Can You Put your Knives in the Dishwasher?

is dishwasher bad for knives

For many, putting a knife into a dishwasher is like putting in any other utensil or dish.

It may be difficult to imagine a knife which is often made from stainless steel that can be damaged by the hot water in a dishwasher.

But the reality is that knives do not belong to a category that can be washed in a dishwasher at all.

You may not be pleased to know that hand-washing a knife is preferable, but that is the reality if you want to keep your knives sharp and useful for a long time.

The first thing to consider is not so much what the dishwasher does to your knives, but what your knives can do to the dishes, cups, and utensils that you stick into the dishwasher with it.

A loose knife can scrape, cut, and even break dishes along with the dishwasher itself.

You can even injure yourself if you place the blades face up and grab at them to remove the knife from the basket.

So, it is recommended that you do not put the knives in your dishwasher.

Why its Damaging to Put Knives in Dishwasher?

Of course, cleaning off a knife only takes a few seconds, but it’s certainly worth the effort when you consider what a dishwasher can do to your knives.

Here are a few things that often tend to make the highest damage and can prove bad for knives…

1- Heat & Humidity

The most important issue that affects knives in the dishwasher is the high heat and presence of water that can damage both the handle and the blade.

While ceramic dishes are unaffected because they can withstand high temperatures, knives are a different matter.

Blades made from carbon steel tend to rust unless the moisture is removed relatively quickly.

That is why you wipe off a knife after use to limit the rusting potential.

Another issue is the handle which if it is made of wood will rot when repeatedly exposed to hot water.

But that is only the beginning of the issues that knives face when putting into the dishwasher.

2- Soap

If it were just soap, perhaps it would not be an issue with most knives.

But many dishwasher soaps have ingredients that can dull or discolor the blade or handle over time.

This is particularly true if you let the knives sit in the dishwasher overnight.

The residue of the detergents used will affect the metal and handle causing the knife to seemingly age faster than it should.

3- Turbulence

It’s not just that knives are exposed to the heat, moisture, and soap, but also to the water being sprayed about inside the dishwasher.

The water jets are powerful enough to spray food and other debris into the knife which can dull the edge.

Plus, the knife itself may be knocked out of position and collide with other utensils or dishes that can also affect the sharpness of the blade.

Although ceramic blades can withstand the heat and have no metal inside them to rust, they are more delicate compared to metal blades.

This means that you might chip, crack, or even break a ceramic knife by placing it in your dishwasher.

Keep in mind that if you purchase a set of knives, they often come with instructions on how they should be cleaned.

This will guide you into the proper care for your knives to preserve them for as long as possible.

However, if you do not have such instruction, then you can use the following methods on most knives. 

Hand Washing Knives: Why it’s Most Preferred and How to Clean?

Now that you know the dangers of placing knives in the dishwasher, the next step is how do you clean them?

The answer is actually simple if you have the right tools and towels handy when you are cutting food.

Towel

Have a kitchen towel or two handy when you are preparing food.

Once you finish using a knife for cutting, wipe off the blade. It only takes a few seconds, but you remove the food particles and more importantly, the moisture from the blade and handle.

This allows the knife to air dry without being damaged.

However, while the knife has been wiped down, it has not been cleaned.

This is important to remember because one way to possibly spread food poisoning is by using the knife on uncooked meat that may have harmful bacteria inside, then use it on fruits or vegetables.

Use a different knife in that situation, one you reserve for fruits and vegetables and one you use on meats. That will minimize the spread of any food poisoning.

Plus, if you cook the meat thoroughly, it will destroy any harmful bacteria inside.

Most people do not cook fruits and vegetables, so be sure to keep them separated and use different knives.

Hot Water & Soap

When you are ready to clean your knives, put some hot water in the sink along with a little dishwashing soap.

The key is that the water is hot, not boiling. It is the boiling water in the dishwasher that can damage the handle and blade of the knife.

Hot water that is well below the boiling point creates far fewer issues.

Dip the knife into the hot water, wipe it with a clean towel, make sure you get all the debris off the knife, then run it under the faucet.

Once you have rinsed away any residue left from the soap, wipe the knife using a dry towel and let it sit with the blade and handle exposed.

The air drying will help ensure that both the blade and handle are protected.

The best time to clean your knives maybe when you are running your dishwasher.

Load up and start the dishwasher with the other utensils, cups, and dishes.

Then put the knives on the counter next to the sink and start washing.

Because of the flat blades and simple design, hand washing the knives is usually a short task.

If you store the knife in a rack, then it can keep for quite a long time between uses.

You may only have to wipe the dust off the blade before using it again.

Otherwise, a good knife can last a long time with proper care. Just remember to not put it in the dishwasher.