Caring properly for a knife's handle and blade prolongs its life and increases its usefulness. Proper knife handle care keeps the blade securely attached, preventing injury while cutting. Keep knives clean and dry and store them securely. When the blade has started to come loose from the handle or the handle starts to splinter, replace the knife for safety.
Never clean knives in the dishwasher. The high temperature of dishwasher water can melt or loosen the glue holding the blade in the handle. Dishwashing detergent contains chemicals and abrasives that deface the handles and blades over time. To avoid loosening the handle, do not soak the entire knife in water for extended periods of time. Clean your knives in hot soapy water, then dry them promptly. Allow knives to dry completely before storing them.
Knives can be crowded and damaged when stored in a kitchen drawer. A knife block keeps knives separated and protects the blades and handles from damage. Lock knives up or store them in an unreachable position if you have young children in the home. Never try to sharpen your knife with sandpaper or a grinder, which could damage the blade and create heat from the friction which could loosen the handle from the blade.
Wood Knife Handles
Protect wood knife handles from dryness, splintering, and cracking by oiling then with walnut or mineral oil. Because these oils do not contain varnish, the protection they offer won't be permanent. Oil wood knife handles using a soft cloth and a light coat of oil after each wash. Allow the knife to air dry completely before oiling. After the knife handle is oiled, allow it to dry completely before storing it in an enclosed space, or allow it to dry while standing upright in a knife block.
Metal Knife Handles
Dry metal knives immediately after washing to prevent rust. Even stainless steel knives can rust over time when exposed to corrosive materials. Oil your carbon steel knife handles using magnolia or clove oil after each use. Clean metal knives using a damp cloth and soap instead of immersing them in water to protect them from moisture.
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