I am obsessed with how to store my kitchen knives properly. In fact, I go a little more nuts than I should when helpful guests or my otherwise all-star babysitter have shoved my good knives into a drawer with the butter knives, or plopped them into the dishwasher, which…eek! Hopefully you’re not doing that, right?
A good kitchen knife is a cook’s best tool, and knowing how to store knives properly can ensure that those expensive knives stay sharp and slice with ease. It also helps keep them safe since a dull knife can be dangerous and more prone to slippage. The last thing you want is five Dora Band-Aids wrapped around your favorite thumb, let alone a trip to the ER for stitches.
So I’ve put together some terrific ways to store your kitchen knives, and some basic do’s and don’ts to make sure you keep your investment in tip-top shape.
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Top: Reclaimed Knife Grabber from Food52
Related: 5 must-have kitchen tools under $15
How to care for your knives:
Safe handling and prep for storage
1. Do not put knives in the dishwasher or you will damage the blades. Dishwasher detergents can be harsh and the force of the water will cause a knife to bump around, dulling its sharp edge.
2. Do not leave knives overnight in a wet sink. Sinks are wet, slippery, and where rust can easily form easily which, yep, will damage the blade. One trick is what I do: wash your knives first when doing the dishes which isn’t just better for the blades, it keeps you from accidentally hurting yourself if you reach into a murky sink of water.
3. Never scrape food on the cutting board with the sharp edge of your knife, which is another way to damage the blade. (Broken record, I know.) If you pick into any professional kitchen, you’ll see cooks flipping their blade so they can slide chopped veggies or meats with the spine, or dull side of the knife.
4. Do not leave a knife close to the counter edge where little hands can reach it. We know this is parenting 101, but I remind myself of this almost everyday. And other caregivers who use your kitchen may need the reminder too.
5. Do not let your knives roam free in a drawer. If you want to store knives in a drawer, be sure to use a specific in-drawer knife tray. We’ve even got recommendations below!
How to store kitchen knives: Magnetic strips
There are a few good arguments for using a magnetic knife strip to store knives: It saves counter and drawer space, it keeps knives within arm’s reach (if situated properly), and frankly, it looks pretty cool too.
The key is to properly use your magnetic knife strip: When you return a knife to the strip, make sure that the sharp edge doesn’t bang into the wood or metal, which can dull the blade over time. Also make sure that you do a little research to ensure the strip is strong enough and anchored in well enough to hold all of your knives.
Handmade in Philadelphia from husband and wife duo Peg and Awl, the Reclaimed Knife Grabber at Food52 ($100; above & lead photo) is as gorgeous as it is functional. Made from reclaimed walnut, this would make a beautiful gift for the cook in your life. Who might also be yourself!
The magnetic strength and ample size of the Modern Innovations 16-onch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar at Amazon allows you to hang more than just knives, which can be super convenient. I love the idea of using one to organize craft tools or even kids’ toys. And at a price tag of $18.95, you can afford to own more than one.
How to store kitchen knives: In-drawer trays
If you’re wondering how to best store your knives in a drawer to save on counter space, or to keep away from younger kids, just be sure to outfit your drawer with a suitable, dedicated knife tray. Keeping knives loose in a drawer is not only dangerous (hello, curious little hands), but it can also dull the blades over time when the knives scrape up against the drawer sides or other utensils.
Designed to fit in standard kitchen drawers, I love this handsome Fuboo Bamboo In-drawer Knife Block at Amazon ($17.90) which can fit an impressive number of small or large knives. Just be sure to check the dimensions to make sure it’s right for your own collection.
Best storage options for kitchen knifes | Chris Loves Julia
This creative display for storing kitchen knives works beautifully thanks to the MIU France Stainless Steel Knife Bar ($24.95) found at Chris Loves Julia. What a fascinating way to combine a magnetic bar and a drawer to create a dedicated organizer. Mounted at an angle, it can fit different sized knives so that they are tucked away nicely in the drawer. Probably not ideal for those of us short on kitchen storage, gasping at the extra space left in the drawer, but if you can afford the room it’s very clever.
How to store kitchen knives: Knife blocks
I still think that the classic knife block is the best option for families looking for how to store knives of all sizes. Why? Well, because some kids are crazy and they pull chairs over to counters to reach for shiny displays of magnetized knives; or they just reach into drawers to find what treasures may be lurking within.
Every parent knows his or her own kids best, but for those families with little ones who are still struggling in the self-preservation department, the classic knife block is the way to go. I would just recommend you buy one with horizontal slots, and not the traditional diagonal slats, for the best protection of your blade.
I’ve seen this Wusthof 13-Slot Knife Block at Williams-Sonoma recommended on numerous food blogs, and for good reason. It’s sleek, but with enough warmth and texture from the wood that it looks great in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. Currently the sale price is $199, which is pretty high admittedly. But this classic will last for decades, never go out of style, and remember, it’s protecting an investment that’s probably worth far more.
Fitting up to ten knives, the Magnetic Wood Knife Block I found at Food52 combines the elegance of a cool knife block with the magnetic function I like. This beauty is made of maple or acacia, and at $120 it also carries a substantial price tag — but just think of all the different ways you could display it!
Don’t sorry, a knife block doesn’t have to cost as much as your priciest knives! The slim Bodum Bistro Knife Block is just $36 at Amazon, and a great choice if you have only a few select knives that you regularly use. Tiny rods fit nearly any sized knife or kitchen shears, and the minimalist design is less bulky than most and perfect for modern kitchens.