When Must a Knife Be Cleaned and Sanitized (Revealed)

Do you know that satisfying feeling you get when you swiftly cut something with your sharp knife? It certainly has to do with keeping your kitchen tool clean. Unfortunately, if you neglect washing your blade after use, it’ll turn blunt over time. Not to mention, you’ll be dealing with quite a lot of germs and bacteria.

To know when a knife must be cleaned and sanitized, keep on reading!

Cleaning and Sanitizing a Knife

Although cleaning and sanitizing your knife is a must, there isn’t a specific rule about when to do it. Instead, it depends on one main factor: what do you use it for?

Although all knives require cleaning, some need it more than others. For example, if you use your knife to cut food, you should clean it after each use. However, if you use it for something else, it might not be as necessary. read more information on how to clean and maintain your knife correctly.

When Must a Knife Be Cleaned and Sanitized?

We’ll give you a brief about different situations where you need to clean your knife to ensure the blade doesn’t turn dull.

After Cutting a Variety of Foods Using the Same Knife

When people cook, they often use one knife for all types of food. For example, they use the same knife to cut meat, vegetables, and fruits. While this is economical and reduces the resources needed for cooking, it makes cleaning a crucial step.

If you use your knife to cut raw meat, it’s a must that you wash it adequately before using it to cut other foods. The same goes for vegetables, fruits, chicken, fish, and any food you cut. Ideally, it’d be best if you did the same with your cutting board to avoid inviting bacteria into your meals.

Scaling a Fish

Scaling a Fish

If you plan on preparing a delicious seafood meal, you should know that washing your knife is essential. That said, you can do it after both scaling and cutting the fish since you’ll be using it to deal with the same type of food.

As long as you don’t use it to cut another food or don’t give it to someone else to use, it’s okay to clean it only once throughout the whole process.

Cutting Raw Meat

It’s no secret that raw meat contains many bacteria; that’s why we should cook it thoroughly. When you cut raw meat with a knife, some bacteria get transmitted to its blade. If you use the knife to cut something else afterward, you’ll be infecting it with the same bacteria.

Accordingly, it’s essential to frequently clean and sanitize your knife when dealing with raw meat. This will ensure that you don’t cause health issues to your family like food poisoning, for example.

Cutting Different Foods Using the Hands of Many People

Cutting Different Foods Using the Hands of Many People

If you work in a restaurant where many people use the same knife for different tasks, you should never miss cleaning it frequently. This is mainly because someone may use the knife to cut meat, and someone may use it to cut vegetables. This way, they’ll be risking food cross-contamination and severe health issues.

Why Should You Clean and Sanitize Knives?

Since knives are pretty indispensable in the kitchen, you should keep them properly cleaned and sanitized to ensure they stay sharp and your family stays healthy.

The main issue here is cross-contamination, which occurs if you use the same knife to cut many foods without washing in between. This becomes less of an issue when you cook your food after cutting it since high temperatures efficiently kill viruses and bacteria. However, if you don’t plan on cooking your food, you should clean your knives frequently.

Another potential risk you’ll face if you don’t wash your knives is exposing someone to a food allergen that they aren’t supposed to eat. For example, if you cut peanuts with your knife, then use it to cut vegetables, you risk having some residues there. Since peanuts are famous allergens, someone may eat the contaminated vegetables and suffer an allergic reaction.

Accordingly, it’s always the best option to stay on the safe side and clean your knives adequately.

How Often Should Your Knives Be Cleaned?

The answer here depends on how often you use your blade. For instance, if you frequently cut meat, then you should sanitize your knife after each use. Even if you merely run it under hot water and wipe it with a cloth, it’s still essential.

With that being said, if you only use your knife to cut vegetables, then you can clean it after you finish preparing your whole salad. You should also clean it if you haven’t used it in a long time or just bought a new blade.

What Happens if My Knives Aren’t Cleaned Frequently?

Apart from the facts we mentioned before about cross-contamination and its possible adverse health effects, not cleaning your knife may cause the blade to turn dull or develop rust. Moreover, your blade might be permanently stained if food remnants remain on it for a long time without washing.

How Can You Clean a Knife Properly?

After knowing the risks of not washing your knife, we’ll tell you how to do it properly. You have two options to choose from, handwash and dishwasher, and we’ll tell you what’s the right choice!

Handwash or Dishwasher: What to Choose

Kitchens are often a perfect environment for transmitting bacteria and diseases. To maintain a healthy and clean kitchen, you should regularly wash your tools the right way. So how should you wash your knives? First of all, never put them in the dishwasher.

Throwing your knives in the dishwasher can have a detrimental effect on their overall quality. To begin with, the detergents used are too harsh on your blades and may cause them to corrode. Secondly, the wash cycle is too aggressive on such delicate tools and may bang them around, which may result in a dull blade over time.

The knives’ effect on the dishwasher is also not desirable as they may scratch its plastic coating. The best way to wash your knife is by soaking it in a bleach solution and using hand soap. However, running it under tap water may not be enough to get rid of the germs.

Joseph Joseph BladeBrush Knife Cleaner

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You can use a knife brush for more efficient cleaning. The Joseph Joseph BladeBrush Knife Cleaner won’t disappoint you in this case. Once you soak your blade, you can start cleaning with your brush and then rinse the knife under warm water. Afterward, wipe it with a freshly cleaned microfiber cloth.

To ensure you properly sanitize your knives and get rid of bacteria and viruses, clean them with hot water. However, make sure you don’t use chemicals or harsh soap as they may negatively affect your blades’ quality. The last step is to look for any debris or food deposit on your blades and handles.

While this mainly works for kitchen knives, you can use those instructions for other types of knives since they only differ slightly. To learn all about cleaning swiss army knives, click here.

Other Things to Consider While Cleaning and Sanitizing Knives

After making sure your knives are adequately cleaned and sanitized, you should consider a few other points. The first one is cleaning your cutting board as many times as your knife. Remember, your board is also a solid surface that can contaminate food and accordingly risk your health.

One more point you should take care of is to regularly inspect your knife block to make sure it’s clean. The right way to do so is to turn it upside down and look closely inside it. Also, wait till it’s entirely dry before placing your knives in it.


Can I Use Hand Sanitizer to Clean a Knife?

If you keep a pocket knife or a swiss army knife, then it’s okay to sanitize it with hand sanitizer every once in a while. However, if we’re talking kitchen knives, hand soap and warm water remain the best option.

Is It a Bad Idea to Clean a Knife With Alcohol?

The answer depends on what type of knife you use. For example, kitchen knives are often made out of low carbon stainless steel; thus, they wouldn’t stand the frequent use of alcohol. On the other hand, using it is an excellent option if you own a high-quality blade because alcohol efficiently kills microorganisms.

Final Words

To maintain your knives and keep them sharp and shiny, you should clean them thoroughly after each use. For the best results, use hand soap and hot water to kill all the microorganisms on their surfaces.

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