How to care for your knives: the do’s
1. Hone and sharpen them regularly
Everything is subject to change, and even the expensive knives that start out surgically sharp will eventually get dull. To keep that sharp edge, hone your knives before each use and sharpen your knives on a regular basis.
2. Wash them right after use
Most quality knives are made of stainless steel or high-carbon steel, which makes them less prone to rust compared to other materials. However, if left dirty for too long after use, the acid, water, and other chemicals from the food will eventually destroy the blade, leaving dark spots and rust on it. Washing the knives as soon as you finish using them is the best way to prevent this.
3. Wash them by hand
Even when a knife is dishwasher safe, it’s still better washed by hand. The reason is simple: your hands are so much more gentle than a dishwasher. If you go through all of your knives one by one with some mild soap and a cloth, the chance that a blade will be chipped during the process is extremely thin. Besides, hand-washing the knives also allows you to see if there is any dirt or food particle getting stuck between the blade and the handle, so you can take care of it immediately.
4. Dry them with a cloth
It is usually okay to leave your knives to dry themselves on a dish rack. However, to minimize the chance of the blade getting rusted, wipe them dry with a cloth right after you wash them. That also allows you to put them into a safe place right afterwards, instead of having to wait for them to dry.
5. Hang them in a block or on a magnetic strip
A clean and sturdy wood or bamboo block is the best home for your knives. First, it protects the blades from dirt. It also minimizes clashing among the knives or between them with other objects in the kitchen. If you have a big set of knives and don’t like having to pull all of them out before you can get the exact one, keeping them on a magnetic strip may be a good idea. A magnetic strip is very convenient, as it shows the blades and you can immediately tell which one is the one you need. It may not offer that much protection from dirt, but it does keep the knives in place and prevent them from clashing against each other.
6. Use a cutting board at all times
A sharp blade must have a thin edge. And thus, however strong the material is, the edge is still very prone to damages if it gets in contact with things it’s not designed to cut, like a ceramic plate or a metal countertop.
A wooden cutting board is the best companion for your blades. A plastic one is good too, except it may be a little more difficult to sanitize in the long run.
And the don’ts
Never, never do these things to your precious knives…
1. Leave them in the kitchen sink
Leaving them dirty is the fastest guaranteed way to invite rust onto your knives. The chemicals from the food, juices and sauces can cause corrosion, seen as brown spots on the blade. This causes the knives to become rusty and dull very quickly.
2. Put them into the dishwasher
Unless it is stated that your knife is dishwasher safe, never wash it with the machine! All the rubbing and clashing will make the blade chip beyond repair. In fact, even when a knife is dishwasher safe, hand washing it can significantly prevent chipping and prolong its life span. A good knife can help save your time in many ways – reciprocate the dedication by spending a minute to hand wash it!
3. Store them in the utensil drawer
Don’t put them there: they can rub against other items and get chipped. Even when there’s nothing else in there, the movements caused by your pulling and pushing the drawer can still be harmful to your knife. If you really want to leave them there, use a cover to protect the blade.
4. Cut on your countertop
This is not how to treat any knife, let alone an expensive one. Clashing on a hard surface like granite or metal can ruin your knife and dull it extremely quickly. Give the knife a chance of survival and put a cutting board in between it and the stone. Yes, the cutting board is for protecting your knife, not the granite.