This Is the Best Way to Care for Your Knives

Do not put them in the dishwasher.

In this episode of The Best Way, associate food editor Kelsey Youngman outlines the best way to care for your knives, so you can keep them sharper and safer to use for many, many meals to come.

First thing’s first—when selecting knives, Kelsey recommends going to the store and testing them so you can pick according to your preferences for handle material, blade length, and design.

Once you have your knives, make sure to hand-wash them after use with a non-abrasive sponge and some warm soapy water. Never put them in the dishwasher, she says, even if they’re described as "dishwasher-safe." Then, thoroughly dry them immediately and store them carefully, such as in a knife block—don’t just toss them in your utensil drawer, as this can chip away at the blade.

Next up is honing and sharpening. After breaking down the difference between the two, Kelsey demonstrates how to properly hone a knife using a honing steel. You want to hold it straight up and down with the tip braced on the cutting board, and hold the knife blade against it at a 15 to 20 degree angle. Starting with the heel, drag the knife against the steel all the way to its tip. Do both sides evenly, and repeat six to eight times using gentle pressure. She says this can be done with any straight-edged knife (e.g. a chef's knife or paring knife) once a week.

As for sharpening? That’s best left to professionals, and you can get it done every six months.

Recommended knives

If you’re looking to replace knives in your knife set, or get a new one entirely, we have plenty of recommendations. After testing 14 highly-rated chef’s knives, we came up with a few top picks; we also rounded up the nine best knife sets for every kitchen, including a best budget-friendly set, best set for new cooks, best professional-grade set, and more. If you follow these tips and care for them, they'll last you a long time.

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