The knife is the number one tool you need in a kitchen. The question is, are you using it right? Are you caring for it the right way? Or maybe you are damaging it without even realizing it?
There is a good chance just like anyone else you have this one favorite knife you use for everything. And there is also a very good chance you are doing many other things you should not be doing. With these tips, you will learn how to avoid damage and how to care for your knife.
Here is the list of 22 things you should never do with your knives:
- Avoid sharpening but hone your blade regularly.
- Sharpening your knife incorrectly.
- Never scrape food with the sharp edge of your knife.
- Using the same knife for every task.
- Not holding your knife the correct way.
- Never use glass or hard cutting boards.
- Never chop up and down.
- Never use a Dishwasher.
- Never put them away wet.
- Never leave a knife in the sink.
- Never store them unprotected.
- Storing is important.
- There are several ways to store them.
- More expensive does not always mean better.
- Never use them when they’re dull.
- Never let your knife sit with food residue.
- Never leave your blades near the edge of the counter.
- Dropping them too many times.
- Do not ever try and catch a falling knife.
- Best to not use your knife directly after sharpening.
- Never use a chef knife for anything other than cooking.
- Not transporting them right.
1. Try to hone your blade regularly.
Honing regularly is an excellent practice and should be done each time you will use your knife. Forgetting one or two times is not a big deal. But the more you get used to it, the better. Honing does not remove any metal, it only realigns the edge.
2. Sharpening your knife incorrectly.
Sharpening your knife incorrectly will lead to loss of metal, which then leads to a shorter lifespan. Try to sharpen the least possible (that is why honing is essential), and if you do sharp your knife, but you are not sure how to do it, use a sharpening service; they are cheap and fast. Believe me, once you have damaged your knife, there is no turning back.
3. Never scrape food with the sharp edge of your knife
Scraping with your knife will throw the blade out of alignment, this leads to dulling your knife, and if you do not realize this on time, you will be cutting with a dull knife damaging it even further.
4.Using the same knife for every task.
Most of the time, people use the same knife for any job; this will lead to damages, and this again will lead you to sharpen your blade more often. You cannot cut chicken bone with a thin knife, you can try, and you might succeed at the end, but it would be much more dangerous as you would need to put more pressure to get the cut and you would have damaged a more delicate knife that was meant for other tasks.
5. Not holding your knife the correct way.
Holding your knife not the correct way leads to damaging your blade, although the damage is not as significant, you should still watch out for it. Not holding correctly will also lead to you cutting yourself.
6. Never use glass or hard cutting boards.
I have seen so many people using their knives on surfaces like glass or ceramic. I cannot understand how this is possible. The number one reason for a knife to get dull fast is the cutting board. A solid wooden cutting board (walnut cutting board) is the best choice, period. If you do not have a wooden one, you can go for plastic, although the first option is much more hygienic.
7. Never chop up and down.
When cutting any vegetable, try doing it with a swaying motion. Each time you are hitting your cutting board thinking you are looking like a pro chef, you are damaging your knife even if it is a little. Eventually, the damage will accumulate, and you will have a dull knife in your hand.
8. Never use a Dishwasher.
Using a dishwasher to wash your knives is a terrible idea. The detergent in the dishwasher is way too powerful, and this can easily pit the steel of your blade. On top of that, the jostling motion of a dishwasher may dull or even chip your knife. As if that is not enough, the handle may also corrode during the washing process. So the message is, always wash your knife by hand!
When washing, always make sure to use the soft part of the sponge. Abrasive sponges and scouring pumices should also be avoided. If you do use them for washing, they will dull your high-polished knife and eventually even peel away the logo.
9. Never put them away wet.
You should always dry your knives immediately after washing them. Do not ever let them air-dry. Leaving your knives out to dry will make them dull very fast and over time could cause rust. So the next time you wash your knives, take an extra 10 seconds to grab a clean dish towel and wipe that water (and all your worries) away.
10. Never leave a knife in the sink.
It is very dangerous to leave your knife in the sink. And I am not only talking about the blade. You may forget that you left it there and cut your fingers. The moment you have finished using it, wash it dry it, and store it.
11. Never store them unprotected.
Putting your knife in a loose bin or drawer is the worst you can do for your knife. Consequently, your blades will jostle and wear against other tools and knives.
12. Storing is important.
Storing your knife correctly is equally crucial as honing it. There are many ways to do this. Magnets and blocks are the most commonly used and are somewhat similarly protective.
13. Ways you should not store them and the ways you should.
How you should not store them.
You should never store them unprotected. What I mean by this is, they should never hit one another and or hit anything else. They should be fixed in one place. They should be out of the reach of children.
How you should store them.
The magnetic strip (link to Amazon) is arguably considered the best method to hold your knives. They are convenient and secure, and minimal contact is made with the cutting edge of your blades; this keeps them sharp and avoids any damage. The display of your knives on the wall is also lovely to see. As a plus, it gives you the advantage of choosing any knife instead of taking them out of a block and avoid pulling the wrong one.
You can mount on places such as walls above the counter or a backsplash, cupboard end, and finally on the side of the fridge. And they are very very cheap.
Countertop docks and Blocks
The classic old blocks (link to Amazon) are maybe convenient to have. You can freely move them to your work station or any place you would like to work.
There are, however, some disadvantages when it comes to blocks and docks.
They can be a little rough on the cutting edges, sliding them in means that they will get in contact with wood. Eventually, over time, this will dull your knives, and as I have mentioned previously, avoiding damage is the main thing you should do when it comes to taking care of your blades.
Even though they have a handsome presentation, they do have some drawbacks when it comes to cleaning. Getting into a slot hole is hard, and if you use a dishwasher and the block is made out of wood, you will end up ruining the block completely.
It is not the same case with a pre-sized block; those are a better option and keep the edge of your blade sharp. The way you pull out your knife also has an impact. Try to press the spine gently against the wood so you can avoid the cutting edge making contact with the wood.
And then you have the Boker.
Stylish and distinct, the Boker (link to Amazon) is a block with magnets the perfect solution for holding and storing your knives. It is the combination of a magnetic strip and a block. Your blades will not have any contact, you can pick the knives quickly up, and you get to keep the mobility of a regular block still. To me, this is the ideal solution as I like to move around when working.
14. Lastly, more expensive does not always mean better.
Well, expensive knives will last longer and cut better, that is a fact. But when it comes to maintenance, it becomes a different matter. Of course, you cannot compare a 30$ knife with a 250$ one, but the chances are that if you maintain a cheaper knife properly, you will be able to use it for a very long time.
15. Never use them when they’re dull.
This is not something that would help with the lifespan of your knife but, it is also very dangerous to cut with a dull blade because the amount of pressure you will need to use is higher, and therefore this will translate to more slipping, and that will lead for you to cut yourself.
16. Never let your knife sit with food residue.
High acidic drinks and foods containing salt can corrode the metal. So cleaning and drying straight after is the way to go.
17. Never leave your blades near the edge of the counter.
Yes, I know, why would some even do that, right? Well, it happens more than you think. And this is not because people are not listening, but mainly because they are focused on something else, they don’t concern themselves with safety. So I felt it is better to repeat than not saying anything. Falling knives can dent your knife very severely.
18. Dropping them too many times.
Sounds like a no brainer, but yes, the less you drop your knife, the least damage it will take, and the longer you will be able to use it. This is after you have made sure to follow the previous tip.
19. Do not ever try and catch a falling knife.
This is something I just wanted to add since we were talking about safety earlier. People will instinctively try to catch a falling knife or any object for that matter. Please back away as far as possible when you see your knife falling.
20. Best to not use your knife directly after sharpening.
After sharpening or honing your knife, tiny little bits of metal particles are removed from your blade. If you do not clean your knife right after maintenance, some of it might end up in your food.
21. Never use a chef knife for anything other than cooking.
Using your knife to cut through a wire or open a can, will deal severe damage to your blade. Chef knives are not made for these types of tasks.
22. Not transporting them right.
This is specifically important for those who often move around and need to bring their equipment with them. It is the same story as storing, as long they are not touching any other knives you are ok. For this, you can use a knife roll, to carry your knives without damaging them.