When must a knife be cleaned and sanitized?

Author: Kevin Gallagher

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When must a knife be cleaned and sanitized? While it is typically recommended that knives be cleaned and sanitized after each use, there are certain instances when this may not be necessary. For example, if the knife was used to cut raw meat, it should be cleaned and sanitized as soon as possible after use.

Additionally, if a knife has been washed in dish soap and water and then dried, it does not need to be sanitized again unless it is going to be used to cut food that will come in contact with dirt or other contaminants. A knife used to cut vegetables or fruits can be safely sanitized without fear of cross-contamination due to dirt. Any knife not stainless steel, ceramic, or glass is also safe to sanitize without pre-treatment.

How to Clean a Knife?

When must a knife be cleaned and sanitized?
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After use, it’s vital to cleanse your chef’s knife appropriately and also other energy-reducing blades in your kitchen. Comply with these blade maintenance steps for your stainless steel, carbon steel, or ceramic knives:

1. Hold: Hold the knife’s handle with one hand in a pinch grasp using your index finger and thumb.

2. Scrub: With your other hand, carefully scrub away any food fragments as well as gunk on the knife blade using a sponge with food soap and clean water. Tidy up the blade’s spine to the edge to stay clear of cutting on your own. You can lay the blade on the kitchen countertop and also scrub one side of the blade at once or hold the blade against the sink while cleansing.

3. Saturate: If there are any types of stubborn, stuck-on discolorations, allow the knife to soak in warm, soapy water for a couple of minutes before scrubbing once again. You can use an old toothbrush or a cotton swab to remove particles.

4. Rinse: Rinse off the knife with soap and also running water.

5. Dry: Dry the blade extensively with a clean towel or paper towel to prevent oxidation prior to placing the knife away. Air drying can cause the blade to dull and corrosion.

6. Oil: If you are taking care of a kitchen blade made out of carbon steel, oil the blade with mineral oil to secure it from corrosion after cleaning it.

5 Tips for Cleaning Knives

Consider these tips when cleaning up knives:

1. Clean knives by hand. The dishwasher will plain the knife and can cause rusting. The dishwasher can also break your knife’s handle, particularly if the knife has a wood handle.

2. Clean your knives promptly. Prevent leaving your filthy blades in the sink after use, which can create rust. Clean them instantly after usage.

3. Eliminate rust by cooking soft drinks. To clean rust from a knife, you can make a sodium bicarbonate paste using a cooking soft drink and water. Cover the blade with the paste; after that, set it aside for an hour. Rub the paste off. Also, you can soak the rusty blade with the white vinegar for 5 minutes.

4. Make use of a sponge. Avoid highly unpleasant materials such as steel wool to scrub your knives. These products can harm the look and function of the knife.

5. Correctly store your knives. It would be best to put the knife right after cleaning up in a specialized blade drawer, a kitchen counter block, or magnetic strips in your cooking area.

Why should you clean a knife regularly?

Why should you clean a knife regularly?
Picture by Valeria Boltneva

1. Food poisoning

The very first factor is noticeable. Certain types of food include harmful infections and also microorganisms which, if taken in, can make you sick. E-coli, as well as salmonella, are just a couple of examples. The biggest threats are raw meats such as hen and steaks, plus raw fish.

Vegetables and fruit bring their very own risks considering that they may have pesticides on their surface areas. Reducing fruit or veggies without washing them might transfer these unwanted chemicals to the knives.

If you fail to remember to cleanse the knife and also in some areas, unsafe microorganisms, as well as chemicals, could spread around your cooking area. Then, it’s just an issue of time before a member of the family or colleague falls ill. Then, to keep your knives clean, it will be best to secure them from awful diseases, and the objective is to keep your knives as clean as possible.

2. Cross-contamination

In the evening, your kitchen knife may reduce ingredients for numerous various dishes. As we mentioned, meats, as well as fish, can consist of damaging bacteria. When you prepare these active ingredients, heating it will eliminate the bacteria.

Although, stopping working from cleansing the knife after it is used for meat or fish could spread that germs to other active ingredients. If you slice bread or sliced vegetables with an infected knife, there is some risk of gastrointestinal disorder. This is because you do not typically prepare these components, so bacteria will certainly still exist when you eat them.

With those things, it is not unsafe to cut meat with a knife. That is the same as cutting bread. Yet, as a chef, you should be very mindful of the active ingredients you prepare as well as in which order. Regular cleaning is the only surefire means to stay clear of cross-contamination.

3. Allergies

Someone in your family may have a food allergic reaction. Or, you might need to prepare a dish for clients with food intolerances. If your knife has touched milk or cheese, there is no risk of food poisoning if the active ingredients are fresh. But a lactose intolerant person will have a great experience if they consume those dairy products.

Some allergies can be serious, though such emergency situations can easily be stopped by cleaning your knives. If someone in your family/restaurant has an allergic reaction, it is reasonable to clean your knives before you start cooking for them. Then you can be certain that their dish is devoid of allergens.

4. Much better flavors

This is not a matter of life and death, but also, for the very best eating experience, you don’t want to blend certain tastes. After chopping fruit, it is flawlessly risk-free to reduce cake or sandwiches without washing the knife. But, the fruit tastes might ruin the taste of your cake.

Even when there is no risk of spreading out viruses and also bacteria, cleaning your knife will certainly stop unwanted flavors from blending into your food. As a result, regularly cleaning your knife to maintain also makes your food preference much better too.

When is it important to clean and sanitize your knives?

Picture by Huy Phan

1. Reducing raw meat

Raw meat is a very risky food to prepare. Uncooked hen or steak may contain dangerous germs that might spread around your cooking area if you are not careful. As we already clarified, forgetting to cleanse a kitchen knife frequently can contaminate active ingredients with raw meat juices. In this scenario, gastrointestinal disorder is an actual threat.

No matter how you plan to use the knife next, after cutting uncooked meat, the important and critical action is to clean the knife. Actually, the knife is only one part of the cleansing. Unless you wear gloves, you must definitely clean your hands after managing raw meat.

Moreover, your cutting boards also will be covered in microorganisms, so they need detailed cleaning too. Refraining from this will cross-contaminate various other products that touch the board.

2. Cutting and scaling fish

Raw fish poses similar risks to raw meat and must be treated with the exact same care proses. Before cooking, microorganisms from the fish are a carcinogen if mistakenly consumed. When dealing with the fish, be careful of touching other surface areas in your kitchen. Also, monitor the knife you use to cut or scale the fish. If you forget, you could use it to cut various or other active ingredients and contaminate them with viruses.

Once more, the most effective technique is to cleanse not just the knife but also your hands and the chopping board after preparing the fish. This removes the contamination of bacteria and allows you to use your tools quickly for various other tasks.

3. When sharing knives

The knife is not the only place where microorganisms can hide. If unwashed, it will certainly gather a lot of microbes on the knife. While preparing food at home, family members can share the same knife with little danger as long as every person has their hands clean.

If you operate in a professional kitchen area, there is a larger contamination threat from sharing knives. Cooks might touch various surface areas in the kitchen or dining establishment that are maybe dirty or messy. If they pick up a knife and start cutting with it, they can spread bacteria to foods they prepare in addition to their hands. No longer after that, several individuals will be spreading out microorganisms all over.

This highlights the significance of routine hand-washing in a kitchen area. It additionally reveals why you should wash a knife (and also, particularly the handle) after another person has used it.

4. After cutting yourself

If you experience an injury while using a knife, your concern is to look for emergency treatment or clinical attention. While obtaining therapy, your friends should sanitize the knife and also any surfaces covered with your blood. Any individual blood could be at risk of having bloodborne diseases such as liver disease as well as HIV.

As soon as the blood has actually touched a knife or cutting board, you may need to sanitize the appliances after cleaning them as an additional safety measure.

5. After sharpening

Developing a knife fine-tunes the angle by removing tiny metal fragments. Obviously, you do not want small pieces of steel in your meals. If you forget to cleanse a knife after sharpening it, you might unconsciously transfer metal pieces to your ingredients.

The consequence is that the metal can destroy the taste of your food. A more troubling effect of consuming metal is metal poisoning, which can make you sick. For this reason, a raw hen is not the only point you need to look at. Always be sure to wipe and rinse the knife after the sharpening procedure.

How is sanitization different from simple cleaning?

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As you’ve seen, standard cleaning needs no unique tools. The same is true of sanitization; all you require are three things.

The essential goal of both processes coincides. You want to eliminate all unsafe germs to ensure that your knife is risk-free to use again. The distinctions are not so well-defined, considering that some cleaning (with boiling water) is a form of sterilization.

One key difference is regularity. Basic cleaning is a necessary process for all kitchen areas and tools as well as is needed (ideally) after every usage. Sanitization is an extra step that you can require to counteract germs that remain on the knife. As we described, this might serve if the knife is contaminated with blood, yet it is typically not necessary.

How to store your knives?

Picture by Brandon Cormier

It’s insufficient to cleanse your knife– you need to maintain them from being messy. They spend a very long time in storage, so they will only stay clean if their storage is germ and bacteria-free. There are many great knife storage space options, with some even more hygienic than others. Convenience apart, you should take into consideration which storage is most sanitary.

1. More hygienic options

Magnetic knife rack: A knife shelf is a very awesome as well as important means to keep knives in a kitchen clean. It looks fantastic, saves space, and also is really convenient. What’s more, the magnetic strip is easy to clean so that you can keep hygienic problems for your knives.

Knife sheath: Knife sheaths shield the knife on individual knives. This suggests you can place them in a cabinet or cupboard without damaging the sides. When not in use, knife sheaths will prevent it from much dirt– if they do, it is basic to cleanse them.

Blade roll: This is a wonderful option for chefs who want to travel with knives. The roll can be washed periodically for optimal hygiene.

2. Less hygienic alternatives

Knife block: These permit you to comfortably get a knife from one location on your kitchen counter. Sadly, the slots are very hard to clean. Dust can accumulate inside the block over time and will pollute your knife.

Knife cabinet tray: Similar to the knife block, a knife tray is a compact and also safe means to store your knives. While not as tough to clean, slim slots can collect dirt and dust. Therefore, it might not be one of the most sanitary locations to place your knife.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cleaning and sanitizing your knives after each use is important. This will help to prevent the spread of bacteria and keep your knives in good condition. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by your knife manufacturer to ensure that your knives are properly cleaned and sanitized.

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