When Must a Knife Be Cleaned And Sanitized For Food Safety? 3 Things I Tried Personally

Cleaning your knives regularly is important as a part of the maintenance and every tool requires it for the best outcome.

Knives are one of the most important tools in the kitchen and a high-quality knife is expensive and needs proper care, handling, oiling, and storage so that it endures for years.

There is nothing worse than trying to cut vegetables and prepare a meal with a blunt knife. The little good news is with proper care and maintenance it can work perfectly.

The steel loses its sharpness if it’s not properly cleaned over time and also if you neglect to clean your bales the germs in the knife badly can contaminate the food.

Germs can be easily spread through a kitchen knife, and this may cause food poisoning if not cleaned properly.

Most peoples own a set of knives in the kitchen and are aware of the maintenance part. So I have decided to a complete guide on when must a knife be cleaned and sanitized.

Follow this proper guide to understand all cleaning processes and how the microorganism present in the blades can be harmful to your health.

Most of the bacteria and germs are harmless but are easily transferred to your skin and find their way to your mouth, and nose, and this can increase the risk of illness.

As you know most food poisoning happens because of contaminated food during food preparations.

If you are working your blades regularly, it’s important to clean them properly. Also, contact with water can be harmful to carbon steel knives as they might suffer from rusting.

Make sure you read the complete guide on how to clean a knife and follow step by step so that you don’t miss any.

Note: If you have a swiss army knife and looking for a cleaning guide you can check out my latest guide on how to clean a swiss army knife.

Why Should You Clean and Sanitize Your Knives?

As knives are one of the most important tools for preparing food and survival, if not cleaned properly and sanitized they can be very harmful and easily spread the infection.

A dirty knife can carry possibly carry contamination and if this happens the blade and the handle become adored by various microorganisms and when you touch the food it gets attached to it.

Almost all bacteria and viruses get killed, possibly because of the cooking food temperature.

However, there is always a potential risk that you might harm some if it’s not cooked properly.

Even though there are no microorganisms, you can accidentally expose to an antigen in the food. This can serve the person directly to the hospitals.

When Must a Knife Be Cleaned And Sanitized? 

As I have said earlier that there is no particular answer to when should you sanitize your knife because the answer varies from user to user and depends upon various other factors.

It’s always important to sanitize and clean the blades of your knife, and you know a few types of blades require more cleaning.

It also depends on which type of job you are particularly using the knife, and you must accordingly.

So, these are a few cases in which you have to clean and sanitize your blades.

#1. Cutting Raw Meat

Raw meat can easily transmit infection through the blades if the blades are not cleaned properly.

After you cut raw meat on your cutting board, it’s important to clean up your cutting board and blade immediately.

Cleaning and sanitizing your cutting board and blades are important to stop the spread of infections in your kitchen.

No matter which type of blade you are using you have to clean your cutting board with Hydrogen Peroxide and bleach your blades.

#2. Cutting Varieties Of Food

Most of them use a single knife for cutting different types of food and such type of blade should take properly attention for cleaning and sanitization.

If you are cutting raw meat with your knife, then you just wash it and start cutting other items like fruits and vegetables. You are also using the same cutting board and the same blade.

So cross-contamination could, and it’s very dangerous to use the same blade for multipurpose.

Hence, it is always highly recommended to sanitize your cutting board and blade properly.

#3. Scaling Fish 

The second scenario is when you are cleaning the fish or filleting the fish. If you don’t clean your blades properly after cleaning the fish there might lead to cross-contamination.

It’s fine to cut with your blades once the filleting process is completed, but you should properly clean your blades.

#4. Many Peoples Cutting With The Same Knife 

If many peoples are cutting with the same knife, then this is a serious matter, and it needs proper cleaning and sanitization.

If many peoples are using the same blade for cutting various food, then it’s a serious matter, and it needs to be stopped and properly sanitized.

If many users are using the same blade for cutting various food, it’s really important to sanitize the handles and blade before further use.

This can prevent contamination and if it’s not done, it can also lead to serious health issues.

How to Clean and Sanitize a Knife?

Kitchen hygiene is an important skill and everyone must learn it. Knowing how clean and maintain kitchen equipment is necessary to keep your family and guest safe from food-borne illnesses.

As most of us wash our knives in just flow plain water but this, is not the right way of cleaning a blade and you must know the right way.

In fact, the process of cleaning a blade is very simple but most of them are aware of it. It’s important to clean the blade to clean the microorganisms and pathogens.

Also, the air is not completely safe, and the air is packed with unsafe pollution it can act as a breeding space for various microorganisms in the blade if it’s just open.

One of the best ways of cleaning a knife after cutting raw meat or cutting other vegetables is to clean it with hand-soapy water and soak it in a solution of 1 quarter and use 1 table of household bleach.

It’s always recommended to handwash the battles because a dishwasher is always unsafe to use for a knife.

Once the blades are soaked you can start cleaning the blade with a knife brush and rinse them under warm tap water and wipe it up with a clean and dry cloth.

To remove the bacteria and pathogens make sure you clean the blades and the handles with hot water. This helps the bacteria and other microorganisms.

The hot water can simultaneously clean and sanitize your blades. Also, you must avoid using strong washing soap or chemicals as this can damage the blade and create white spots in the blade.

Once the cleaning process is complete make sure you don’t see any food debris and unwanted deposit on the blade or even the handles.

Now use a clean microfiber cloth or a paper towel to dry the knife. Ensure that the blade is properly dried to prevent the blade from rusting. Here are a couple of ways to protect the blades from rusting.

While most of the blades are made from stainless and are rust-resistant. Usually, high-carbon steel suffers from corrosion more than that stainless.

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.

You can also watch this video for a complete guide.

How Frequently Should You Clean Your Knives?

The answer to this question mostly depends on how often you are using your blade. If you are someone who cuts meat on a regular basis then you have to clean and sanitize your blades regularly.

Also, it depends on which type of food you cut. As Raw meat can spread more infections than vegetables, so it’s always recommended to clean the blades once you complete cutting.

Because cross-contamination is dangerous, I always run my blades under hot water for a few seconds and wipe them with a clean cloth whenever I cut protein foods with my knife.

Things To Consider While Washing

While washing the blades you have to see whether the blades have a delicate shape.

If the blade is curved around the corners or has contoured blades and handles, then there might be some bacteria deposited in the corners so you have to clean it properly.

Give special attention to such types of knives and scrub them properly with a sponge so that the detergent reaches the corners and removes the bacteria.

But make sure you put your blades in a dishwasher if you are not sure if our blade is not dishwasher safe.

Can’t I Just Use Soapy Water? 

Well, if you just want to clean your knife and not sanitize it, then it’s just ok to use soapy water.

If you want to kill the leftover bacteria on the blade, then just soap water won’t help.

According to the US National, Sanitation Foundation to sanitize any surface of the utensil or the blade you have to wash it at a high temperature of at least 190°F (88°C).

Suppose you are just using dish soap and running water, there is less chance of disinfecting the blade.

Either you have to boil your water to 100 degrees or the best alternative is to use a bleach solution.

Importance of Cleaning and Sanitizing Knives

It’s always important to clean and sanitize the blades to keep yourself hygienic and safe from food-borne diseases.

Nobody wants to suffer from food poisoning and in most cases food poisoning happens because of a lack of hygiene.

This is one of the main reasons you should clean your knife and other kitchen utensils, and keep them clean as much as possible.

Another reason is it feels good and hygienic to have a clean knife, including the utensil. You are making sure that you aren’t cross-contaminating your food with a dirty blade.

Can I Use My Dishwasher To Clean a Knife?

You can clean your blades in a dishwasher but usually, it’s not recommended to wash the blades in a dishwasher because this might damage the blades in the long run.

Experts say that you should always handwash your knife and knives are not made to be washed in a dishwasher because the heat and humidity inside the dishwasher can damage the blades.

Usually, the high temperature and moisture content inside the dishwasher seriously damages the steel and the wooden handles.

This is true that if your blades are made from high-carbon steel and if you have wooden knife handles, it’s never recommended to put them in a dishwasher.

Excess water inside the dishwasher can develop rust in the blades, and also the food from the other kitchen elements can permanently stain the knife.

If you consider all these problems, you can understand why a dishwasher is not safe for your blades in the long run.

Wrap Up On When Must a Knife Be Cleaned And Sanitized

There are more ways of cleaning and sanitizing a knife. However, this is one of the most common ways of all, and most of them can afford to use detergent or dishwasher soap.

Out of both methods, the best way to sanitize and clean is by using dilute bleach, and also it is one of the most effective ways of cleaning.

It can effectively clean and sanitize your blade and you don’t have to worry about it. You can clean your blades regularly for more effective results.

I hope the guide on when must a knife be cleaned and sanitized would have helped you in finding the right way of sanitizing a knife blade.

If you have any tips of your own. Let me know in the comment section below.

FAQ: How To Sterilize a Knife

So, these are some of the few FAQs that people mostly ask about how to disinfect a knife and want to know more about. You can read this section to clear all your doubts about cleaning and sanitizing knife.

1. Is it a bad idea to clean a knife with alcohol?

t usually depends on which type of blade you are using. Using Alcohol is great for removing various microorganisms unless you are owning a high-quality knife.
Most kitchen knives are made from low-carbon stainless, and they are not much more durable. Using alcohol in the long term can damage your blades around the edges. But if you are thinking of cleaning rust with alcohol, then it’s not a great way it’s not usually recommended.

2. Do I need to wipe / Clean my knife after sharpening or honing?

Yes, you have to clean your blades properly after sharpening because the process involves grinding the steel, and it leaves the steel particles on the surface of the blade. So you have to clean it and remove all the small steel particles from the surface of the blade.

3. Can water dull a knife?

Water cannot dull your blades unless you place the blade in the water for several days. Also, using warm water won’t harm the knife unless you superheat it.

4. What is the best way to clean a home kitchen knife?

One of the best ways to clean a kitchen knife is to clean it with soapy water as I have explained above. Put some dishwashing liquid or detergent on the bale and the handles. Now put some dishwasher liquid into a bowl of water and fully soak and wash the knife. Now you can wipe your blades properly hand on a magnetic rack and you can put in a knife block.

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