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:
- Forgetting to hone each time you use your knife.
- Sharpening your knife incorrectly will lead to more metal loss.
- Never scrape food with the sharp edge of your knife.
- Do not use the same knife for every task.
- Avoid holding your knife incorrectly.
- Never use glass or hard cutting boards as a cutting surface.
- Never chop up and down with your knife.
- Never use a Dishwasher to wash your knife.
- Never put your knife away wet.
- Never leave a knife in the sink.
- Never store your knife unprotected.
- Storing is important, so make sure you do it correctly.
- Ways you should not store your knives and the ways you should.
- More expensive knives do not always mean better.
- Never use your knives when they’re dull.
- Never let your knife sit with food residue.
- Never leave your blades near the edge of the counter.
- Always try to avoid dropping your knives.
- Do not ever try and catch a falling knife.
- It is advised to not use your knife directly after sharpening.
- Do not ever use a chef knife for anything other than cooking.
- Not transporting your knives the right way may damage them.
1. Forgetting to hone each time you use your knife.
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 will lead to more metal loss.
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. Do not use 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. However, there might be some knives that can cut through some types of bones.
5. Avoid holding your knife incorrectly.
Safety is everything, and knowing how to cut and use your knife safely is essential. 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 correctly holding will also lead you to cut yourself.
6. Never use glass or hard cutting boards as a cutting surface.
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. If you are using the right cutting board for the correct type of blade, you should never encounter this problem. 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 in most circumstances. I go into detail about this in this article.
7. Never chop up and down with your knife.
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. You should also check what type of cutting board you have compared the kitchen knife you are using, as this is also something that might dull your blade without you knowing it.
8. Never use a Dishwasher to wash your knife.
Washing is a big part of kitchen knife care. and 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 your knife 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. Als,o this is one of the biggest reasons for your knives to rust!
11. Never store your knife 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, so make sure you do it correctly.
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 your knives 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. More expensive knives do not always mean better.
Well, even though it makes a difference to have expensive knife, one 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 your knives 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. This is again something that makes your knife rust.
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 careful, 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. Safety and knowing how to use your knife should be something you give importance to, no matter what situation.
18. Always try to avoid dropping your knives.
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. It is advised 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. Do not ever use a chef knife for anything other than cooking.
Ok, this a big one, why? If you go online, you’d be surprised at what kind of questions people are asking. Like can you cut wood with your kitchen knife? Your knife will dull, even when cutting soft plastic. You might have seen people cutting paper to show how sharp the knife is on tv or Youtube, well even cutting paper dulls the knife eventually. Basically, you should avoid cutting things that are not meant to be cut with a kitchen knife. Here are some other examples I’ve seen people asking:
Can you cut through a wire? I know you suddenly feel like you are MacGyver, but he does not think about his knife stays sharp or not.
Can you open a can with your kitchen knife (commonly asked question)?
All of these things will deal severe damage to your blade. Chef knives are not made for these types of tasks. If you care about the longevity of your knife, then I would simply avoid all of this.
22. Not transporting your knives the right way may damage them.
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.