It's very important to care for your knives, so firstly, here are some general principles to consider:
- Keep it clean - Juices in food can eat away at metal
- Keep it dry - Liquid of any type can cause corrosion to metal
- Don't scratch it - The blade on you knife will have a strong outer surface which can be scratched. This can penetrate the protective exterior and increase the risk of corrosion
- Keep it sharp - The sharper it is the less force you have to use, and the less danger you put your knife in
- Be gentle - If you bang if on anything you could chip or bend the blade
- Keep it safe - is your knife safe when stored or does it bang and rub on other items e.g. in a drawer?
- Know your steel - Stainless steel is resistant to rust and corrosion, but still needs care. Carbon steels are more susceptible to rust and care is very important.
So what can we do on a daily basis to care for our knives? Well, lets look at it in 3 areas:
- Make sure your knife is sharp so you don't have to use as much force, which minimises the chances of chipping or damaging the blade (or yourself)
- Clean juices off it quickly, don't leave it covered in juices on a chopping board for hours
- Don't leave it wet, wipe it dry on a towel or cloth
- Use a sharpening rod regularly to retain sharpness (perhaps each time you get you knife out to use)
- Don't use your knife to chop through harder items, especially bones etc, unless that's what you knife is made for
- Be gentle with it
- Clean it with warm water and dry immediately
- Ensure it is dry before storing it
- DON'T use a scowrer or similar as they will scratch the surface, use a soft cloth
- Keep it safe, don't store it in a drawer where is can bang in to other things
- Use a Saya (sheath) if you are worried about it banging on other things, or store in a knife rack or on a magnetic wall mount
- Make sure it's close to room temperature, and not in a damp environment, as keeping dry and warm is best
- Oil it when not in use to give the surfaces extra protection
- Use a rust eraser if imperfections occur and use oil to seal
On top of all of these, to ensure it's sharpness use a stone as required to keep your knife sharp, using a rod regularly is great, but stones should also be used for that higher quality job.