Knife Care and Maintenance: How to Prolong the Life of Your Set
Owning a good, quality set of kitchen knives is an investment. Keeping them up to scratch is important so you continue to get the most out of them for years to come.
When it comes to working in the kitchen, you want top quality, safety, precision and performance. A few regular touch-ups here and there can go a long way to keep your tools in pristine condition.
Here is our handy guide of simple care techniques:
Basic Care and Maintenance Tips
Keep Things Clean
Through slicing and dicing, your knives are going to encounter all sorts of foods and textures in the kitchen. For your own personal hygiene, safety and prolonged use of your equipment, you want to make sure your tools are properly cleaned. You don’t want to risk cross-contamination and all sorts of nasty bacteria living in your steel goods.
With this in mind, it’s important to:
Wash them carefully after each use with warm, soapy water. Don’t put them through the dishwasher – a simple hand wash is best to ensure the blade isn’t damaged or knocked around. Also remember not to wash with any abrasive sponges.
Avoid rust – Don’t leave them soaking in water.
Dry carefully – After use or washing, dry carefully with a soft but absorbent towel. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies round the handle, too. You don’t want any nasties getting in there if they can house any bacteria.
Avoid Any Stains
Wipe away any fingerprints or residue to keep them looking their best. To keep the blade from tarnishing, some knives can also benefit from regular lubrication.
Once fully dry, apply a pea-sized drop of oil, then wipe evenly across the blade in a thin layer. Make sure this is a food-safe oil. This will help to act as a barrier against any acids and unhelpful moisture. To oil the edge of the blade, use a towel – and remember to wipe away any excess.
If any stains do appear, these can be removed with a standard metal cleaner. You might also use wax to keep them clean.
Keep Them Sharp
Over time and through repeated use, your blades will become dull or blunt. It’s important to sharpen them regularly – not only so they’ll continue to slice and dice easily with minimal effort, but also as a safety precaution. The knife won’t slip as much if you don’t have to struggle with it.
It’s important, though, when selecting a stone to choose the right amount of grit, and not apply too much pressure. This can lead to chipping and a loss in durability.
For a handy guide on how to sharpen your tools, read up on our 5 Tips & Tricks here.
Store Them Properly
Don’t leave your knives out and about. Store them properly – a wooden block is ideal and it’s smooth and non-abrasive. A magnetic wooden strip is also another option. Having either one of these handy means your tools are always within easy reach in the kitchen.
Alternatively, you may choose to keep them in a knife roll or wrap, or a protective leather pouch or sheath. Keep the knives apart, and store them separately to prevent the blades from coming into contact and interfering with one another.
Consider Your Chopping Board
Similarly to the sharpening stone you use, you want to make sure the surface of your chopping boards won’t damage your knives.
If it’s a hard or abrasive surface, this can also wear away at your blade’s edge and leave it blunt or dull more often. A natural wood or soft plastic board is best – where surfaces like marble, metal or glass can be quite damaging upon impact.
Only Use as Intended
When there’s nothing else near, it may be tempting to grab your knife to use as a letter opener, screwdriver or to wean things out of tight crevices. That is not what it’s designed for, though – and doing any of these things will just wear your blade down unnecessarily.
Preserving your knife and taking proper care of it will prolong its life, meaning you can rely on it for years to come.
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