Depending on how much you use your knives, they need professional sharpening every six to 12 months. A professional knifesmith will determine the right angle for your knife’s bevel edge. They will reinstate its original angle by taking off very small amounts of metal from the blade to create a new edge. Any dents, burrs or irregularities can be taken out of the blade with this technique. Even broken tips can be fixed!
Let’s say you just had your knives professionally sharpened. They are all shiny and new, sharp as they were on the day you bought them - or even sharper. But how do you maintain your knives?
The next step after professionally sharpening knives is honing them before each use. Honing a knife will ensure its blade is centered and straight. Honing doesn’t really sharpen a blade, but because it will align it, the blade will appear sharper. More on the difference between honing and sharpening here.
The right tool for the job
Of course, you would never use a kitchen knife to open a cardboard box (at least you wouldn’t want to tell our master knifesmith and make a grown man cry…), but aside from dulling blades on paper, there’s a knife for every job out there. Make sure you have the basic set of most common knives in your kitchen to be prepared for whatever challenge comes up. Not sure which knife to use for what job? Check out the Knife Aid Knife Guide.
Make sure you store your knives in a way that you don’t accidentally injure yourself and that their blades are protected from getting dull just by being stored. Loosely placing your knives in a drawer is a no-no on both accounts!
A magnetic wall strip, a safe holder or a knife block are all excellent ways to store knives. If you are using a knife block, make sure to keep the following in mind:
- Always rest the blade on its spine, i.e. keep the sharp edge away from the wood
- Make sure the knife is clean to stop bacteria from growing inside the block
- Make sure your knife is dried properly - rust on the blade will dull it
Apart from not cleaning your knives at all, the biggest mistake you can make when cleaning your knives is placing them in a dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent is very abrasive, and the motion inside the dishwasher will cause the knife to rock from side to side and ruin its edge as well as the handle. Here are a few tips to bear in mind when cleaning your knives:
- Clean your knives as soon as you have used them
- Use warm, soapy water
- Only clean one knife at a time (‘soaking’ them in the sink with other items will bang their blades against each other and dull them, as well as increase your chance of injury drastically)
- Always hold the blade away from you
- If you are using a cloth or sponge, fold over the back of the blade (the so-called spine) and wipe from the heel of the blade towards the tip of the knife
- Thoroughly rinse your knife with water
- Apply the same precautionary measures as you did cleaning your knife when drying it
Cook. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
Once you start noticing the blades on your knives starting to go dull, it is time to order that Knife Aid envelope again and start from the top.