Clean knives are an essential ingredient in all safe and efficient kitchens. Clean knives reduce the chance of costly injuries and prevent the unnecessary spread of germs and bacteria. Having a knife service means you’ll have sharp knives all the time, so it’s very important to have a process for safe knife cleaning. Establish a routine for keeping knives clean by asking yourself three simple questions: 1) Who in the kitchen is responsible for washing knives?, 2) How soon after use are knives washed?, and 3) Where are knives stored after washing?
Injuries can occur when cleaning knives, so it’s important to decide who in the kitchen will be responsible for cleaning them. Train staff and require them to wash knives by hand, immediately after use. Inform staff that your kitchen has a knife sharpening and rental service, which means the knives are sharp. When knives are left unwashed after use or cleaned by inexperienced or uninformed staff, the likelihood of knife-related injuries, increases. Sanitizers and other washing detergents can be used to aid in killing bacteria on knives, but keep in mind that it is important to wipe all residue from blades. If left on blades, this residue can cause steel blades to oxidize or rust. Don’t leave knives to soak in sanitizer, chlorine, or other chemical cleaning detergents since rust spots will develop and can actually eat holes all the way through the blade!
Avoid cleaning the service knives with a dishwasher. Dishwashing detergents can corrode the edge and blade of a knife. High pressure wash cycles may cause knife blades to collide with other blades or objects, damaging edges. Dishwashing machines are especially damaging to wooden handled knives--the high temperatures cause the handles to expand and contract and the finish on the handle can wear more quickly.
If your operation requires washing knives with a dishwasher, it’s best to dry knife blades and handles shortly after the wash cycle; this will help avoid the corrosion that is caused when concentrated detergents dry on the steel. At PostKnife, we understand that knives may end up in dishwashers, which is why we use all poly handled knives in our commercial subscriptions. The wood handled knives that we provide for our At-Home subscribers are best washed by hand, but if once in a while they end up in the dishwasher on accident, it won’t destroy them. In addition, having the knife exchange service occur on a regular basis will help combat the negative impact that the dishwasher can have to the edge.
It’s important to store knives properly when not in use. A designated storage rack or drawer helps you keep track of knives and reduces accidents that occur when knives are stored improperly. When Knife Day rolls around and it’s time do your knife exchange, it’s much easier to perform the exchange if knives are properly stored. Don’t forget to clean your knife racks, magnets, and drawers! In even the best knife cleaning routines, some knives get missed and are put away dirty. Therefore, regular cleaning of knife racks and drawers is critical to preventing the spread of germs and bacteria.