a man is cleaning a knife

If you clean your knives regularly and properly, you will lengthen their longevity. Further, cleaning keeps your knives sharp and free of bacteria while keeping it rust-free. But then different knives require different cleaning techniques. So adopt the below cleaning techniques based on their type and get shining knives.

How to Properly Clean a Knife? 

After you finished using the knife, wash it under running water. The quicker you do this, the easier it will be to remove the debris which otherwise might stick on and make it harder to clean. When washing, make sure to keep the blade pointing away from you. Clean it with mild dish soap and if possible, use warm water.

A woman is cleaning a knife

If something is stuck, then remove it with a sponge gently rather than scrubbing it hard which might sometimes cause the knife to slip away and cause injury for you. Once washing is done, pat dry it immediately with a clean towel. Air-drying is not recommended as it can cause rust.

The most important part of the knife which should be carefully cleaned is the blade. If the blade gets damaged, the sharpness reduces and makes their use less efficient. Cleaning ceramic and stainless steel blade knives is easy as you can wash them with warm water and mild detergent as mentioned above.

But for those with carbon-based steel blades, you need to wipe them with a clean cloth rather than washing them under running water which might cause them to rust soon.

How to Get Rust off Kitchen Knives? 

Rust is one of the biggest enemies of metal knives. Before providing you with the solution to remove rust, you must know the reasons which cause rust. One of the primary reasons for rusted knives can be attributed to the prolonged period knives are left in the sink along with water.

banking soda and knife on table

Rinsing them in the dishwasher and not drying your knives immediately with a dry rag can also cause rusting. Take these precautions and you can avoid rust.

To remove rust, a household lubricant like WD-40 would be the best choice. Spray it across all the rusty areas and set aside for a minute or two. Now with the nylon pad, scrub until the rust is gone.

For stubborn spots, you would have to spray it again and scrub. After cleaning it under water, wipe with a soft clean cloth. Spray the lubricant again and rub with another dry cloth until shiny.

For natural solutions, baking soda should be the first option. Before applying the baking soda solution, wash it with a cleaning solution and wipe off with a cloth. Now, apply the baking soda paste made of baking soda and lemon juice on both sides of the knives.

Now, with a toothbrush, scrub gently until the rust is gone. If there is a severe case of rust, scrub it with a steel scrub gently as it can otherwise cause abrasion easily. Finally, wipe it off with a cloth.

Another natural method to remove rust is by using a potato. Though it seems like a weird idea, the use of potato is a tested option and works all the time.

Potato contains an acid known as oxalic acid, which can dissolve rust quickly. For this, stab the knife into a potato and keep it aside for few hours. Later, take off the knife and wash away all the juices. Dry it with a cloth.

The third option to remove rust from the knife involves light oil. Spray it lightly as it can cause dirt to get stuck easily. Leave for three days so that the oil will soak into the blade and loosen up the rust, which makes washing easier. After another three days, take a steel scrub and wipe off the rust.

Apart from all these, you can also use a combination of lemon juice and salt. The acidity of the lemon along with the abrasiveness of the salt can aid in removing the small rust spots.

For this apply the lemon juice over the rusted areas and coat it with salt. Set it aside for two hours and then scrub it off with steel wool gently to remove the rust. Finally, wash it with warm water and pat dry it with a cloth.

How to Clean Kitchen Knife after Cutting Raw Chicken? 

Cleaning knives correctly after using them to cut chicken is significant as poultry carries many harmful bacteria that can cause food-borne diseases, and this can lead to cross-contamination if not careful. Thus, two basic kitchen rules need to be followed when handling raw meat products.

Clean a knife after cutting chicken

First, you shouldn't use the same cutting board, which was used for cutting chicken without washing it thoroughly. Similarly, the same knife shouldn't be used for other ingredients if it was used for cutting chicken before cleaning.

To clean up a knife that was used for cutting chicken, wash it with a soapy solution using a sponge and then soak it in a mix of one tablespoon of bleach and one quart of water for a minute. Wipe it dry with a cloth after washing. Just dishwasher detergent wouldn't serve the purpose as it is not a sanitizer and can't kill all the microorganisms.

They can act as a degreaser only and remove all those particles and fat sticking to the knife, but wouldn't kill bacteria like salmonella. Bleach on the other hand kills 99% of the microorganisms and cleans, which makes them safe to use immediately after cleaning.

But then, if you are scared about using bleach on your knives, you can use quaternary ammonium. Or soak the knife completely for 2 minutes in boiling water in a large bowl.


Can you clean a knife with rubbing alcohol? 

If you want to make sure that your knife is completely safe to use, then you can use 70% isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol to sanitize them from bacteria and other microorganisms.

Clean a knife by using alcohol

Spray rubbing alcohol on a lint-free cloth or cotton buds and apply it on the nooks and corners of the knife which is not reachable by your hands otherwise. Rubbing alcohol is excellent on residue, inks, and light greases and evaporates quickly leaving no residue while being a disinfectant.

Should you soak knives? 

Do not, under any case, soak for more than the said time as it might cause rust.

Can Coke Remove Rust? 

Coca-Cola that refreshes you can also be used to remove rust. Most soft drinks contain phosphoric acid and when they interact with iron oxide it can remove rust. As the amount is less in Coca-Cola when compared to commercial cleaners, it will work slowly.

Knife and coke placed on table

For maintaining the knife, never

  • Leave the knife in the sink. They can cause rust as well as make them susceptible to damage.
  • Wash the knives by hand rather than putting them in the dishwasher as the blade gets dinged and damaged by the high-pressure water jets. Moreover, the dishwasher detergent is highly acidic and can cause premature rusting.
  • Leave them open in the kitchen drawer as it can cause damage and scratches when they get bumped with other silverware. Once dried, store them in knife sheaths or magnet holders.
Terry Reece
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