Do you create magic every time you are in the kitchen? If so, then you must be pretty particular about your knives. All of us know that we need to be careful when using sharp knives. The slightest bit of carelessness can be a safety hazard.
However, an even bigger safety hazard which is often overlooked is working with unclean knives. You clean your knives while cutting food but should you wash a knife after sharpening it with a knife sharpener? This article outlines the steps you should take after sharpening your knife.
Do You Need to Wash Knife After Sharpening?
Sharpening removes fragments of metal from the knife blade. You should definitely wash your knife after sharpening it. If you don’t, these metal fragments might end up in your food.
How to Wash Your Knife?
Cleaning knives after sharpening should never be overlooked. Not only will it keep your knife rust-free but also remove metal shavings from the blade of your knife. Read on to find out the right way of going about it.
Prepare some hot water for washing your knife. You can use it from your kitchen tap or you can warm some in a kettle.
Boiling hot water is the best option for killing bacteria. If you are using water at such a high temperature, you can soak your knife in it for a few minutes. Remember that you want a clean knife and not a bent one, so don’t leave it submerged for too long!
Another way of going about washing is by pouring warm water over the knife blade. With the help of dishwashing soap and a soft sponge, start scrubbing the blade and handle.
Note that you’ve just sharpened your knife, so it’s best to avoid touching the blade edge with your fingers. The safest approach is to place the knife on your kitchen sink with the tip pointing away from you. Now carefully wipe one side of the blade and flip over to the other one.
Wash off those soapy suds with a generous amount of warm water. (if you don’t want to eat foam instead of metal!)
Finally, dry the knife with a clean paper towel. Not only is it sharp but sparkly clean too. Store it or use it as per requirement.
Things to Care for When Washing Your Knife
Always wash your knives by hand and never in a dishwasher. Dishwashers employ abrasive detergents and very high-temperature water to do all the dirty work for them. Literally. This can damage your knives, in particular those beautiful wooden handles that you cherish.
Furthermore, if you have to soak your knives in water, keep a track of the time. Leaving them submerged for too long can lead to bending or rusting.
What Happens if You Eat Metal Dust
If you don’t wash your knife after sharpening it, metal shavings from knife sharpening will ultimately find their way to your stomach. This can have serious effects on your health. You might suffer from heavy metal poisoning, dental damage and even mouth or throat lacerations.
In severe cases, eating metal dust can even lead to lacerations or perforation of the intestine. Apart from the occurrence of these life-threatening health conditions, the metal shavings from your knife may even ruin the taste of the food that you have prepared.
Do You Need to Wash Knife After Honing?
While it is absolutely essential to wash your knife after sharpening it, it is not necessary to do so after honing a knife. If you are new to the knife sharpening world, you might think that both of these terms mean the same thing, since they are often used interchangeably.
However, there is a stark difference between the two. Keep reading to find out about the different mechanisms involved and why it is okay to omit washing when you have honed your knife.
Honing vs Sharpening
Your knives get dull because they have either worn down their teeth or the teeth have become misaligned. The former case requires sharpening while the latter needs honing.
In other words, whenever you sharpen a knife, you create a new edge. Since metal is removed in the process, washing the knife afterwards becomes absolutely necessary.
On the other hand, when honing a knife, all that you are doing is realigning the teeth to restore sharpness. Since no metal gets removed in the process, you can do away without washing the knife.
Read In Detail: Knife Sharpener Vs Honing Rod – Which One Is The Best?
How to Hone a Knife
You will require sharpening steel to hone your knife. (the irony is sharpening steels will only hone and NEVER sharpen the blade!) Use it as follows:
- Hold the sharpening steel vertically with its tip in contact with a flat surface.
- With your dominant hand, hold your knife at a 15-degree angle to the steel with the base of the knife in contact with the steel.
- Applying light pressure, pull the knife slowly toward yourself till you reach the tip.
- Repeat 5-6 times on one side of the blade.
- Flip over to the other side and repeat the process with the same number of strokes.
Caring For Your Newly Sharpened Knives
A little bit of caring can actually go a long way. Not only will it increase the longevity of your knife but also give you the best possible results.
Things to do
- Keep your knives clean and dry at all times.
- Always handwash your knives.
- Dry them with paper towels. These work the best.
- Carbon steel knives should be oiled after drying. Apply a foo-safe, neutral oil to the blade. This will act as a barrier between the surface and air moisture, thus preventing corrosion.
- Follow a good sharpening routine. Get your knives professionally sharpened once a year. In between, you can sharpen them yourself whenever the blade starts to dull out. Hone your knives once a week or even more frequently. Enjoy, there’s no such thing as over-honing a knife!
Things to Avoid
- Using a dishwasher to wash your knives.
- Leaving the knife immersed in water for a prolonged period.
- Using abrasive sponges to clean your knife.
- Cutting on hard and abrasive surfaces like a stone cutting board or a marble countertop.
Storing Your Knives the Right Way
By now, you have realized how important it is to have a clean knife but how do ensure lasting cleanliness? By storing them in the correct manner, obviously!
There are numerous options to choose from, with some better at maintaining hygiene than others. Let’s take a look at all the available options:
- Magnetic knife racks: these are modern and space-saving accessories. Not only are they easy to clean but they look really good too!
- Knife sheaths: this is my go-to option when I have to store my knives in a drawer. Contrary to leaving them loose, ensheathed knives will not lose their sharpness.
- Knife roll: here’s some good news for those of you travelling within or outside of Australia. This storage accessory works best who prefer travelling with their knives.
- Knife block: all your knives are in full view and easily accessible making this a convenient accessory. However, the downside is that the knife slots are narrow, hence difficult to clean. Over time, dirt and grime accumulate in the slots, eventually contaminating your blades.
- Knife drawer tray: these accessories save a lot of countertop space. They are compact and provide a safe storage option for your knives. However, some slots are quite narrow which makes cleaning a challenge.
FAQ – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In a Pinch…
If you don’t want metal running through your digestive system, wash your knife every time you sharpen it. Failure to do so can have serious health effects. However, if you have only honed your knife, it is up to you if you want to proceed with washing it.
In order to retain the sharpness and cleanliness of your knives, it is essential to store them correctly. Magnetic knife racks and knife sheaths will keep your knives cleaner and sharper for longer. Knife blocks and drawer trays are convenient to use but cleaning them properly is no easy task.