Safety is of utmost importance when you work in a kitchen. You work safely when it comes to the sharp edges of a knife. But is it just these edges that may cause harm? At times, you may overlook a significant hazard of using knives.
It is hygiene that needs to be taken care of. Knife blades are in touch with different surfaces and foods, so it is vital to keep them clean to avoid any contamination or food poisoning.
The question arises when a knife must be sanitized or cleaned. The best way to keep them hygienic is to wash them after every use, especially if you have cut a fish or raw meat. You may use hot water to rinse the knife.
Sanitization is not always necessary. You can sterilize a knife once in a while to kill the bacteria. It can be done by placing the knife in a diluted bleach solution.
It is important to know when and how to clean the knife because our hands and the food we cut are full of bacteria that can be passed on while you use the knife. A clean knife will keep your family healthy and improve the taste of the food.
Why is cleaning a knife necessary?
Regular cleaning of the knife is important to avoid problems like contamination and food poisoning. Certain food contains bacteria and viruses that are harmful if consumed.
The biggest risk is when you cut raw meat or fish. Even fruits and vegetables may be risky as they may contain traces of pesticides. Cutting them without washing may transfer unwanted pesticides to the knife.
These may spread if you do not wash the knife after use. Cross-contamination is another risk of not washing or sanitizing the knife. You may cut different ingredients for your meals.
Cooking will kill the bacteria, but the knife blade that comes in touch with the bacteria could spread it to other ingredients. Thus, you need regular cleaning to avoid cross contamination.
Cleaning is also very important to avoid food allergies. For example, if you are lactose intolerant and the knife has touched cheese or milk, then it may lead to severe allergies when used to cut other ingredients without washing.
These allergic reactions can be prevented by cleaning your knives properly. Not just health hazards, but proper cleaning also enhances the food flavors. You would never want to mix certain flavors.
You will not like a fruity-flavored sandwich as it may spoil all the taste. Even if there is no health hazard, you would want to clean the knife blade to avoid mixing between dishes.
Here are some common times when a knife must be sanitized or cleaned.
1. Right after you buy a new knife
It is very important to clean a new knife. A lot of hands may have touched the knife blade during the entire manufacturing, packing, and selling process. The bacteria from the hands may have been transferred to the new knife.
The knife packaging can get bacteria home and make way to the food. So it is important to clean your new knife before you prepare food using the knife.
2. If you cut more than one food using the same knife
At times you use the same knife to cut different food items one after the other. For example, you may cut raw chicken and then use the knife immediately to cut a slice of bread.
This may result in cross-contamination, which may lead to severe food poisoning. It is important to clean and sanitize the knife blade before using it on a different food item.
Clean the knife after every use so that there are no food particles stuck in the blade. This will avoid the growth of bacteria and also help to keep the utensils contamination free.
3. When many people are using the same knife
If more than one person is using the knife to prepare food, then it may attract the growth of bacteria through hand-to-hand contact.
Multiple hands touching the knife blade may lead to spread of bacteria and viruses, so the knife needs to be washed before another person uses the same.
4. If the knife has been sharpened
You always prefer to use knives that have sharp edges. It makes preparing food easier and faster. You are able to slice and chop quickly if the edges are sharp. Sharpening also increases the knife blade’s lifespan.
But, it is essential to clean and sanitize the knife if it has been sharpened. Tiny pieces of dust or metal may remain on the knife blade when it is sharpened. This can potentially contaminate your food. Always wash or sanitize the knife to remove these unwanted materials.
Knife Sanitizing and Cleaning Tips
It is important to sanitize and clean your kitchen knives to ensure that you remain healthy and your knives remain one too. You may follow some simple cleaning techniques for your kitchen knives. Simply wash your knife using hot water and dish soap after use.
Use a soft sponge to clean the knife. Be careful while cleaning, and keep the blade away from the fingers. Clean it with a soft cloth or paper towel after wash. You must avoid putting them in the dishwasher.
To sanitize your knives, you may wash them with soap and hot water and later soak them in a solution of water and white vinegar for half an hour.
Rinse with water and let them dry completely before using them again. Storage is also a key factor that helps in your knife’s cleanliness. Do not overlook the knife storage blocks when cleaning the kitchen.
We often don’t talk about knife’s hygiene. It is a thing used in your day-to-day cooking. Cleaning and sanitizing your knives is essential to protect your household from unwanted illnesses.
Every cook must understand the importance of hygiene and keep their kitchen safe from cross contamination. Cleaning the knives after every use and sanitizing them once in a while will help you maintain kitchen hygiene.