When Must A Knife Be Cleaned And Sanitized? (With A How-To Guide)

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you shouldn’t clean and sanitize your knife after use? There are moments that it would seem uncalled for to clean and sanitize a knife.

Suppose you are the kind of people who aren’t sure when to clean and sanitize their knives; you are at the right place.

We got you covered. We will tell you exactly when must a knife be cleaned and sanitized and how? Keep reading and I promise it will be quick reading for you!

Scenarios When You Must Clean & Sanitize Your Knife

when must a knife be cleaned and sanitized

Firstly, you should clean and sanitize your knife before starting to use it. This is especially so if multiple people use the knife in a household.

You don’t know what the other user was using the knife for and whether they cleaned and sanitized it adequately before leaving.

Secondly, you need to clean and sanitize your knife whenever you are using it to cut different foods.

For instance, if you have meat and fish and are cutting all of them with the same knife, you have to clean and sanitize the blade after cutting.

In that way, you will avoid any pathogens from the meat getting to the fish and vice versa. The same applies as you add more and more foods that you might be preparing.

Most people usually have multiple knives for this, though.

Finally, you should always clean and sanitize your knife after using it.  That will make it easier for the next person using the knife, but it will also ensure any microorganisms don’t build up on the knife.

But how do you go about cleaning and sanitizing a knife?

How to Clean and Sanitize a Knife?

This is relatively straightforward since it’s a basic house chore that most people learned when younger. If you don’t know, then don’t worry, as we have the steps you’d take to do that here.

The type of water you use will depend on what you were using the knife for. If you were doing something like scaling fish, then using warm water will help.

Otherwise, cold water can do just fine.

  1. Soap a sponge using liquid soap and warm or cold water.
  2. Lay it flat on a countertop, then repeatedly rub the blade of the knife by the handle. Holding flat on the countertop will protect you from any accidental cuts since washing a knife can be dangerous.

After rubbing one side of the knife’s blade, switch to the other side and repeat the process. While doing this, also ensure you wash the part where the blade joins the handle.

A lot of dirt tends to hide at the joint of the blade and the handle. If the knife has stubborn food remains, use the harder side of the sponge to eliminate them.

  1. Now rinse the knife with running water. If you are using water in a basin or the sink, ensure it is plenty of water to get rid of all the soap.
  2. Use a paper towel or even a microfiber cloth to dry the knife. Ensure you dry the blade of the knife well to prevent rust. A knife with rust could contain so many pathogens that could risk your health.

While most knives have blades resistant to rust, you can’t know whether your knife is resistant to rust by just looking at it. That is why you need to dry it well before storing it.

Now, watch this video to learn the proper way of cleaning your knife.

 Sanitizing a Knife: What You Should Know

After washing to sanitize your knife thoroughly, you can use either alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Although cleaning the knife with hot water can kill most microbes, a foolproof way is to use the two chemicals.

Alcohol is a handy sanitizer and is used to sanitize various objects, from thermometers to surfaces.

Sanitizing with alcohol will require you to submerge the knife in the alcohol solution for some time, say, twenty minutes. After dipping it for that time, remove the knife, dry it with a towel then store it.

You can also use Herat to sterilize the knife after washing. By heating, you can either use direct fire on put the knife inside an oven.

This is sure to destroy any microbes n the knife. You will, however, have to ensure your knife doesn’t have a plastic or flammable handle.

Another option for sanitizing a knife is to boil it in water. This is a popular way of cleaning utensils that might have too much grease.

It might seem over the top, but it is also another foolproof way to ensure your knife is as clean as possible.

Things To Consider While Washing And Sanitizing Your Knife

cleaning a kitchen knife

You need to inspect the knife and see whether it has a delicate blade shape. Some knives tend to have curved or contoured blades or handles that might form a place for bacteria to deposit themselves.

Give special attention to such knives and repeatedly scrub them with the washing sponge to remove any bacteria hiding in the knife’s ridges. Sharpening any serrated knives is a classic example here.

While a dishwasher might be a more efficient way to clean and sanitize knives, not all knives are dishwasher safe. Before washing, you need to know whether your knife is dishwasher safe to clean it satisfactorily.

How Often Should You Clean And Sanitize A Knife?

The answer to this is simple: as many times as possible. You to keep all utensils and not just knives clean all the time. As soon as you use them, clean them and store them in a clean place.

Cleanliness is the first step in protecting yourself from pathogens. Therefore, there is no limit to how often you should sanitize your knife, whether after using it or not.

Too much cleanliness never killed anyone.

Importance of Cleaning and Sanitizing Knives

Should we be talking about this? The importance of keeping knives clean is obvious. You want to be as safe as possible from any foodborne diseases.

That is one of the main reasons you need your knives and all the other utensils as clean a possible.

Another reason. It feels good to have clean utensils, including the knife. You have the peace of mind that you aren’t transferring any pathogens to your food with a dirty knife.

Finally, you must have heard of the adage, “cleanliness is next to godliness.”

How to Use a Knife Safely?

using knife safely

Keeping a knife clean and sanitized is just one step to ensure the safe usage of knives. Not just for cutting vegetables, we use knives to fillet fishes too. So, what are the other steps in all such other activities?

  • Use the Correct Knife for Each Task

Using the wrong knife could not only blunt it fast, but it could also be dangerous for you. There are knives for cutting different foods. For instance, a knife that cuts meat might not be that ideal for fruits.

Using the knife for the correct task also extends to you using the knife only for cutting food. Don’t use the knife for any other task if you want to keep the knife in good shape.

  • Have Designated Store for Knives

Are you the type of person to throw in the knives with the other utensils? It is common for some people to have knives in the same drawer with spoons and other cutlery. This is dangerous and could cut someone.

Have a designated storage place for all your knives to encourage the perfect knife routine in your kitchen. You will also be able to enjoy some organization in your kitchen.

That will save you time whenever you are looking for a utensil to use.

  • Avoid Using a Blunt Knife

Ever used a blunt knife? How hard was it to use? We bet your cutting experience wasn’t that pleasant. It would be best if you had a sharp knife to make your work easier and more enjoyable.

Blunt knives take the joy out of preparing food, especially when cutting ingredients.

That is why you need to sharpen your knife whenever you feel it has become blunt. A sharpener should come in handy here. There are also stones you could use to sharpen knives. They aren’t that expensive.

  • Use the Ideal Cutting Techniques

With the wrong cutting technique, things can turn dangerous for you real fast. There are various techniques to cut most types of foods. Ingredients, for instance, are best cut with a chopping board.

Techniques also involve how you hold the knife. You have to hold in a way that will ensure you have smooth cutting g motions.

The ideal cut should be one smooth motion through the food you are cutting. However, that’s only possible if your knife is sharp.

If you follow the above guidelines, you won’t have to worry about getting too many knife accidents.

There are, however, the odd moments where you will cut yourself, especially if your knife is razor-sharp. Such instances will be less if you use your knife safely.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should a knife be cleaned and sanitized?

You should clean and sanitize the knife before and after you use it. That you can ensure you are using clean equipments to prepare foods for your family. Without doing so, you are having the risk of contaminated food for everybody!

Can you clean a knife with fire?

Yes, it will kill the germs but cleaning your knife with fire is not recommended because it can ruin your knives.

Can water dull a knife?

No, unless you put it under water for several days. Also, hot water for cleaning purpose won’t harm the knives unless the water is superheated like 1000 F.

Does putting a knife in the dishwasher make it dull?

It putting knife in the dishwasher will make it dull and potentially ruin it because of the detergent and banging. The banging from wash cycle will take the sharp edge of the knife off. So, never put your knife in the dishwasher.

How do you sanitize a knife at home?

Always use warm and soapy water to clean your knife. Mix 1 tablespoon of household bleach with 1 quart of water. Submerge your knife in that water. Next, remove your knife from the water and let it air dry.

Final Thoughts

Are you still wondering when must a knife be cleaned and sanitized? We hope we have answered your question.

A clean knife is one less chance for bacteria and other microbes to gain an avenue into your home. Therefore, ensure you keep your knife clean.

All the best.

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