Best Way to Clean a Chef’s Knife

how to safely clean a chef's knife

Whether you’re a professional chef or handy in the kitchen at home, your chef’s knife is going to see regular action.

As the workhorse of the kitchen it is very important that you keep your knife clean. This of course is vital for hygiene reasons, however if you want your chef’s knife to perform at its best and last a long time, keeping it clean should be an A1 priority.

So how does one go about cleaning a stainless steel chef’s knife? Let’s take a look.

3 Tips Before You Clean Your Knife

Before we get onto the actual process of safely cleaning your chef’s knife (or any stainless steel kitchen knife for that matter), there are a 3 simple steps you should follow.

Tip 1: Rinse it throughout Use

knife under the tap

One of the best ways to keep your knife clean is to actually rinse it during use. Between ingredients, rinse it off with hot water and wipe it dry several times. The benefits of this are twofold:

  • Rinsing throughout will help prevent food particles from sticking to the knife (and drying into stubborn bits difficult to remove). Stuck particles also make the knife cut less efficiently.
  • Keeping it wiped down will stop you from mixing ingredients and flavors while you work.

Tip 2: Not in the sink please

knives in sink

Never leave your knife in the sink where it could be damaged by other cutlery. Likewise, leaving the knife blade exposed will mean any food particles will dry onto the steel.

Always rinse it and wipe it down if you cannot wash your kitchen knife properly straight away.

Tip 3: And definitely not the dishwasher

knives in dishwasher not a good idea

Even if your knife manufacturer has stated dishwasher friendly, do not listen to them – your kitchen knives do not belong in there.

How to safely clean a Chef’s knife

Now we get to the actual step by step cleaning part. It really is very simple – Hot water a mild soap and a sponge / dishcloth are all you really need.

As you are dealing with a sharp blade, you should proceed with care, keeping the blade edge pointed away from you or your fingers.

Using the sponge or dishcloth, wipe the blade clean on both sides. Make sure to wipe away from you, and that the tip of the blade is facing away from you too.

If you wish, rest the knife flat on a countertop and wipe each side clean.

If you do come across dried food particles on the blade, allow the knife to soak in shallow water, (with nothing else in the bowl) for a minute to loosen the stubborn bits. This is far better for your knife than scrubbing away trying to remove them.

Video – How to Safely Wash a Chef’s Knife

Key take aways when cleaning your knives

  1. Rinse your knife with hot water throughout use
  2. Don’t dump knives into a sink of soapy water. (They can become damaged, or you could cut yourself when picking them up from the bottom of the sink)
  3. Make sure you hold the knife with the blade pointed away from you.
  4. Using a dishcloth or sponge, wipe the blade gently from the top (dull side) to the sharp edge. This way the sharp side never comes in contact with you.
  5. Rinse the knife thoroughly under hot running water.
  6. Wipe dry using the same method as you did for washing – dull side to sharp side.
  7. Put it away in a storage block or other safe holder.
  8. Never put your knife in the dishwasher

So, why are dishwashers so bad for your knives?

There’s a few reasons why you shouldn’t put your best knives in the dishwasher:

  1. The abrasive detergent combined with the high heat, and the jostling against other items in the washer are all bad for your knives. The end result will be a dull blade and nicks in the knife edge.
  2. Wooden handles are susceptible to the high heat and detergent and can also crack or loosen at the joints after constant machine washing.
  3. Sharp knifes will also cut into the plastic coating of the dishwasher shelves. This in turn exposes the metal beneath and leads to rusting.

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