Want the ins and outs to help you maintain your knife? Look no further. We've rounded up some knife tips to keep your knife looking brand new.
How To Clean
More than likely, your kitchen knives are some of your most used kitchen utensils. From slicing and chopping to dicing and cubing, you rely on your Made In Chef Knife helps you create delicious and beautiful meals. But if you're not cleaning your knives properly, your culinary creations could be suffering as a result.
The Importance of a Clean Knife
Clean knives are important not just for sanitary reasons, but for practical use as well. If you wait too long after using your knife to clean it, the food particles may begin to solidify and will thus be more difficult to remove. And over time, build-up on the blade of your knife can lead to a dull blade, which can make it more difficult to get a clean cut.
Reasons to Avoid the Dishwasher
As tempting as it may be to toss your knives in the dishwasher, you should generally wash your kitchen knives by hand. That's because the high heat and abrasive detergent used in the dishwasher can result in nicks along the blade of the knife itself. Over time, this will cause dulling of the blades—not to mention damage to knife handles over time. This is especially true of wooden knife handles, which can crack and splinter if exposed to the high heat of a dishwasher. A very sharp knife can also chip away at the coating on your dishwasher shelves, causing long-term damage, so why risk it?
Cleaning Your Knives Safely
Hand-washing knives is always the best way to go, but how can you do so effectively and safely? For starters, it's always best to clean knives right away after use. This will make things easier on you since it allows you to clean the blades before any food solidifies onto them.
When cleaning knives manually, always keep the blade of the knife pointed away from you and your fingers. Using a dishcloth or sponge with warm water and dish soap, carefully wipe each side of the blade. You can do this even more safely by simply laying the knife on your kitchen counter and wiping each side of the blade this way.
If there are any stubborn food particles on the blade, the best course of action is to soak the knife for a few minutes in a mixture of hot water and dish soap. Aggressively scrubbing the blade to remove the food particles could make you more prone to slipping and accidentally cutting yourself. Soaking the blade for a few minutes is usually enough to loosen up the particles and make them easy to wipe off without incident.
Cleaning knives by hand is a good habit to get into. Just be sure to keep a few basic safety tips in mind so you can achieve clean knives without injuring yourself in the process!
Sharpen Vs. Hone
We spent a lot of time designing and tooling our knife and searched far a wide to source the best metals for our production. Our factory is in its 5th generation of family ownership and every step is executed by hand.
That said, knives get dull with use. It’s up to you to give your knife a little TLC every once-in-a-while. Honing and sharpening your knife will keep your blade good as new and make prepping your favorite recipes that much easier.
Honing is something cooks in the know do very frequently. It is the act of realigning the blade when it gets bent out of shape during use. There is minimal metal lost during the honing process.
Sharpening, on the other hand, is something that should be done less frequently and shaves metal off in order to create a new edge on your knife.
A good analogy is like taking care of your teeth. Honing is like brushing your teeth: do it often. Sharpening is like going to the dentist. Twice a year should do.
Honing is done with a honing steel. People often confuse this as a sharpening device, while a straight blade will feel like it cuts sharper, it is indeed not.
The most common steel material is stainless, and the safest to use for regular honing. You can also find honing steels in ceramic or diamond plate. These tend to be hardest materials which can actually shave some metal off the knife, creating a bit of a sharpening effect. These harder honing steels are good for extending the time between sharpening but not for regular use.
There are a couple options to sharpen your knife. The classic sharpening device used everywhere it a whetstone. Advanced knife enthusiasts will have various grit levels of whetstones, taking their knife from rougher to finer grit for the perfect blade.
Also available are electric sharpeners for those that don’t want to go through the manual process of a whetstone. Lastly, there's no shame in dropping your knife off with a professional - it often yields the best results.
Knife Sharpening Basics
Can you oversharpen a knife?
Are you avoiding sharpening your knives because you were worried about damaging them by "over-sharpening" them? Don’t be. With the right tool and method, it's nearly impossible to over-sharpen your knives by taking off too much metal. You’ll see what we mean as you keep reading.
What is the perfect knife sharpness?
What exactly makes a knife feel "sharp," anyway? In general, sharpness relates to the angle of the blade when it's sharpened. The more acute the angle, the sharper the blade will be. In most cases, the ideal degree for a knife will be between 15 and 20 degrees. In most cases, it will come out of the box at the right angle and you won’t have to worry about the angle as you start cutting.
A sharpening test
You can generally tell that your knife needs to be sharpened if it is unable to slice easily and cleanly through a sheet of paper held at one end. If it’s not slicing cleaning, the blade has likely dulled and is no longer at that pristine 15-20 degrees.
Maintaining Your Knife
Sharpening With a Whetstone
A whetstone is a fine-grained stone that features a coarse and fine side for versatile sharpening. It is an inexpensive sharpening tool that can be used on any knife, making it a popular option.
Using a whetstone to sharpen a knife can take some practice - it can be tough to get the hang of holding the knife at the proper angle, which is essential to whetstone success. However, once you master it, it’s quick, easy, and reliable.
To ensure the whetstone stays in place while you sharpen, try setting a rubber shelf liner or a damp paper towel underneath the stone. From there, begin with the coarse side of the stone facing up. Hold the knife at a 15-20-degree angle and draw the blade down and across the stone using large circular motions. Repeat this same process with the other side of the knife blade. Once you're happy with the sharpness of the knife, flip the whetstone over to the finer side and repeat the entire process to polish things up.
Sharpening With an Electric Sharpener
These "cutting-edge" tools are specifically designed to reshape the edge of the knife itself, which can involve removing a decent amount of metal in the process. For that reason, we recommend an electric sharpener if you need a pretty dramatic resharpening.
Most electric sharpeners will come with directions, but you’ll see that these easy-to-use machines have spring-loaded guides that steady blade. All you need to do is hold your knife at an exact angle, and the machine will sharpen efficiently. It should take less than a minute for your blade to look like new.
The Bottom Line
Whether you use a whetstone, steel rod, or electric sharpener, always remember to be careful. Knives, even dull knives, are sharp.
If sharpening at home makes you a little nervous, call in the professionals. You can always send your knives in to be professionally sharpened at a local knife shop and/or kitchen store.