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How to Care for Cutlery

Domestic CEO gives 3 tips on how to care for cutlery.

By
Amanda Thomas,
May 15, 2013
Episode #061

How to Care for Cutlery

I love to get emails from Domestic CEO readers and listeners. It helps me to know that I’m on the right track when it comes to my advice, and it also helps me come up with new episodes based on your questions.

I recently got an email from Dave asking for tips on keeping knives sharp, specifically tips other than just sharpening them on a regular basis. This is a great question! Knife sets can be one of the most expensive purchases you make for your kitchen, next to the appliances and the cookware. If you have invested in a high quality set of knives, today’s episode will not only help you learn how to care for them, but also how to always keep them sharp and ready to use..

Tip #1: Use Your Knives Correctly

Did you know that there’s a correct way to use a knife, especially the bigger chef-style knives? Luckily, it’s pretty easy to know if you are using them correctly. First of all, always use a cutting board, which will protect both your knife and your countertop. Whether the cutting board is made of wood or plastic doesn’t matter when it comes to protecting your knives. Either of those materials is softer, and therefore less likely to dull your knife, than stone countertops. 

Second, do your best to not create a sound when using a large knife. You can achieve this by making sure the point is the first thing that touches the board, then rocking it down to the handle. This takes some practice to get used to, but making sure your knife isn’t constantly being slammed against a cutting board will help to keep it sharp. There is a great video of this technique on Youtube. Just search for the MasteringKnifeSkills channel. It’s called Mastering Knife Skills – Reviewing High and Low Techniques.

Now, I will freely admit that I have had nights when I’ve been a little miffed at Mr. Domestic CEO and have utilized the passive-aggressive technique of saying, “I’m fine,” while chopping the heck out of a defenseless onion. Take it from me, men know better than try to come into a kitchen where an upset woman is armed with a knife. So calmly dice your vegetables and put the knife away before hashing it out with the hubby. It will help you have a less volatile conversation with your spouse, as well as protect your cutlery.

See also: Mr. Domestic CEO’s Dish Soap Fiasco

Tip #2: Wash Your Knives Correctly

The best way to wash knives is by hand and then dry them right away with a towel. Simply use a soft sponge and a mild dish detergent to wipe them clean. A tip that my mom taught me as a child was to never put multiple sharp knives in a sink of sudsy water. It’s way too easy to grab a blade instead of a handle, which, if your knives are in good condition, can cause a pretty decent cut. Only put one, maybe two knives into a sudsy sink to soak, but stay aware of where they are and how they are laying so you can safely pull them out when it’s time to wipe them clean. Immediately after washing them, let your knives drip dry a little in a dish rack before wiping them dry with a towel. This will prevent the knives from getting water spots which may lead to rust.

Avoid putting sharp knives in the dishwasher. This can cause them to knock against each other and other silverware, which will cause them to dull. If you do need to put them in the dishwasher, lay them horizontally on the top rack with nothing touching the blades to make sure they don’t get beaten up in the cycle.

Tip #3: Store Your Knives Correctly

The final tip to keeping your knives sharp deals with how you store them. While it may be tempting to toss all your knives into a “sharps” drawer in your kitchen, you are running a big risk that they will again knock into each other and get dull. There are several options to keep this from happening. The most common option is to use the knife block that your knives came in. If your cutlery set didn’t come with a wooden block, you may be able to find one that matches the set or pieces that you own. If your knives came with honing cases or other plastic guards, use them whenever you store your knives.

A cheaper alternative to honing cases are wine corks. Start collecting natural wine corks, either from your own home or from a friend if you don’t drink. To turn them into great knife storage, simply cut a slit in the cork and slip it on your knife before putting it into the drawer. This will add a little bit of a bumper to each knife, which will keep them all separate and safe.

So those are the 3 tips to keeping your knives sharp. By following them, along with regular sharpening, a good quality knife set can last you not just years, but maybe even decades. If you doubt, I’ll take you to see my mom’s knife set that she’s had since before I started doing dishes as a child.

Have a question about anything in this episode? Or a suggestion for a future podcast? Send me an email at DomesticCEO@quickanddirtytips.com or post it on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall or on my Twitter feed.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Kitchen Knife and Knife Block images from Shutterstock

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