Knives are a crucial tool in the preparation stage of cooking your favorite meals, regardless of the type of meal.
A good, clean, and - most importantly - sharp knife makes cutting, chopping, slicing, and dicing easier, quicker, and even safer.
That said, taking care of your knives is essential, and knowing the seven ways you could be ruining your knives will help you avoid ruining them in the future.
1. Leaving a Knife Wet
After you wash your knife, make sure to dry it thoroughly before putting it away. Leaving a knife wet will cause the blade to rust and the handle to loosen.
If you don't have a dish rack, carefully towel dry your knife or set it on a dry towel until it's no longer wet. And even if you have a dish rack, it's best to play it safe and dry your knife before putting it on the rack.
2. Not Storing Your Knife Properly
After using your knife, don't just stick it in the drawer. It would be helpful if you never store your knife in a drawer without a sheath, magnetic strip, or cover of some sort.
Not only is this dangerous - you could cut yourself reaching into the drawer - but it will also ruin the blade.
When knives are left unprotected in a drawer, they bang around against other utensils and can become dull quickly.
3. Dishwashing Your Knife
You might think that since your knife consists of metal, it can go in the dishwasher.
However, that's not the case.
The detergent and high temperatures in a dishwasher can damage the blade and dull the edge. In addition, the vibration from the dishwasher can loosen the handle.
4. Ignoring a Dull Blade
It might seem counterintuitive that the sharper a knife is, the safer it is, but it's true. Although it's less likely to puncture skin upon touching it, a dull blade is more dangerous.
Not only will it make cutting and chopping more difficult, but it can also cause you to apply more pressure than necessary, leading to the knife slipping and causing accidents.
On the other hand, a sharp knife more easily punctures the surface (vegetable, fruit, meat, etc.) that you intend it to without too much pressure on your part.
If your knife feels dull, sharpen it as soon as possible. You can purchase an inexpensive honing steel tool to sharpen your knives at home.
5. Using a Knife for Other Purposes
You should use your kitchen knife for just that - the kitchen. When you use a kitchen knife for other purposes around the home - e.g., loosening screws, prying open a can, or opening a letter - you can damage the blade.
A damaged blade makes the knife more difficult to cook with - its primary purpose - and also makes the knife more dangerous. Like a dull blade, a damaged blade is more likely to slip and cause an injury.
Therefore, you should only use a kitchen knife to cut, chop, and slice food items such as:
Vegetables (carrots, onions, broccoli, etc.)
Meat (chicken, beef, pork, fish, etc.)
Whole spices (cloves, ginger, garlic, etc.
Seeds (sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds, etc.)
Fruit (apples, mangos, bananas, etc.)
Herbs (basil, parsley, rosemary, etc.)
6. Using the Wrong Cutting Board
You might not think the type of cutting board you use matters, but it does. Hardwood and bamboo cutting boards are the best choices because they're gentle on knife blades.
On the other hand, glass and ceramic cutting boards have tough surfaces. These harder surfaces can cause your knife to roll and damage its edge over time, especially if you scrape it harshly from side to side.
You may want to choose a rigid cutting board like glass or marble because the board life tends to be longer than softer wood cutting boards, but you have to consider what you care about more - your board or your precious knives.
Using a more rigid wood cutting board with a stainless steel or carbon steel knife is your best bet for a win-win situation.
7. Not Cleaning or Washing Your Knife Properly
Leaving your knife dirty is a surefire way to ruin it, as most people know. However, although cleaning your knife after each use is essential, you also need to be careful not to damage the blade in the process.
Use a soft sponge or cloth and avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers. Also, be careful not to let your knife soak in the sink because that can cause the blade to rust.
It's best to not leave the knife in the sink at all, even if it's not technically "wet," because the remaining soap and suds in the sink can dull the blade over time.
What To Do Next?
Now that you know seven ways you could be ruining your knives, make sure to avoid partaking in any of these behaviors. That way, you can keep your shiny, sharp new knives shiny and sharp for years to come!