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Hand washing knives

 
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bob_shiltz



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:15 pm    Post subject: Hand washing knives Reply with quote

Over and over, I see warnings against cleaning knives in a dishwasher. It seems that for reasons involving heat, detergent properties, and "banging around", hand-washing only seems to be the method of choice.

What I'm wondering (and what searches here and on google have failed to answer) is how you hand-wash in such a way that you can be certain the knife is sterile.

If I'm cleaving through a chicken one night, I want to be sure there haven't been trace salmonella colonies growing on my blade. I've read that bleach and stainless steel are a bad combination. The only other methods I know of for sterilization are heat, radiation, and ethanol. Handles probably wouldn't take the heat very well, and I don't know of any consumer devices that use UV to sterilize. I haven't found much out about how ethanol interacts with metals.

So how do you sanitize your cutlery? Surely I'm missing something.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without an autoclave, it is not possible to sterilize your cooking or eating utensils. No one needs sterilized utensils. Quite frankly, I'd be more worried about picking up a serious pathogen from someone's fork or spoon that they ate with, than from a knife used in preparing the meal. Dirty hands and prep surfaces (like cutting boards and counter tops) are the bigger problem with food preparation. If you wash your utensils with warm to hot soap and water and get all the grease off, you will have done a good job sanitizing your utensils.

By definition, if there is NOTHING on the surface in question (totally, 100% clean) then there are no cultivatable life forms--it is sterile.

Ethanol will not harm stainless steel or plastic utensils used in cooking. I don't know about long term use on aluminum components.

Good soapy water will do the trick.
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EngineeringProfessor



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:45 am    Post subject: Re: Hand washing knives Reply with quote

bob_shiltz wrote:
Over and over, I see warnings against cleaning knives in a dishwasher. It seems that for reasons involving heat, detergent properties, and "banging around", hand-washing only seems to be the method of choice.


The way this reads, it seems like you are saying that DW heat may be bad for knives.

Well, the heat is not the issue unless you have wooden handles. But then, the hot water, agitation and caustic soap will eventually take their toll.

Get ceramic knives that are "one-piece" ceramic. Into the DW (just be careful on placement) and blast away!
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Guest






PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:36 am    Post subject: Re: Hand washing knives Reply with quote

EngineeringProfessor wrote:
bob_shiltz wrote:
Over and over, I see warnings against cleaning knives in a dishwasher. It seems that for reasons involving heat, detergent properties, and "banging around", hand-washing only seems to be the method of choice.


The way this reads, it seems like you are saying that DW heat may be bad for knives.

Well, the heat is not the issue unless you have wooden handles. But then, the hot water, agitation and caustic soap will eventually take their toll.

Get ceramic knives that are "one-piece" ceramic. Into the DW (just be careful on placement) and blast away!


Why not just take twenty seconds to soap, rinse, and dry the knife after use, therefore eliminating any potential damage to steel, edges, and handles. I use (almost) exclusively carbon blades and cleaning immediately after use was an easy habit to acquire. Or, use department store Forschners, Wusthoffs, etc. and abuse them. They're all made of variations of soft 440A SS anyway whose main attribute is that they are stuffed with chromium. Good thing - no rust. Bad thing - they don't hold an edge. Bottom line: give me carbon from 1095 on up or one of the expensive super steels.

Buzz
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand washing knives Reply with quote

EngineeringProfessor wrote:
bob_shiltz wrote:
Over and over, I see warnings against cleaning knives in a dishwasher. It seems that for reasons involving heat, detergent properties, and "banging around", hand-washing only seems to be the method of choice.


The way this reads, it seems like you are saying that DW heat may be bad for knives.

Well, the heat is not the issue unless you have wooden handles. But then, the hot water, agitation and caustic soap will eventually take their toll.

Get ceramic knives that are "one-piece" ceramic. Into the DW (just be careful on placement) and blast away!


Sure the heat is an issue. It just isn't readily visible like when you put cheap plastic on the lower rack. Those plastic handles will expand in the heat and contract when they cool. Over time, this will contort the plastic and it'll creep from the blade and rivits. That being said, new woostoffs, hankles, sabats are all easily replaceable, so who cares? Toss in to recycle bin every 5 to 10 years.

Biggles
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand washing knives Reply with quote

DrBiggles wrote:
Sure the heat is an issue. It just isn't readily visible like when you put cheap plastic on the lower rack. Those plastic handles will expand in the heat and contract when they cool. Over time, this will contort the plastic and it'll creep from the blade and rivits. That being said, new woostoffs, hankles, sabats are all easily replaceable, so who cares? Toss in to recycle bin every 5 to 10 years.

Biggles


Gee, your dislike for European knives isn't TOO apparent!!!!! Big smile

You can use the Wusthof, Shun and a couple of others that make knives with stainless steel handles in the dishwasher, so the handles will be safe. You'll just have to worry about the blades knocking around inside the dishwasher unless you have one of the newer Mieles or Kitchenaids that have a top shelf flatware/cutlery tray that holds each piece in its own slot.
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't be that concerned about sanitizing your knives. The infection potential of a washed knife seems trivial when compared to any kind of organic material.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand washing knives Reply with quote

GaryProtein wrote:
DrBiggles wrote:
Sure the heat is an issue. It just isn't readily visible like when you put cheap plastic on the lower rack. Those plastic handles will expand in the heat and contract when they cool. Over time, this will contort the plastic and it'll creep from the blade and rivits. That being said, new woostoffs, hankles, sabats are all easily replaceable, so who cares? Toss in to recycle bin every 5 to 10 years.

Biggles


Gee, your dislike for European knives isn't TOO apparent!!!!! Big smile

You can use the Wusthof, Shun and a couple of others that make knives with stainless steel handles in the dishwasher, so the handles will be safe. You'll just have to worry about the blades knocking around inside the dishwasher unless you have one of the newer Mieles or Kitchenaids that have a top shelf flatware/cutlery tray that holds each piece in its own slot.


Oops! Sorry about that, heh. I still ain't going to put anything I want to keep for a few lifetimes in the dishwasher. You can always tell the worn and shaggy look of someone that puts everything in that evil box. Sporks, slotted spoons, flippers, turners, cookin' forks, pans or pots, eatin' sticks, anything. It all looks goofed up after some time. I'm too fussy and wound too tight to look and use such items.

Biggles
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Cucina Pro



Joined: 22 Oct 2007
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a short video by Alton Brown (and he is the spokesperson for Shun, after all!) that suggests how to clean knives. I agree with everything he does except putting in on a drainer to dry. ANY knife should be dried and stored immediately after it is washed.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ea/text/0,1976,FOOD_9956_50120,00.html
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would guess that the reason for not drying the knife is because his cleaning method keeps hands away from the blade and there isn't a tool analagous to the brush he used for washing that can be used for drying. I like to dry my knives by holding a towel against the back of the knife and wiping from the handle to the tip (wide to narrow end) of the blade. That way the blade cannot cut into anything. Alternatively, a towel can be placed flat on the counter and the blade dried by wiping one side at a time.

I can't blame Alton Brown for teaching that technique. It has the lowest possibility of injury and legal ramifications. I'll also say, I have had two relatives (my mother-in-law and a cousin) require the use of the emergency room resulting from knife injuries while "helping" in the kitchen. My daughter, then about 5, has a very vivid memory of her grandmother going to the hospital because my in-laws were taking care of her while her mother and I were out of town and she had to go with them to the hospital. Most people are just not used to ten inch scalpels in the house.
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