It’s no secret that most of us get lazy when it comes to caring for kitchenware. In my household, I try my best to instill in my family members the virtues of skipping the dishwasher when it comes to plates and utensils, but, unfortunately the lure of taking advantage of modern conveniences always ends up winning!

Nevertheless, there is one battle that I never allow myself to lose when it comes to this topic, and it has to do with knives. Anyone who has ever bought a nice one knows that the suckers are expensive! That’s why I do my best to maintain mine for as long as possible, especially considering a well-made one should, theoretically, last for years with proper sharpening.

Now, I’m hoping that your family isn’t as brazen about their apathy toward properly preserving your favorite culinary tools as mine is, but if they are, be sure to tell them to cool it when it comes to putting knives in the dishwasher.

Not only will the blade dull prematurely due to harsh detergents and prolonged exposure to heat, it can also end up getting nicked by other utensils in the washing process.

Which leads us to the most important point of our cautionary tale—air drying. I’ll admit that, from time to time, I’ll stick my knives in the drying rack after hand washing. Of course, I’m not necessarily proud of it, and I’ve heard that it’s not great for them, but I only just recently learned just how wasteful this lazy action can end up being.

It turns out that washing a knife and allowing it to air dry does two things:

  1. The knife will rust much faster

    Even stainless steel knives are not immune from this aggravating truth. All tap water differs, and your variety may be full of salt and minerals that can break down the steel coating.

    Leaving the water to sit and pool, especially in the teeth of the knife, may allow for rusting to occur. That’s why it’s important to wipe the excess water thoroughly after washing.

  2. The knife will be more susceptible to damage

    Think about it, if you place your prized blade in a drying rack that is packed with other utensils, then you’re just waiting for an accident to happen. Similar to the “dishwasher rule,” it’s important to remember that, though knives are technically dangerous, they are much more delicate than they look.

    Storing them, even for a short periods of time, with other items can increase the chance of ending up with a blade that is littered with nicks and cuts.

Adding just a few seconds to your dishwashing routine can save you some serious dough, so teach your loved ones to show some respect for those utensils!

To learn more ways on how to best care for your treasured cooking tools, be sure to read Tasting Table’s article here. Treat those knives right, and they will last you years to come!

What kitchenware missteps are you guilty of making? How do you maintain your knives? What is your favorite go-to knife when cooking up a signature dish? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!