Proper Knife Care: Best Storage Options for Kitchen Knives

November 22, 2013  —  Written by Chris 

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Well now that we all know how to properly clean and sharpen a knife, the last and possibly most important is storage. The way you store your knives will have a major impact on how sharp they stay, and how long they last.

First, the bad. The worst thing you can do for your knives is put them all in a drawer, just kickin’ around with everything else you happen to be storing in there. I mean, not only is that dangerous (just try not to cut yourself every time you reach in there for something, yeesh), but it puts your blades through the ringer. Storing in a cluttered drawer can chip the blade and handle, and most definitely will make the knife dull.

In order to keep your knives sharp, store them in a way that stabilizes and separates them. The two best ways to do this are knife blocks and magnet strips.

By far the most popular way to store a knife is in a knife block. People usually just buy a set of knives, and they almost always come with a knife block. If buying an entire set of knives is your thing, then this is a great option. Just go with the block included with your set. But if you’re like me and you have never found a knife set you’re happy with (they’re always missing knives I want, and knives I don’t want are included), then a knife block isn’t as appealing. Most blocks are made with slots of a set width, and maybe your knives don’t fit those slots. That said, there are a few universal knife blocks you can use instead, and they’re pretty cool. Check it:

I actually had this knife block when I was in college. I bought my knife set through the school and it came in a bag, but it was annoying to whip the bag out every time I wanted to cook something. This block just has a bunch of thin plastic straws in it that allow you to put whatever knife you want in, without preset slots. While it worked pretty good, there are a couple things to be aware of with this block. If you have long knives – like 9 inches or longer – part of the blade might be sticking out of the top. This might not be a big deal, but for me there were a couple times I reach for a shorter knife and cut myself on my longer knives that had part of the blade hanging out. Also, the more knives you add, the tighter the straws get to one another, and it can get difficult to squeeze them in. You can remove some of the straws to fix this, so not a huge deal, just something to be aware of.

I love this knife block. There’s a magnet in the core of the wood that holds your knives in place, and it  looks sweet. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but if you’re looking for a block that will display your knives while still looking great itself, this is one to consider.

This one is probably my favorite out of the blocks. It has lots of slots that allow you lots of placement options, and the curve of the top is designed to cater to various blade shapes. This one is the most expensive, but if that wasn’t a factor, this is the one I’d get. Looks awesome and is functional. Love it.

Now, all that said, I actually prefer magnets. A magnetic knife strip provides great stability, and allows you to store your knives on a wall, saving counter space while keeping your knives within reach. You may remember my knife strip from our last kitchen and the issues we had. We bought one from Ikea, and it lost its strength after only a couple months. To the point my knives were sliding downward and falling to the ground, which defeats the purpose and is super dangerous. So we upgraded to this guy, and I LOVE it:

This magnet has kept its strength very well and looks pretty sweet, too. Unfortunately, when we moved into our new home, we no longer had space on the wall in the kitchen to hang the strip. The cabinets take up all the room. But I didn’t let that stop me from using it:

We plan on redoing the entire kitchen, and this particular island will be replaced with something that allows more than one drawer open at a time #luxury. But until that time, I simply mounted the magnet to the bottom of the drawer. It was a bit wide so I had to do it at an angle, but I think it actually worked to my benefit, as it accommodates the varying lengths of the blades. The strip holds all of the knives in place, keeping them from sliding around and bumping into everything else, and my knives are always conveniently within reach.

Well, that’s it for my knife care posts. As I mentioned at the beginning of this week, my hope is to inspire you to buy better knife ware for their kitchen, and help you feel confident that you can care for and maintain your knives. A high-quality knife makes your time in the kitchen so much more enjoyable, and with the proper care, that joy can last for years and years to come.

Note – While Wüsthof did send me some of their products, they did so without expectation and did not pay me to evangelize their name. Long before my relationship with Wüsthof I was buying their knives and I’ve been a long-time fan of their cutlery. The opinions I share about them are genuine, and they are just a great company that I talk about because they deliver the highest quality, consistently.

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What do you think?

  1. Monica Le says:

    Hi there. The link is going to earbuds on Amazon… do you have the link for the magnetic strip? :)

  2. Yvonne says:

    I love the wood blocks. Can you tell me where I can buy them?

  3. Aaron says:

    Here is the link to their FAQ where they answer that question

  4. Aaron says:

    I like to use a magnetic knofe board myself. The one I use is made by it is simple, elegant and does not damage my knifes

    • Chris says:

      Those are beautiful! I love when something is functional, and looks great. Do you know how long the magnets hold strong on these? I’ve seen some that lose their grip after a year or so, and the knives just slide off. It seems like it’s especially a problem with racks that are covered with something, like wood, like this one is. Would love to hear more about your experience with them!

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