How To

Staying sharp: how to care for your knives

Six expert tips for keeping your blades sharp and shiny.
Knives on a chopping board

Every chef will tell you that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. And no one wants to waste time labouring over a blunt blade when it should take seconds. So looking after your knives is the simplest way to make your time in the kitchen easier.

But just how do you keep all your knives sharp all the time?

Quality over quantity

Make sure when you purchase your knives, that they’re made from a good quality stainless steel. Knives made of quality stainless are easier to sharpen and to keep sharp. But we all know that good knives can cost a fortune. If you’re on a budget, look for inexpensive knives marketed to chefs and butchers. They may not be pretty, but they are built to work.

Get sharp

Knife sharpeners are an easy and safe way to keep your knives in shape, but there are a lot of bad ones on the market. To keep an edge on the blade, you must remove a little metal, but removing too much will destroy the knife. Do a little research before you invest!

Hone your knife

When you see chefs whipping their knives across a steel rod, they are not sharpening their knife, they’re honing it. Honing is a practice which helps to straighten the edge of the knife (over time, constant use of the sharp side of a knife bends the edge over), rather than sharpen it. Regular honing should stop your knife from needing to be sharpened too often.

Make sure they’re stored properly

Buy a good quality knife block to store your knives in, to keep them from getting dull and damaged. Always hand-wash your knives and dry them before putting them away. Bouncing around in the dishwasher can ruin the edge of your knife, and harsh detergents can corrode the stainless steel.

Use a stone

Knife stones vary in coarseness, or grit. The type of stone you need depends on what type of knives you have, so ask a professional at a knife or kitchen store. They should also be able to show you the basics.

Trust the pros

Taking your knives to a professional once or twice a year is worth the investment. For a small fee, they can sharpen your knife, work out any dents or chips, and sharpen the point.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Recipes+

Image via Julie Crespel /

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