Why Should Knives Not Go In Dishwasher

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience often takes precedence over the care and maintenance of our kitchen tools. One common practice that raises concerns among culinary enthusiasts and professionals alike is the habit of tossing knives into the dishwasher. While it might seem like a time-saving solution, there are several compelling reasons why knives should not go in the dishwasher. In this article, we will delve into these reasons, exploring the potential risks, and providing insights into how you can better care for your knives.

The Importance of Knife Maintenance

Before delving into why dishwashers and knives don’t mix, let’s understand the significance of proper knife maintenance. A well-maintained knife not only performs better but also lasts longer. This is crucial for both home cooks and professional chefs who rely on their knives for precision and efficiency in the kitchen.

The Heat Factor

Dishwashers use hot water and high temperatures to clean dishes effectively. However, this extreme heat can have adverse effects on your knives. Most knives are made of metal, and exposing them to high heat can cause the metal to expand and contract, leading to warping or even structural damage over time.

Harsh Detergents and Abrasives

Dishwashing detergents are formulated to tackle tough food residues and stains. While they are great for plates and glasses, they can be harsh on knife blades. The chemicals in these detergents can strip away the protective layers on the blade’s surface, leaving them susceptible to corrosion and rust.

Blade Dullness

One of the primary purposes of a knife is to have a sharp edge that cuts effortlessly. Dishwasher cycles subject knives to a lot of jostling and movement, causing them to collide with other utensils. This can result in the blade becoming dull over time, requiring more frequent sharpening.

Potential for Nicks and Chips

Knives are often made with precision and care, but the harsh environment of a dishwasher can lead to nicks and chips in the blade. When knives come into contact with other kitchen utensils or even the dishwasher’s interior, they can sustain damage that affects their performance.

Wooden Handles and Dishwashers

Many high-quality knives feature wooden handles, which can be especially vulnerable in a dishwasher. The prolonged exposure to water and heat can cause the wood to swell, crack, or warp, compromising the knife’s integrity and aesthetics.

Rust and Corrosion

Knives are susceptible to rust and corrosion, especially if they are not dried thoroughly after a dishwasher cycle. The combination of moisture and metal can lead to unsightly stains and, in severe cases, compromise the knife’s functionality.

Safety Concerns

Beyond the potential damage to your knives, there are safety concerns associated with placing them in the dishwasher. Knives may not always stay securely in their designated slots or baskets, which can lead to accidental cuts when unloading the dishwasher.

Proper Knife Care

Now that we’ve discussed the reasons why knives should not go in the dishwasher, let’s explore how to care for your knives properly.


The most effective way to clean knives is to wash them by hand. Use warm, soapy water, and a soft sponge or cloth to gently clean the blade and handle. Rinse thoroughly and dry immediately to prevent any moisture-related issues.


Invest in a knife block, magnetic strip, or blade guards to safely store your knives. Proper storage ensures that your knives won’t come into contact with other utensils, preventing damage.

Regular Sharpening

Maintain the sharpness of your knives by regularly honing and sharpening them. A honing steel or sharpening stone can help keep your knives in top-notch condition.


In conclusion, while the dishwasher may seem like a convenient way to clean your kitchen tools, it’s not the right choice for your knives. The heat, harsh detergents, and potential for damage outweigh any time saved. By handwashing, proper storage, and regular maintenance, you can ensure your knives remain sharp, safe, and ready for any culinary challenge.


1. Can I put stainless steel knives in the dishwasher?

Stainless steel knives are not immune to the adverse effects of dishwashers. It’s best to handwash them to maintain their quality.

2. How often should I sharpen my knives?

The frequency of sharpening depends on your knife’s usage, but a good rule of thumb is to hone them regularly and sharpen when they start to feel dull.

3. Are there any detergents safe for knives in the dishwasher?

While some detergents claim to be gentle on utensils, it’s still advisable to handwash your knives to ensure their longevity.

4. Can I use wooden-handled knives in the dishwasher if I remove the handles?

Even without the handles, the dishwasher’s heat and detergents can still harm the blades. It’s best to handwash knives with wooden handles.

5. Are there any exceptions to the “no dishwasher” rule for knives?

High-quality dishwasher-safe knives with specific care instructions may be an exception, but it’s still safer to handwash to preserve their longevity.

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