How to Care for Steak Knives?

For as long as people have had family gatherings at the dinner table and enjoyed outdoor barbecues, they have also had to learn how to take care of steak knives.

Mostly dedicated to cutting meat, but also great for sandwiches, cheeses, and vegetables, steak knives must be cleaned properly and kept sharp to enjoy safe and healthy meals.

To enjoy your investment for years, take some simple steps to achieve the best care of your steak knives.

Overview of Best Way to Maintain Steak Knives

Rule-1: Getting Ready to Use Your Steak Knives
Rule-2: Always Use An Appropriate Cutting Board
Rule-3: Do Not Abuse Your Steak Knives
Rule-4: Clean and Wash the Steak Knives Wisely
Rule-5: Storage Guidelines for Your Steak Knives
Rule-6: Sharpen Your Steak Knives When It Is Necessary
Rule-7: Prevent Rusting with These Tips
Rule-8: Special Care for Different Types of Steak Knives

Rule-1: Getting Ready to Use Your Steak Knives

Before ever cutting into your piece of meat, wash your knife and ensure the blade is sharp! Pay close attention to any cleaning instructions that come with your steak knives.

Most only require water and soap to prevent the metal from corroding and getting rusty. You may also run your new set through the dishwasher quickly before use. Just check to make sure all the knives have dried properly afterward to avoid discoloration.

When you sharpen your knife, there is a special balance between sharpening your knife too little and too much. You want to make sure the steel has not created any serrated edges over time that were not there when you purchased the knife.

Serrated edges may still be sharpened just like any other knife. A honing tool may be used to balance your knife. This is an important part of keeping your knife worthy of cutting. You may be honing your knife more frequently than you sharpen it.

Rule-2: Always Use An Appropriate Cutting Board

The blade edge of steak knives is usually very sharp because they are made in such a way that the soft and juicy steak can be cut neatly without any shredding or reducing the taste.

If you cut or slice any other food items like vegetables, meat, and fruits on glass, granite, metal, or ceramic plate with these sharp knives, it will definitely become dull very fast.

So when cutting anything you must use a wooden or plastic cutting board to protect its super sharp edge.

Rule-3: Do Not Abuse Your Steak Knives

Abuse of your steak knife will inevitably reduce the lifespan of your precious knives. Proper use of your steak knife is key to keeping you, your food, and your knives safe. So It is important to know the proper use of your steak knife.

Steak knives are extremely sharp and made for precious cuts, but you do not want to use steak knives to cut through bone.

Ideally, your meat can be cut with a fork, so your knife only needs a delicate touch. Never hack at your meat on the counter like you are using an ice pick.

Many people use these knives to cut vegetables or fruits which is not wise at all. It is good to use different types of knives for different tasks which you will get in a standard kitchen knife set.

Some knives have a blade that only connects to the handle and can snap off. Knowing if your knife has a blade fixed into the handle or not will also keep you safe.

Safely using your knives will help keep you and them in your kitchen for a lifetime.

Rule-4: Clean and Wash the Steak Knives Wisely

To get the best use out of your steak knife, you will want to keep it clean. Before and after each use, wash your steak knife very well.

Washing your knives by hand is the best bet. With just warm water and a little soap, you can use a sponge to wipe away the mess. Soaking your knife for a few minutes in warm water is also helpful.

Be careful scrubbing any serrated edges. You may wash most steak knives in the dishwasher if you are pressed on time but be careful and read any instructions that came with your knife.

Baking soda or fine sandpaper is a useful way to scrub the rust off your knife before washing.

Some serrated-edged blades may require more than one cycle to get the grime off. Straight edge, or non-serrated, blades will be a little easier to clean in the dishwasher.

Rule-5: Storage Guidelines for Your Steak Knives

Proper storage is also necessary for the safety of your household and knives. You may want to use a wooden block on your countertop, a magnetic knife strip on the wall, or even individually wrapped in the drawer.

You mostly see chefs having their knives wrapped in their travel cases after cleaning them each night. Tossing your steak knives freely into a drawer is a dangerous habit for you, your fingers, and your knives! When stored properly, your knives will be in a cool, dry place away from other utensils.

Rule-6: Sharpen Your Steak Knives When It Is Necessary

You can always hire a professional to sharpen your knives or do it yourself successfully at home.

Knives are created from “plates” of metal, so over time, the plates will dull where they meet at the edge. You want this edge to stay sharp so you can make perfect cuts.

Sharpening your knife at a 17 to 22-degree angle is most typical for sharpening kitchen knives, but you may lower the angle for a finer edge.

Whetstones are a fantastic way to sharpen your knife. It is just a rectangular block you slide your knife across, over and over, like sandpaper.

Serrated and Non-serrated edges may both require sharpening! You want to always be cutting with a sharp blade to minimize mistakes made.

Serrated edges do not need to be sharpened as often. Sharpening your knife mostly depends on how much you use it. Some may be sharpened twice a year. Others twice a month. Again, make sure your straight-edge blade is not creating little teeth as your serrated blades have.

Sharpening tools vary in price, but it is very possible to find an affordable one, as low as thirty dollars, perfect for most of your knives.

Many stores will advise you on which sharpener is the best for your type of knife. You may want to try an electric sharpener or a handheld one and see what you like best.

After sharpening your knives, carefully wash, wipe, and store them safely in a dry place.

Rule-7: Prevent Rusting with These Tips

Rust is a natural process on metals. When your steak knives react with moisture from water or the air, the metal will oxidize, and rust will occur.

Some knives will even start to corrode from dishwasher detergent. You will want to put them on the top rack and spaced out enough to be well washed. Always make sure your knives are completely dried before storing them to prevent rust!

Depending on the metal of your knives, you may use oil on them. There are special food-grade mineral oils you may rub on the blade after washing and drying to prevent the metal from corroding in the air’s moisture. This is highly debated among chefs so only oil your knife with caution.

Rule-8: Special Care for Different Types of Steak Knives

You may use different types of steak knives made in different countries which may be made from different types of steel.

You may also choose between a serrated or non-serrated (straight-edge) blade for your knives to see what suits your style best.

Because of all these variations, you have to make some changes in the maintenance method of your knives and if you do not maintain them properly then the damage will be greater than good.

With careful handling and proper care, Japanese, United States, German, Damascus steel, carbon steel, and even knives made in China will stay workhorse year after year.

(I) Care for Carbon Steel Steak Knives

Carbon steel steak knives are an excellent choice for any chef or home cook. Being able to create a sharper edge than stainless steel, it is a worthwhile investment but still calls for maintenance. There are a few tips to remember when caring for carbon steel steak knives.

A natural discoloration called patina will occur on the steel. This is your knife oxidizing from the air or the blade meeting acidic foods and wanting to protect itself from rust.

A black or grey color is good. Rust colors like red or orange are a bad sign. This is a strong indicator you need to clean, dry, or store your knives differently.

While cutting with carbon steel, you will also want to wipe your blade frequently with a dishtowel or cloth. Acidic foods, like lemons, are harmful to the metal, so wiping in between cuts will help keep the blade from rusting.

Carbon steel only requires a little soap and water to wash well. Hand dry after with a towel and store safely on a magnetic strip.

These knives also require less sharpening, but you may still need to get a honing rod to balance your blade and keep cutting smoothly.

(II) Care for Damascus Steak Knives

The most beautiful knives, made from Damascus steel, are usually hard metal plates under soft metal for protection. Also, the most expensive and sharp knife on the market is a knife made of Damascus steel.

It is very important to take care of these knives regularly and properly. Hand washes the knives with lukewarm water quickly after each use and wipe with a towel or tissue quickly after washing. Never wash in a dishwasher or let air dry or soak in water or soap.

Damascus knife sharpening requires good skills, so I recommend you contact a professional sharpener when you need to sharpen your precious knives.

(III) Care for Japanese Steak Knives

These knives are usually very expensive and sensitive so they need special care. Japanese knives are known to hold a sharp edge because of the hard metal, but they are prone to chipping for this same reason.

Do not cut frozen foods, nutshells, or bones with them, after cutting acidic ingredients immediately wash off the knives, never clean them in a dishwasher, and use only premium quality water stones for sharpening.

(IV) Care for Non-Serrated Steak Knives

Currently, the most popular and widely used steak knife in the United States is the plain edge or non-serrated type.

Since they are used to cutting almost all types of cooking utilities, their sharpness decreases rapidly. The only problem with using these knives is that they need to be sharpened regularly.

However, they are easier to use or care about than any other steak knife. For their care and maintenance, the general methods mentioned above are enough.

(V) Care for Serrated Steak Knives

Think of a serrated edge like a saw with little teeth. Serrated edge knives are extremely common but do require a little more maintenance since food can stick to the grooves.

Those grooves are also why, technically, less of the blade actually comes in contact with anything harmful or dulling. These types of knives tend to last longer than non-serrated ones, which need more frequent sharpening.

It is best to use a sharpening rod to sharpen the serrated edge. For sharpening very fast and very sharp, I would recommend using a ceramic sharpening rod rather than steel.

(VI) Care for German Made Steak Knives

These knives are of good quality and can be easily maintained. Also, most German steel steak knives are dishwashers safe, but that doesn’t mean you always have to wash the knives in dishwashers.

German knives are a little softer, use good quality whetstone (# 1000 – # 6000 gritstone) to sharpen these knives.

(VII) Care for Stainless Steel Steak Knives

Stainless steel is the most common metal to create blades and you probably have a set of stainless steel in your kitchen right now.

Stainless steel steak knives are easy to maintain but a little harder to sharpen. It will be better if you sharpen your knives with high-quality diamond-based sharpeners. There should also be a finishing surface of ceramic abrasive or hard stone.

(VIII) Care for Dishwasher Safe Steak Knives

Dishwasher-safe steak knives are usually made of high-quality stainless steel which makes them less prone to rust. As a result, they need very less maintenance.

However, in most cases, people use them with the misconception; most of us think that these knives are dishwasher safe, so they can always be cleaned with a dishwasher or sink in the water.

In fact, that is not the case at all. No matter how good the alloy is, almost every steel can be rusted; so it is best not to clean these knives in the dishwasher without special requirements.


Every chef and at-home cook needs at least one steak knife. A well-stocked kitchen will have at least three different-sized knives. Great for cutting meats, veggies, and almost any snack, these knives have become more common in every household.

Properly caring for your knives should help keep them in your kitchen for an exceptionally long time.

The metals used in steak knives vary from stainless steel to carbon steel and more, but most are easy to wash and care for!

Remember to keep your blades sharp with tools like the whetstone, to avoid any mistakes while cutting.

Ditch the bad habit of throwing them in a drawer and try finding a better storage solution.

If you opt to invest in a more expensive steak knife, pay special attention to any instructions that come with it. Some may need to be sharpened by a professional or do not require oil after cleaning.

Taking great care of your steak knives will help prove their longevity and prove you to be a knife master.

Leave a Comment