Caring for Chef Knives

To ensure a long life in a chefs knife, you should not only be thinking about keeping your knives sharp, but also be about the level of care given to the knives. By treating your chefs knives with care, your knife will last the test of time. The chances are you spent not only time, but a significant amount of money choosing the right knife for your needs, so product maintenance is paramount.

 

Stainless Steel Knives and Water

There are a number of steps that can be taken to maintain stainless steel knives.

Staining

One thing to look out for on knives is staining; it must be emphasised that staining is a rare phenomenon and that in most cases it is due to something that becomes firmly deposited on the steel, rather than to any attack of the steel itself. The most common cause of staining is attack by one of the proprietary dip solutions used for removing tarnish from silver. They contain acids that etch the steel, first giving it an iridescent rainbow stain and ultimately etching it a dull grey. Most stains that resist ordinary rubbing with a soapy cloth can be removed with stainless steel cleaners.

Dissolved Mineral Salts

All tap water contains dissolved mineral salts that would leave an extremely thin film on any article on which it was allowed to dry out without wiping. In most cases, the resultant stain will wipe off, but occasionally more vigorous treatment is needed, using a polishing preparation, such as stainless steel cleaners.

Detergents

Strong detergents can leave an indelible rainbow stain on stainless steel if they are not rinsed off and are allowed to dry on its surface.

Hot Grease

Very hot grease, fat or meat juices sometimes leave rainbow coloured stains on stainless steel, but this is more likely to occur on meat dishes than knives.

Corroding on Knives

When stainless steel corrodes, it does not rust all over like non stainless steel but acquires small localised pits or holes. Prolonged contact with water is most likely responsible for more pitting trouble than anything else. Knives have been made from stainless steel for such a long time that the highly corrosive effect of tap water, caused by the traces of mineral salts it contains is not appreciated. If pitting does occur, an enquiry into the washing procedure is recommended to find out whether the knives are ever left in contact with water for a long item.

Washing Knives

Whenever possible wash knives immediately; do not leave them wet overnight and do not use the 'rinse and hold' cycle. The use of the dishwasher as a dirty storage cabinet causes many cases of knife corrosion. As soon as the dishwasher has completed its cycle, remove the knives and wipe them dry. Knives with handles made from wood, plastic, bone or china should be washed by hand unless it is stated to be suitable for dishwashers.

Use a Chopping Board

Use a chopping board when using your chefs knife to avoid damaging your countertop. Without the use of a chopping board this can also damage your blade. You should always avoid using glass chopping boards; as this will dull and ruin your knife.

 

 

Storing a Knife

The storage of your knives is imperative in ensuring that it is not damaged by other utensils in your drawer. Knife blocks, knife cases and mountable magnetic strips will ensure that your knife is stored safely and securely with no risk of over-crowded drawers damaging the knife blade.

 

 

Knife Care

With proper care and use, knives will last and will help make kitchen cutting tasks easier and safer.