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How to Care for Kitchen Knives

by Staff Writer

Care for your cutlery to make it last

Things You Need:

  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Knife block
  • Knife sharpening steel

Knives are amongst the most important tools in the kitchen and will last a lifetime when well-maintained. Kitchen knife blades are typically made of high-carbon stainless steel alloys, which stay well-sharpened and are easy to maintain. However, some knives are made of pure carbon steel, which keep a sharper edge but are also prone to rust and discoloration. Regardless of what type of kitchen cutlery you prefer, care guidelines remain the same. Proper care of kitchen cutlery ensures a long life of use.

Caring for Cutlery:

  1. Wash your knives. Clean your kitchen knives immediately after use to prevent damage caused by dried food residue or the need for unnecessary scrubbing of the blade. Rub each side of the blade and handle gently with a soft-bristle brush and soapy water.

  2. Rinse and dry your knives. Rinse your knives in warm running water, being sure to remove all soapy residues. Place your knives in a dish rack or on a clean towel to dry. Blot any remaining water from the blade using a clean kitchen towel or paper towel to prevent rust. Avoid wiping as this can damage the cutting edge.

  3. Store your knives. Put your kitchen knives away immediately after the handle is dry. Store your knives in a knife block or on a magnetic knife rack. Avoid storing your cutlery in a drawer where they will bump into the sides of the drawer and other utensils, causing the blade to dull quickly.

  4. Sharpen your knives. To keep your knives in peak performance, sharpen your kitchen knives briefly before every use. Hold the sharpening steel in one hand and hold the knife in the other at a 20 to 30 degree angle to the steel. Run the edge of the blade along the length of the steel two or three times per session.

Cutlery Warnings and Tips:

  1. Always use a cutting board for chopping to avoid dulling your kitchen knives. A hard or abrasive surface, such as a countertop, will degrade the cutting edge more quickly than any food.

  2. A sharpening steel is a round, oval or flat sharpening tool made of high-carbon steel. A sharpening stone may be used in place of a sharpening steel. It is used in the same way but sits on a counter rather than being held in the hand.

  3. Do not place kitchen knives in a sink filled with water as this can cause serious accidents and damage the blade by knocking it against other utensils. Instead, always clean knives on the edge of the sink.

  4. Do not wash your kitchen knives in the dishwasher. The blade will be knocked against other items, which will dull the cutting edge, and steel knives may even begin to warp or rust after several washes.

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