Knives are essential kitchenware, and a high-quality knife is expensive and requires proper care, handling, and storage to last for years. Besides, cleaning your knives is a crucial aspect of maintenance, and each tool requires it for the best results. So, whether you're preparing fish, fresh meat, or vegetables, your knife must be clean and sanitized. If you leave the knives dirty and unattended, you will be dealing with many bacteria that are not safe for your health and your family. Therefore, there's a need to understand when must a knife be cleaned and sanitized. Keep reading to learn more!
What is the Significance of Cleaning & Sanitizing Knives?
To say that dirty knife blades are harmful appears to be an exaggeration. But that's the truth. If you don't clean and sanitize knives, you might kill someone. Cross-contamination (usually what happens when you do not properly clean your blades between uses) is a serious and potentially fatal issue.
If you do not clean your knives properly, you might easily transfer bacteria and viruses from one food to another. Even though most bacteria and viruses die once they reach a particular temperature (e.g., cooking temperatures), you might potentially harm someone when you chop anything that does not need to be burned.
Besides, even if no bacteria or viruses are present, cross-contamination can be hazardous. For example, you may inadvertently expose someone to a food allergen. They might spend a miserable day at the hospital in the best-case scenario; in the worst-case scenario, they might die.
What Are the Different Situations Where You Need to Clean Your Knife?
1. After cutting different foods using the same knife
When cooking, people frequently use a single knife to cut all varieties of food. For example, they use the same knife to cut meat, veggies, and fruits. That knife you use to chop vegetables, slice a cake, cut meat and other components, which might result in cross-contamination. And although this is cost-effective and decreases the amount of energy required for cooking, it makes the cleaning process critical.
Therefore, if you use your knife blade to cut raw meat, you must thoroughly clean it before using it to cut other meals. The same goes for chicken, fish, vegetables, fruits, and any other item that you chop. Also, remember to use different cutting boards or clean the one you used before.
2. After buying a new knife
People tend to forget to clean and sanitize their new knives. In addition, they forget throughout the packing process, an employee's hand was likely in contact with the knife, meaning bacteria and germs from their hand might have been transmitted to your new knife. Besides, the packaging could also be home to microorganisms that may make their way onto the knife's blade and handle. Therefore, give your new knife a thorough cleaning before using it to prepare meals.
3. Cutting raw meat
Raw meat usually contains a lot of bacteria, which is why we need to cook it thoroughly. Some microorganisms transfer to the blade when you cut raw meat with a knife blade. And if you use the knife to cut something else after that, the bacteria will also infect that. As a result, while working with raw meat, it's critical to regularly clean and sanitizes your knife. Sanitizing will prevent you from causing health problems for your family, such as food poisoning.
4. Fish scaling
After scaling fish, you should clean the knife thoroughly. So, if you are preparing a seafood meal, you may do it after scaling and slicing the fish since you will be using it to deal with the same sort of food. It's fine to clean the dirty knives only once throughout the procedure as long as you don't use them to chop another food or give it to someone else to use.
5. After sharpening the knife
It's vital that the blades you use for grilling be sharp. It simplifies grilling preparation by allowing you to cut and slice your meat precisely with less force. In addition, sharpening your blades regularly usually extends their life.
However, after sharpening your knife, you must clean and sanitize it. During the sharpening process, small particles of dust, metal, and other contaminants, known as swarf, can wind up on the blade, contaminating your food.
Therefore, before using the newly sharpened blade to cut fat from (a pork tenderloin) for the grill, ensure it's cleaned and sanitized to remove the metal clips buildup.
6. A single knife for everyone's use
It's very common to find people using the same knife. Cleaning and sanitizing this tool after each usage is essential. Besides, it becomes much easier to avoid cross-contamination between persons and from one sort of food to another this manner. And as mentioned., remember to wipe the cutting board again before using the knife on something else.
This is because someone may use a knife to cut vegetables, and someone else may cut meat. Therefore, they will be putting themselves in danger of food contamination and serious health problems if they do it this way.
What Are the Tips on How to Use a Knife Safely?
Keeping a knife clean and sterilized is one of the steps in ensuring the safe usage of knives. We use knives for more than simply chopping vegetables; we fillet fish. So, what are the tips for using a knife safely?
i). Use the proper knife for the job
Using the wrong knife will not only quickly dull it, but it can also be harmful to you. For example, there are kitchen knives for slicing various meals. For example, a kitchen knife that cuts meat may not be suitable for cutting fruits. Besides, using the knife for the proper task also includes using the knife to cutting food. Therefore, if you want to preserve the knife in good condition, don't use it for anything else.
ii). Don't use a blunt knife.
Have you ever used a dull knife? We're guessing your cutting experience wasn't all that nice. It would be ideal to have a sharp knife. Dull stainless steel knives usually take the fun out of meal preparation, particularly when cutting ingredients. That is why you should sharpen your knife if you see it has grown dull. You might use stones to sharpen blades. They are not too pricey.
iii). Have a specific store for knives
Are you the kind of person who tosses knives frequently with the other utensils? It's not uncommon for some people to have their knives in the same drawer as spoons and other utensils. This is risky and might result in a cut.
To encourage the ideal knife storage routine in your kitchen, keep all of your knives in a distinct storage area. You can also enjoy some kitchen organization. Besides, this will save you time if you need to find a tool to use.
iv). Use the right cutting techniques
Things might quickly get deadly if you use the wrong cutting method. There are different techniques to cut most varieties of foods. For example, a chopping board is ideal for cutting ingredients.
The way you hold the knife is also a technique. It would be best to grip so that you have smooth cutting motions. The perfect cut should be one smooth stroke through the food you're cutting. However, you can only achieve this if your knife is sharp.
You won't have to worry about too many knife mishaps if you follow the suggestions above. Of course, there will be times when you will cut yourself, especially if the knife is razor-sharp. However, there will be fewer such incidents if you use your knife responsibly.
What Are the Knife Cleaning & Sanitizing Tips?
Understanding when must a knife be cleaned and sanitized is essential for maintaining a clean kitchen and ensuring that your knives perform properly. Here are some basic cleaning guidelines for food-safe knives:
i). After each usage, wash your knife with hot water and dish soap.
ii). To remove food debris, avoid using abrasive scourers, and instead use a soft sponge or a knife brush
iii). Keep the blade away from you and your fingers.
iv). Rinse the knife thoroughly with hot, clean water
v). Allow to dry naturally or wipe dry with a clean paper towel.
vi). Never wash high-quality blades in a dishwasher
vii). Knives with wooden handles aren't dishwasher safe because the wood would swell and rot.
viii). Ensure the knife block is also clean
ix). Don't forget the cutting board you use must be as clean as the knife to prevent cross-contamination. To sanitize the plastic cutting boards, wash with hot water and soap to remove the food debris, then soak in a reasonable solution of distilled white vinegar and water for about 30 minutes. Rinse with clean water and properly dry before storing.
What Are the Common Natural Knife Cleaners?
After a lengthy period of use, you may notice black stains on the blade of your kitchen knife. Lemon is a powerful natural cleanser for removing these black stains from the knife block and blade. First, make a 1:5 lemon juice-to-water solution. Then dip the knife in the solution. Allow it to rest for a few moments. Next, rinse it well under running water. To dry it, use a gentle, clean cloth.
2. White vinegar
One of the numerous advantages of using white vinegar is that you can use it for knife sanitation. You can clean and sanitize your knife with warm white vinegar, which will increase the blade's efficiency. Soak a clean towel in white vinegar and rub it all over the knife to achieve this. Wait a few minutes, then thoroughly rinse and dry.
One of the primary components of potatoes is starch. Starch has high corrosion resistance to rust. The procedure is quite straightforward. Rub the potatoes on the blade after cutting them into medium pieces. Rinse the knife with warm water and dry it.
Frequently Asked Questions on When Must a Knife be Cleaned and Sanitized
1. How frequently should you clean and sanitize your knife?
As many times as you can. You must maintain all utensils, not just knives, clean at all times. Clean them immediately after use and store them on a clean surface. Besides, the first step in protecting oneself against bacteria and pathogens is to keep yourself clean. So, there's no limit to how frequently you should clean and sanitize your knives, whether you use them or not.
2. Can I clean a knife in my dishwasher?
Yes, you can, but we discourage you from using a dishwasher. Although knives are dishwasher safe, repeatedly washing them in the dishwasher will inevitably damage them. The heat will certainly destroy the handle too. And the blade will strike multiple items inside the dishwasher, possibly destroying both. Also, excess water might increase the likelihood of rust formation.
It's easy to see why a dishwasher is not the best technique for cleaning a knife after considering the potential problems. However, it may appear to be more convenient in a short-term period.
3. Should I use alcohol to clean your knives?
It all comes down to the type of knife. Alcohol might be your holy grail for eliminating bacteria and pathogens. However, it's not recommended for high-quality knives. Most kitchen knives are usually made of low-carbon stainless steel, making them prone to corrosion or damage from alcohol in the long term, especially around the edges. Nonetheless, if you want to use alcohol to remove rust from your blades, it's a foolproof method of doing it.
4. Is cleaning knives the same as sanitizing them?
Contrary to popular assumptions, sanitizing or disinfecting is not equivalent to cleaning. Cleaning removes dirt and crumbs while sanitizing removes bacteria and pathogens that water and dish soap cannot.