For the past few years, we’ve chosen to rent houses whenever we’ve traveled for family vacations. It’s typically cheaper than booking several rooms at a hotel, and we save on food costs by cooking our own meals!
But cooking our own meals means using the tools provided in the kitchen, and those tools don’t usually look like they’ve been handled with care. My son-in-law is a chef, and he is always particularly appalled at the condition of the kitchen knives!
There are a lot of ways to ruin a good kitchen knife, and I have to assume that those poor knives have suffered through most of them. So today I thought I’d share some of those knife-ruining habits with you, in hopes it helps us all take better care of our knives in the future!
7 Ways You’re Ruining Your Kitchen Knives
1. You Use Them To Open Boxes
Repeat after me: I will not use my kitchen knives to open packages. (I’m repeating it as well, because I’ve been guilty of this in the past!)
Opening boxes with your kitchen knives is going to dull them quickly, and it’s not very sanitary either. Instead, spend a few dollars on a set of box cutters (like this $3 set) and store them wherever you tend to open packages.
2. You Wash Them In The Dishwasher
Tossing your kitchen knife in the dishwasher might be the easiest way to clean it, but it definitely isn’t the safest. The spray of the washer arm can jostle your knife around, leading to dings, chips, and dulling.
Instead, take a minute or two to wash your nice knives by hand in warm, soapy water. It’s an easy way to ensure they stay sharp and damage-free!
3. You Store Them In A Drawer
Just like the dishwasher, kitchen drawers are another place where knives often get banged up and dulled. Instead, store your knife on a magnetic knife strip or in a wooden knife block to keep it safe, yet still handy.
4. You Use Them On The Wrong Cutting Board
Another part of taking care of your knife is making sure you’re using it on the right cutting board. Wood and plastic cutting boards are both good options that will minimize potential damage to your knife.
Avoid stone, glass, or bamboo cutting boards if you want to keep your knife in good shape. These materials are hard enough to dull your knives and even chip them!
5. You Scoop With The Sharp Edge
Scooping up ingredients with the sharp edge of your knife can dull it pretty rapidly. One easy alternative is just to flip the knife over and scoop with the spine of the knife instead of the sharp edge!
Another option is to get a bench scraper or pastry scraper. They’re meant to be used to scoop ingredients off of counters and cutting boards, and they aren’t very expensive either.
6. You Don’t Keep It Sharp
Using a dull knife can be more dangerous than using a sharp one! You need to use more force with a dull knife, and if the knife were to slip, that added force could mean a much deeper cut!
Keeping your knives properly sharpened makes them safer and easier to use. Use a honing steel weekly to keep it sharp, and when it stops feeling like the honing steel is helping, use a knife sharpener to grind a new edge (or just take it in to your local knife shop and have them do it!)
7. You Use It For The Wrong Tasks
A classic chef’s knife can be used for all sorts of different tasks in the kitchen, but other knives are more specialized. Take the time to identify what style(s) of knife you have and what it’s meant to be used for.
There’s a useful guide called “Types of Kitchen Knives” on Cook’s Illustrated that will tell you everything you need to know about your knives! Using the right knife not only makes the task easier for you, but it’s better for your knives too.
Tell me about the knife that you use most frequently in your kitchen!