slice your food, it’s time for maintenance. You can start by honing it and if that does not work, then it is time for booking a knife sharpening service.
Sharp knives offer better efficiency and precise cuts. They are predictable to use. Meanwhile, a dull kitchen knife could slip off your food and risk you cutting off yourself.
You can use knife sharpeners to make your kitchen knife work like brand new. However, only sharpen your knives when needed based on your own personal usage.
Chefs sharpen their knives frequently because they regularly use them to cut meat and other ingredients. But if you only use your kitchen knife to cut or slice spices, sharpening it once or twice a year will do.
We do not recommend belt or machine sharpening because they are too abrasive and could not help you achieve the fine cutting edge you are aiming for your chef knife. It can also remove too much steel and heat up the blade potentially damaging its structure.
How often do you need to sharpen your kitchen knives? Even if you can do the sharpening yourself, it is highly recommended that you have your knives professionally sharpened after a year or two.
Don’ts On Taking Care of Kitchen Knives
You need to be knowledgeable when it comes to maintaining your kitchen knives. Knowing the knife’s parts and anatomy would be just as helpful.
This will allow you to learn not just what need to be done to care for the knife, but what to avoid, so it will ensure that your kitchen knives are safe and would last longer.
Here are some of the things that you should NEVER do to maintain a knife blade in its best condition.
1. Clean your knives in the dishwasher
While most kitchen knives are dishwasher safe, it’s best to wash by hand.
Using dishwasher subjects the knife to become damaged by other items in the machine including the harsh alkaline detergents used in dishwashers.
2. Leave dirty knives lying in the sink
Leaving your used kitchen knives in the sink full of water is not only dangerous for whoever washes the dishes. It is also bad for the knives because it causes the blade to get scratched. Its tip can also bend or break.
3. Leave knives out to dry
I understand that it’s tempting to stack your knives on the draining board or in the rack with other utensils because it can lead to nicks and chips on the blade. It can also result in early corrosion or a build-up of mold and mildew.
4. Store in a cutlery drawer
Kitchen knives are not meant to be stored in drawers because it has higher chances that the blades will get nicked or the tip will be damaged. If you must keep your knives in the drawer better use protective sheaths to adequately protect them.
Another thing, do not store them in a wet sheath.
5. Oversharpen your knives
When you sharpen your carbon steel knife or stainless steel knife, you are removing steel from the blade to re-establish its burr. Oversharpening the steel blades takes away the cutting edge and shortens the lifespan of your knife.
Special Care For Carbon Steel Knives
Carbon steel knives require cleaning as well as a few extra steps to maintain their blade edge because it is reactive to high acid products and highly prone to corrosion.
So, it is very important that you rinse the knife and wipe it dry after every use especially when you are cutting something acidic like citrus, tomatoes and onions.
If you do not rinse it, the acid will corrode the steel and damage the blade.
After washing and drying, it’s best to oil it with food safe, natural oil like camellia oil or sunflower oil to protect the blade and encourage a slow and even patina.
The oils will act as a barrier to protect it against future exposure to moisture and acids. You can use cooking oils and mineral oil to do the job. Olive oil and sunflower oil also work well.
Oils can also be poured into your sheath or knife block and then poured out again to create a water-repellent environment for our knives.
Just apply a pea-sized amount of oil to the blade and evenly distribute it in a thin layer from the spine to edge. Oiling the cutting edge of your knife can help keep it sharp longer.
However, be cautious and do not touch the edge of the knife with your fingers. Just apply a small amount of oil to a thick towel and gently run the oiled towel over the edge. Then, wipe off the excess oil and store it properly.
Kitchen knives are easy to maintain just start by washing them with water and dish soap. Also, remember to dry them after washing and ensure that they are properly stored. For maintenance, always use a cutting board and keep your knives sharp.
However, if you are using carbon steel knives then you should take extra care because they are prone to corrosion. Whenever you slice acidic foods, then just wash them with water and soap and then dry them. After washing and drying, pour oils on their blades.