How to Clean a Knife Block ProperlyGreg
A knife block helps you organize your knives neatly, save space on your work top, and provide a classy look to your kitchen. It is safe, convenient, and easily accessible.
When you have all your knives in one place, you can organize them in a way that enables you to pick the one that suits your needs as they arise.
However, the benefits of using a knife block can be undermined by certain features that knife blocks seem to develop from consistent exposure to knives and their resident evils.
All knife blocks become susceptible to hygienic and food regulatory shortcomings after consistent usage. They become dirty and unsanitary because of their very design and may expose you to germs and diseases.
Bacteria and mold spawn within the knife slots and below the block, if left unattended for extended periods. These spaces are dark and relatively undisturbed, and the two vices thrive in a warm and humid environment.
The situation is further accelerated by food crumbs getting lodged inside the knife slots in the process of storing the knives. Eventually, the knife block becomes one of the places you need to avoid to protect your knives from further contamination.
A moldy knife block also subjects your knives to rust and other forms of corrosion, which will reduce their life span. Therefore, cleaning the knife block is a critical task that should not be overlooked in our kitchen routines.
That being said, you need to do it right for the formula to be effective. This article breaks down cleaning a knife block by highlighting every step.
What You Need
You will have to assemble the mini toolbox below for the execution of this task:
- A blow dryer
- A Chenille pipe cleaner or baby bottle brush
- Dishwashing Soap
- A small brush
- Liquid chlorine bleach
- Sandpaper (optional)
- Facemask (optional)
- Eyeglasses (optional)
- Warm water
Cleaning the Knife Block
You need to find alternative knife storage before commencing the process, as it takes a bit of time. The cleaning itself is simple and fast, but it needs time to dry up afterward.
Wherever you choose to place the knives, they should be dry and safe. Knives rust when exposed to moisture for prolonged periods which reduces their life expectancy. You don’t want them staying in the kitchen sink for too long and lumping all your knives in a rack is unsafe and inconvenient.
- Remove all the knives and tip the knife block upside down over the sink or trash can to allow any loose debris to dislodge. Take time to get all food crumbs you can get out while the block is still dry as they come out much easier than when it is wet.
- Turn your blow dryer to its cool setting and blow directly into the knife slots. This should blow out even more debris.
- Use your Chenille pipe cleaner to get into those unreachable corners and dislodge stuck particles.
- Wash the knife board using warm soapy water and a brush or mildly abrasive sponge. You can use your pipe cleaner or a small brush to scrub inside the slots; a baby bottle brush will do.
- Rinse it thoroughly to get rid of any dish soap residue and set it upside down to dry. Wipe it down using a damp cloth to aid in drying.
Sanitize the Block Using a Bleach Solution
This remedy for bacteria is backed by authoritative research. Chlorine bleach solutions are recommended by the United States Government’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sanitize kitchen surfaces in food safety.
Prepare a dilated bleaching solution in the ratio of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
Use this solution to wash the knife block; the outside can be scrubbed using your brush, and the inside of the slots using the pipe cleaner or baby bottle brush. Wipe it down again using a damp cloth and let it dry.
Let your knife block dry completely before putting the knives back in place. The recommended time for a wooden knife block is at least 12 hours or more if you sense it still harbors some dampness.
If the block is still wet when you put the knives away, the mold and bacteria will grow right back, rendering your efforts fruitless.
Sanding Your Knife Block
Occasionally the mold accumulation can be bad enough to warrant more stringent measures. You will be required to use sandpaper to get it off completely.
It is advisable to wear eye protection and a face mask to avoid breathing in the moldy particles or getting them in your eye when you are forced to resort to these measures.
To prevent repeated growth of bacteria and mold in the future, ensure to clean and dry your knives thoroughly every time before storing them on the knife block. You can check out our knife care expert guidelines on how to clean a knife for a comprehensive breakdown here.
Make cleaning of the block a routine; you can schedule it at least once monthly for your everyday block. Diarize the activity to make it easy to follow up.
Set up your knife block away from possible contact with water as much as you can. The kitchen worktop often has spillages, and you tend to wipe it with water. Ensure it is completely dry before you place your knife block on it.
Like all good things, you will eventually have to retire your knife block regardless of how well you took care of it.
Finding a replacement block that suits your knife set is not very easy. You can beat the system early when purchasing your knife set by choosing one that comes with a block.
This takes away the trouble of selecting a fitting board while saving a few coins in the process. If you consider such a move, check out J.A. Henckels International Statement Kitchen Knife Set with a Block. It is fairly priced for a whole rounded kitchen set.