Kitchen Knife Care: How to Wash and Store These Essential Tools
There's more to caring for a chef's knife than sharpening.
We've told you before how important it is to keep your kitchen knives sharp—after all, you use them every day. Just as vital as keeping the blade in shape is following these other simple tips for caring for and storing your precious knife collection. A chef's knife and other kitchen knives are an investment in cooking and there are a few easy things we should all be doing to keep our knives in top condition.
Hand Wash Only
Putting a knife through the dishwasher removes any protective coatings it has and causes wear on the blade's edge, making it dull. Even worse, it can cause your knife to rust from the inside out. Even if a knife is labeled as dishwasher-safe it's best to clean it by hand; wash with soap and water then dry thoroughly using a dish towel. Drying helps to avoid water spots and bacterial growth. Once knives are washed and dried, they should be put away immediately, this will help prevent staining and rusting. If a knife blade has any rust or more stubborn stains, rub it with lemon and salt to remove.
Proper Knife Storage
After a knife is washed and dried, it should be stored correctly. That can be in a wooden block, on a magnetic strip, or an in-drawer knife tray, with slots for different blade and handle sizes. Knives should not be stored loose in a drawer. Each storage method has its fans. Whether you choose a wooden block on the countertop or a magnetic strip, carefully place the knife in it's slot or space. Dropping knives into a wooden block can damage the tip, similarly slapping the knife onto a metal strip might chip the blade.
Knife Covers Are Useful
The best way to store a knife is to get a cover, usually made of plastic or wood. A wooden cover is ideal and will help keep moisture off of the knife and protect it from being banged around in a block, on a strip, or in a drawer.