Kitchen knives are useful tools when it’s time to cut, slice and dice, but they can be dangerous if they are not being used properly. To prevent injuries, it’s important to know how to hold, how to use, how to clean, and how to store a knife properly.
These knife safety tips in the kitchen will help you stay safe while you work:
1. Keep your knives sharp
One of the most important knife safety tips is that you should never use a dull knife to cut ingredients. If you work with a dull knife, you need to apply more force on it, and you can easily lose control.
Be sure to keep your knives sharp and safe by regularly sharpening their edge. A sharp blade will not slip when you use it to cut something, and it will allow you to remain in control. Get professional knife sharpening done on a regular basis.
2. Don’t hand a knife to someone else
When you need to hand scissors to someone, it’s recommended to wrap your hand around the closed blades so the other person can safely grab the handles. Obviously, it would not be safe to do this with a kitchen knife.
The safest way to hand a knife to someone is probably to simply not hand it to them. Instead, you can lay the knife down on their work surface, and let them pick it up.
3. Never try to catch a falling knife
If ever you drop a knife, don’t try to catch it. Let it fall on the floor. It might get damaged, but at least you will not injure your hands by trying to grab it before it lands.
4. Always use your knives on a stable surface
You should always use your knives on a stable surface, ideally a cutting board made from wood, bamboo, or plastic. A glass or marble cutting board could dull the blade of your knife, and an unstable cutting surface could lead to an injury.
Whenever you cut fruits and vegetables, you should first slice them in two so they have a flat surface, which will allow for a stable cutting position.
5. Always choose the right knife for the task at hand
You probably have knives of all shapes and sizes in your kitchen, and it’s important to know which one to use for each of your cutting tasks.
The size of your knife should always be proportional to the size of the food you are cutting. For example, you shouldn’t use the same size of knife for slicing a cucumber and for slicing a watermelon.
The edge of the blade is also important to consider. A serrated knife is ideal for slicing bread or for cutting foods that have a tender core, while a Granton knife is perfect for cutting cheese, salmon, or sushis.
6. Learn how to properly use a knife
On top of choosing the right blade, you need to know how to properly hold and use a knife. You should always have a secure grip on the knife’s handle, and you can use your index and your thumb to grasp the sides of the blade, near the handle. This will help you have better control of your knife.
As for your other hand, you should use it to hold the food you are cutting, but be sure to keep it in a claw position, and out of the way of the blade.
Next, smoothly bring the blade of your knife down, and through the food you are cutting.
7. Take your time while you are cutting
You should never cut something in a rush, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience working with a knife. Take your time, and pay attention to what you are doing.
If something is distracting you, put your knife down, and deal with the distraction before you go back to cutting.
Not fully paying attention to what you are doing can be dangerous when you have a sharp knife in your hand.
8. Keep your knives clean
A clean knife is easier to handle than a dirty one, and it’s also necessary to avoid cross contamination. But throwing your dirty knives in a dishwasher is not really a good idea.
It’s best to wash them by hand, with the blade facing away from you. And don’t leave them in a sink full of soapy water, as you could cut your fingers while trying to reach for them.
9. Store your knives properly
Finally, storing your knives properly is important to prevent accidents. Keep them in a knife block, on a magnetic board, in a tray, in sheats, or in a dedicated drawer.
Don’t store them in a drawer with other utensils, as this could eventually dull their blades. And as we have already mentioned, dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives.