Hand-Washing Knives: Do I Really Have To Do That?

There are certain labor-intensive recipe phrases that can make the most diligent cook roll her eyes. "Do I really have to do that?" we wonder. Every week, we will track down the answer to that question. Why? Because as much as we love cooking, we're kind of lazy. Leave your Do I Really Have To Do That? questions in the comments and they shall be answered, saving us all a lot of needless trouble.

This week's question comes from Snow, a reader lucky enough to have a fully-loaded kitchen: “Why can't I put my good knives in the dishwasher?" We turned to Kemp Minifie, Senior Editor at Epicurious.com for the answer.

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"As tempting as it is to stick your knives in an automatic dishwasher—particularly if you've been using them to cut up raw poultry, for instance—don't do it," she cautions. "Even if the manufacturer's instructions said the knives were dishwasher safe, it's not a good idea." Why? "Once you close that dishwasher door and turn it on, you can't see the action going on inside, but knives can easily get knocked around against other cutlery or flatware, pots and pans, or even the dishwasher racks, resulting in nicked blades," she explains. It's not only the blade that gets rough treatment. Over time, a dishwasher will cause a wood handle to fade and eventually crack. Cosmetic damage, true, but still a bummer if you shelled out big time for a nice chef's knife.

Related: Instantly improve your knife skills

What's a cook to do? Embrace the old-fashioned method, also what known as a nightly chore in tiny apartment kitchens everywhere: wash it by hand.

"Hand-washing a knife is fast, much faster than a dishwasher. Just wipe it down, going from spine to tip with a sudsy sponge and rinse under hot water. Don't forget to wash off the handle, too. Then dry it immediately and put it in a knife block, a protective sleeve or edge guard, or attach it to a magnetic wall mount," advises Kemp.

Final verdict: Yes, you really have to do that. If you want to protect your investment and the integrity of your knives, hand-washing is a must.

Tweet your lazy cook questions to us @YahooShine #doireallyhavetodothat or leave them in the comments



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