How to Clean a Knife Like an Expert

Last Updated on June 30, 2023 | 0 Comments
how to clean a knife
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Wondering how to clean a knife the right way? Cleaning a knife is a simple but crucial process in maintaining the quality of your kitchen knives. Improper knife maintenance can cause knives to rust, oxidize and dull. 

No matter what types of kitchen knives live in your knife block, from butcher knives to the best paring knives, they can all benefit from proper cleaning. To learn how to clean knives, just follow the simple steps below. 


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How to Clean a Knife

Here are a few steps to follow to effectively clean a knife:

1. Wash Immediately

When must a knife be cleaned and sanitized? Ideally, you should do so immediately after use. If you don’t have time to wash the knife right away, at least rinse off any food particles, dry it and set it aside to wash thoroughly later. 

wash a knife immediately when you learn how to wash a knife
via Canva

2. Wash Knives by Hand

Wash knives by hand with dish soap and water. Use a soft sponge and avoid abrasive tools like steel wool. 

Washing knives by hand instead of in the dishwasher preserves the sharpness of the knife and prevents rust. It also maintains the integrity of the handle, which can be damaged in the dishwasher.

chef washing a knife by hand with a sponge
via Canva

3. Point Blade Away From You 

The mechanics of how to clean a knife are simple: when you wash your knife, grip the handle firmly and keep the blade pointed away from you. Run your sponge on the top of the knife to avoid the sharp side of the blade. 

a knife being sharpened
via Canva

4. Soak Stubborn Food Residue

It’s also helpful to learn how to clean a knife that has food residue stuck to the blade. Let it soak in a shallow bath of soapy water for a few minutes. It can be dangerous to scrub a knife; soaking the knife for a few minutes allows the food to dissolve and makes for easier cleaning. Don’t let knives soak for more than a few minutes, as longer could cause the blades to rust and the handles to warp.

soak stubborn residue when you learn how to wash a knife
via Canva

5. Dry Immediately 

Carefully dry your knives with a towel immediately after washing. Knives left to air dry can oxidize or rust, which compromises the blade. 

dry knives immediately when learning how to clean a knife
via Canva

6. Store Properly 

Once clean and dry, store your knives in a special knife drawer, knife block or magnetic strip. You can also purchase a knife block set such as the Zwilling TWIN Four Star II 7pc Knife Block Set that comes with a wooden storage block.
via Zwilling

Can You Clean a Knife in the Dishwasher?

Cleaning your knife in the dishwasher is not recommended. The heating and drying cycle of a dishwasher is very hard on the blade and handle of the knife. Consistently using the dishwasher to clean knives can cause handles to crack, especially if they are made of wood. The extended period of time the knife is wet in the dishwasher can cause the blade to rust, and the heating and cooling cycle can also dull the blade. 

don't put knives in the dishwasher when you learn how to clean a knife
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How to Clean Rust Off a Knife

Wondering how to clean a knife that has rusted? If you find rust on your knife, there are a few simple ways to clean off the rust with items found in your kitchen. The first option is to create a paste of water and baking soda and cover the blade with the paste for an hour. Then scrub off the paste. 

The second option is to soak the blade in white vinegar for five minutes and then clean the blade. 

chef chopping produce with a chef's knife
via Canva

After researching and investing in several types of kitchen knives that you’re excited to use, the next step to ensuring they remain the best kitchen knives is proper maintenance. With the above tips for how to clean a knife, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your cutlery for years to come. 

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