Last Updated on December 4, 2022 by Faiza Murtaza
Imagine this scenario: You’re ready to cook the perfect meal for your guests tonight. You’ve got the cookbook, all the ingredients, and have perfected your knife skills.
You reach for your knife, only to find that it’s covered in grease and there’s rust all over the blade.
This type of situation can easily happen when you don’t clean your kitchen knives properly. And given the hundreds of dollars that a top-quality kitchen knife can cost, you don’t want to ruin it just because you used the wrong cleaning techniques or products.
Luckily, by following the right cleaning protocol, you can keep your knives clean and pristine for years to come. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to clean your kitchen knives!
Table of Contents
Know When to Clean Your Knife
When learning how to clean knives, the first step is to know when you’re supposed to clean your knife.
This is important for extending the life of your knife as well as for making sure your knife doesn’t cross-contaminate your food.
You want to wash your knife right after each use. If you don’t, pieces of food can dry on your knife, and this will make it much harder to clean.
Plus, you never want to use abrasive items like steel wool to clean professional-quality chef’s knives as this can damage the surface of the knife.
Wash by Hand
While you can usually put cheaper knives with plastic handles in the dishwasher, you never want to put high-quality chef’s knives in the dishwasher.
The high heat, abrasive cleaning solutions, and contact with other cutlery can severely damage your knife and dull the blade.
Plus, many high-quality knives have wooden handles, so they can’t be wet for long periods of time.
To wash your knife by hand, you only need to follow a few simple steps:
The Cleaning Steps
The first step in cleaning your kitchen knives is to drizzle a gentle dish soap on both sides of the blade. If there’s a lot of grease or grime stuck to the blade, let the dish soap sit for about 20 seconds.
Next, take a wet dishcloth, sponge, or a clean rag and wipe the sides and scrub the knife. Don’t use anything abrasive, otherwise, you’ll damage the blade. Make sure to keep the tip pointed away from you for safety.
Next, rinse the knife under running water. Keep a close eye on the knife to make sure you didn’t miss any grime or bits of food.
Finally, dry the knife right after you washed it. This will stop rust from forming on the knife blade and will stop bacteria and mold from growing on wooden knife handles.
Always try to clean your knives right away, even if that means taking a minute out of your cooking to clean them.
Otherwise, if rust or food particles stay stuck to the blade, you’ll have to go to more drastic measures to remove them.
You want to keep these measures to a minimum and be as gentle on your knife as possible to extend its life.
Soak Soiled Knives
As part of your kitchen cleaning routine, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping everything clean as you go.
If you don’t have time to wash your knife right away, try to at least wipe it down so food doesn’t get stuck to it.
But we all run into situations where we’re in a big hurry, so sometimes you might have to soak your knife. Soaking it and then wiping away food particles is much better than using an abrasive material to remove them.
If you have dried food on your knife blade, soak it in shallow water for a few minutes. You don’t want to soak it for longer than that as this could cause rust to form. Soaking your knife for too long can also warp your knife’s blade if it’s wooden.
This is also why you don’t want to soak your knife with the rest of your kitchen tools, as you could easily forget your knife in the water.
Once you’ve soaked your knife for a few minutes, use a gentle cloth and dish soap to gently wipe away the food.
If you don’t want to be buying knives every month, then you need to know how to remove rust in case it does form on your knife.
To remove rust, you can mix baking soda and water to make a paste. Let the paste sit for one hour, and then scrub off the paste with a gentle dishcloth.
If this doesn’t work, you can try soaking the knife in white vinegar for 5 minutes. Be careful with this step if your knife has a wooden handle.
You can also consult your knife’s instruction manual or go to the manufacturer’s website and look at their FAQ for more help.
Store Your Knives the Right Way
With the best knives, storing them the right way is just as important as cleaning them.
You can store your knives in a special knife drawer. You can also store them in a knife block or on a magnetic strip.
Knife sets like Messermeister knife sets usually come with knife blocks or block magnets that you can attach your knives to.
When storing knives on a magnetic knife strip, make sure the knives point away from the ground just in case they fall off.
Keep Your Kitchen Knives in Good Condition
Knowing the proper way to clean your kitchen knives can extend their life and can make them well worth the money you spent on them, especially if they’re professional-grade knives.
And whether you’re just washing your knife or are removing rust or grime, always take a slow and cautious approach when cleaning your knife.
Found this article helpful? Then be sure to check out more blog posts from our kitchen section for more helpful tips and tricks!