You probably already noticed that after getting a new knife, using it, and running it in the dishwasher a few times for a wash, it suddenly loses its sharpness and, in some cases, has its handle dented.
Well, this isn’t an uncommon kitchen situation, nor is it meant to be. Although it isn’t always explicitly stated in a dishwasher manual, kitchen experts often disapprove of dishwashing knives.
In this article, we will be digging deep into the roots of the issue of blunt knives, especially after dishwashing them, and why. We’ll also give you the safest way to clean your knives.
Can You Put Knives in the Dishwasher?
No, you shouldn’t put your knives in the dishwasher. Based on garnered experiences of people, it has been seen that dishwashing could cause the knives to suddenly become blunt, and rusty, among other things.
Here are some common reasons why dishwashing knives ruin their quality:
4 Reasons Why Dishwashing Knives Will Ruin Them
1- Friction with Other Utensils
When running the knives, dishes, and other utensils in the dishwasher, they often get slightly rubbed with each other.
Although the friction the utensils have with each other during a wash is not a vigorous one, because of the frequency of its happening during every wash, the knife scratches the edges of the dishwasher and other utensils and dishes which leads to the blunt edges.
This is also one cause of dishes getting cracked.
2- The Use of Abrasive Detergents during Dishwashing
Whether we intentionally or unintentionally use abrasive detergents to get tough stains off our dishes and utensils especially when dishwashing them (which is not particularly a bad thing), it is important to know that the impact it has on our knives isn’t a great one.
They are better off not being washed in the dishwasher if abrasive detergents would be used on them.
The harshness of this cleaning agent and that when your knives are immersed in it, it unavoidably weakens the coating and dulls their sharp sides.
3- The Frequent Heat Exposure during a Wash
Another major reason why your knives lose their sharpness over time after going through the dishwasher is the level of heat and water pressure that occurs during the wash.
The heat produced in the dishwasher has been seen to be unsuitable for quite a number of utensils, knives inclusive. The frequent exposure to heat results in the dulling of knives and the appearance of rust rings on the utensil.
4- The Water Quality Used during a Wash
The type of water used in washing your knives matters whether you hand wash or dishwash them. The durability of your knives can be determined by the quality of water used in washing them and the amount of pressure the water produces.
The effects of hard water on the surface of your knife results in hard-on stains and damage to the quality of the blade.
5 Things That Dishwasher Does to Your Knives
1- Dulls the Blade
Your knives would be less effective and lose their sharp cutting power when constantly exposed to heat.
When you place your knife in the dishwasher, it goes through a heating cycle to have it all dried up, but what that heat-drying does to the blade is weaken the cutting capacity of the metal used and gradually make it blunt and unable to effortlessly slice, cut, and chop.
2- Corrodes the Blade
Using an abrasive detergent coupled with highly concentrated water and the heat temperature produced in the dishwasher compromises the strength of the knife.
When your knives have to go through some or all the factors stated, the layer of chromium oxide begins to peel off slowly, hence, removing its rust-resisting power.
You might then begin to ask yourself questions like “Other cutlery also have this chromium oxide layer and go through the dishwasher without any damage?”.
That’s right, however, the chromium oxide used in knives is not as much as in other cutlery, making them more able to withstand dishwashing.
3- Causes It to Damage Other Utensils and Dishes
A knife, especially a sharp one, has the tendency to grate on or scratch the surfaces of other utensils or dishes placed alongside it during a wash.
However, it is important to state that a knife can do both mild or major damage to cups, plates, and cutlery in the dishwasher.
4- Causes It to Damage the Inner Part of the Dishwasher
Deep piercing and scratches are frequent occurrences that our dishwashers might get to experience whenever we place knives in them for a wash.
Whenever the knives hit the inside of the dishwasher during a washing cycle, the pointy edges would most likely slash through the baskets or the plastic inner surface which can dent and cause serious or mild damage.
5- Damages the Handle
The handle of the knives stands a risk of getting melted, scratched, getting chipped, or completely falling off when placed in a dishwasher either due to it banging against dishes or it being immersed in moisture for a while (depending on the material the handle is made of).
Although this does not happen the very first day you place your knife in the dishwasher, over time, water would continue to flow into the handle and weaken it till it falls off or gets damaged.
Can I Put Stainless Steel Knives in the Dishwasher?
Yes, stainless steel knives can go into the dishwasher, nevertheless, you shouldn’t do it because like any other knife, is a potential risk to other utensils, dishes, the inner surface of the dishwasher, and even the operator.
But, when it comes down to the ability of a stainless steel blade or/and handle to withstand heat and moisture that can lead to corrosion, it has excellent resistance and would come out fine when passed through a dishwasher.
Can I Put Ceramic Knives in the Dishwasher?
No, you shouldn’t put your ceramic knives in the dishwasher.
It is true that ceramics are dishwasher-safe and are suitable to pass through the machine, but unlike their mugs and plate counterparts, ceramic knives are quite fragile, and the movement that happens due to the water pressure during a wash makes them more likely to get chipped or broken.
Can I Put Wood-Handled Knives in the Dishwasher?
Yes, you can put your wood-handle knives in the dishwasher. It is important to note that frequently passing this type of knife through the dishwasher would only soften the wood material and this might reduce its durability.
Accidentally Put Knife in Dishwasher! (What to Do?)
Here are 2 things to do whenever you accidentally put a knife in the dishwasher:
1- Get the Knife Out of the Dishwasher Immediately after the Washing Has Been Completed
Firstly, it is important to state that you should never leave your dishwasher to continue to run for a long time, nor should you leave the knife (or dishes and utensils) in the dishwasher after a wash.
So, immediately you realised that you mistakenly dropped a knife in the dishwasher and have pressed the power button, patiently wait till it finishes the washing round and then, remove it from the machine.
2- Use a Napkin to Towel Dry It
Never leave your knife to air-dry. When your knives have been exposed to moisture, the best way to prevent them from rusting is to have the water cleaned up immediately.
This is because when the knife is left alone, oxygen in the surrounding infiltrates into the water droplets on the blade of the knife, and this results in the formation of rust on the blade and handle of the knife.
How to Clean Knives (Safely)?
1- Mild dish soap
2- Soft sponge
STEP 1: Run warm water over the knife in order to wet it.
STEP 2: Apply a drop or two of dish soap to the blade of the knife and use a soft sponge to scrub through.
STEP 3: When you are done getting the stains off, rinse the knife thoroughly with the warm water.
STEP 4: Take your napkin and begin to dry the knife. Do well to ensure that every bit of moisture is cleaned out.
Placing Your Knives in a Dishwasher Knife Rack
The dishwasher knife rack is a little basket-like rack that is separate from the main basket that holds the plates and cups which is designed to exclusively hold the knives together during a wash.
So, this time, you do not have to worry about the knife being rubbed with other utensils and dishes because this dishwasher knife rack holds the knife and cutlery firmly together during a wash.
It is often said that knives are not dishwasher-safe because they tend to get blunt, rusty, and damaged easily while in the dishwasher. Are those just mere opinions or facts?
In this article, we explored and explained all there is to know about placing your knives in the dishwasher, what to do when you put your knives in the dishwasher, and how to clean your knives.