A knife is an indispensable tool in the kitchen, and there are only a few things more annoying than one with a dull blade.
Not only does it not cut well and thus requires more wrist work from you, but it also places you at a higher risk of getting hurt.
Of course, there are many ways to sharpen a dull knife, but this should be specified according to its frequency of use and type and not an every other day routine resulting from practices we might not even be aware of.
So, what makes kitchen knives go dull so fast? Below are five things to know to ensure your knife stays sharp for the longest time before requiring resharpening.
1. Frequent Use
Frequent use is, perhaps, the most straightforward reason. The more you use a knife, no matter how appropriately or carefully, its sharp edge dulls faster.
A home cook will not be inclined to do blade sharpening every other week, but a professional chef may require it.
A busy restaurant kitchen, for example, may require knife sharpening biweekly or monthly, while a regular user may only need it once or twice a year.
2. Improper Storage
The proper storage of a knife blade is a broad topic since many storage methods and myths are ultimately damaging.
While sticking to the basics, the first storage mistake is leaving your knife to clatter around. Whether in the drawer or your utensil storage, doing this places it in the perfect position to acquire dents and nicks from the other tools.
A knife rack(wooden or magnetic) is a great choice to store your knives. Placing it alone in a location with little room for movement, like an in-drawer storage, is another good choice.
Wearing the knives’ fitting covers (blade protectors) before putting them in with other utensils also works.
A second storage mistake that makes your kitchen knife go dull so fast is keeping it wet. Depending on the material of your knife, this may hurt some more than others.
If there is no risk of rusting, placing it in a drying rack after washing is no big deal, but if otherwise, always dry off with a towel promptly.
3. Hitting and Scraping on Hard Surfaces
With hitting, glass and stone surfaces are usually the culprit. Hitting the blade on these surfaces blunts the edge quite quickly as the sharpness is ground down with each clink and clang.
To keep your knife blade sharp for longer, avoid using glass or stones like marble as material for things you use your knife on. Instead, opt for wooden or plastic options.
After chopping onions, there are always a few stray pieces. To bring this all together neatly, you scrape it together with the knife.
Sounds familiar? It is a common practice by many, including professionals, as seen in cooking shows. However, depending on how you do it, you may contribute to what makes kitchen knives go dull so fast.
Avoid scraping surfaces vertically with it to keep your blade edge sharper for longer. This either grinds down the harp edge or bends it depending on the blade strength, making it dull faster.
Instead, place the knife at a sharp angle, almost horizontal, to the board to slide. Better still, use the opposite end of the blade or a specified scraper.
4. Wrong Use
Misusing a knife contributes largely to what makes kitchen knives go dull so fast. While using a knife as a scraper might fall into this category, there are many other non-knife things we often use them for.
For example, using a knife as a box opener, a handy screwdriver, a quick fix can opener, etc.
These are not the intended purposes of a kitchen knife and only serve to kill the blade faster. Wrong use also implies using a bread knife for filleting or, worse, a raw meat cutter.
5. Leaving it in the Sink or Dishwasher
Adding to what makes kitchen knives go dull so fast is metal. Metal against the blade of a knife is not good news and sinks and dishwashers all have metal.
While it causes no harm by itself, there is a tendency for the knife to get tossed around in these locations. The tossing and turning causes it to bang, bump, scrape and clink everywhere, making the blade dull quicker.
To keep your knife sharp for longer, wash and rinse by hand, dry off and store correctly. As a bonus, it is safer to handle knives this way.
Can Dull Knives be Sharpened?
It is a common misconception that dull knives cannot be sharpened. In fact, most knives can be sharpened with the proper tools and techniques. However, it is important to note that not all knives are created equal.
For instance, Kershaw Knives are made from high-quality steel that is designed to retain its edge longer than other types of knives. As a result, Kershaw Knives will need to be sharpened less frequently than other brands.
It is important to identify the type of steel used to make the knife. This will determine the best way to sharpen it.
For example, carbon steel knives should be sharpened with a honing rod or diamond stone, while stainless steel knives can be sharpened with a honing rod, diamond stone, or ceramic stone.
Once the appropriate sharpening tool has been selected, it is time to start honing the blade. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid damaging the knife.
With a little patience and practice, even the dullest knife can be restored to its original sharpness.
It isn’t grand ideas that make knives dull so quickly; rather, it is a few everyday actions we can easily correct to extend the lifespan of our knives.
The top steps in the right direction are paying attention to its use, cleaning, and storage.