SOME useful tips for cleaning and maintaining your knives

No matter what type of knives you have – stainless steel or carbon steel knives – you want them to cut well. Here’s how to take care of your knives so they perform.

Stainless steel knives always remain bright and shiny. The disadvantage is that when the blade of a stainless steel knife is damaged, it is impossible to sharpen it properly.

If you prefer a very sharp knife, choose carbon steel instead. The disadvantage is that it is difficult to keep its shine. However, both are easy to clean.

1. For cleaning carbon stainless steel knives

-Wash them immediately after use in a little dishwashing liquid and hot water with a cloth or sponge.

-Rinse with hot water and wipe with a dry cloth.

2. To remove stains from a carbon steel blade

-Try a salt and vinegar paste. Rub the blade with this paste with a cloth.

-Or, dip a slice of lemon in the salt and rub the blade with it.

-Some stains will leave with a nylon or steel wool scrubbing pad.

3. To make the blade shine

-Use a polishing agent for silver, or better yet, a metal polishing agent, available in some garages.

-To protect the knife blades, store them in a knife rack or drawer, but cover the blades with cardboard sleeves.

You can make a sheath by cutting a piece of cardboard (from a cereal box, for example), the length of the blade and twice as wide.

-Fold the cardboard in half lengthwise.

-Use adhesive tape to seal the side and one end. Insert the knife into the open end.

4. To clean a penknife

-Open all the blades – and for a knife similar to those of the Swiss army, open all the other elements too.

-Wash it in hot soapy water.

-Remove dirt from small cracks with an old toothbrush.

-Rinse with hot water, wipe with a clean cloth and leave the knife open until the slots dry completely.

-Periodically apply a layer of lubricant to the hinges with a drop of sewing machine oil, available in fabric shops.

5. To clean a hunting knife

-Use the same method as for a penknife.

-After using your knife, rinse it in a stream, if possible, or wipe it with leaves or grass.

6. How to straighten a carbon steel knife

The blade of a carbon steel knife has many virtually invisible teeth that are no longer aligned but fold back during use. Keep them as straight as possible by sharpening the blade before each use.

-Hold the steel in your left hand (if you are right-handed).

-Place the knife against the steel at an angle of 20 to 25 degrees.

-Slide the knife from the heel to the toe, so that the entire blade passes over the steel.

-Repeat the operation with the side of the knife on the bottom of the steel to sharpen both edges of the knife blade. Repeat the operation a dozen times.

-After a while, the blade of the knife will be so blunt that it will be useless to keep sharpening it. Then, you have to go on to sharpening, a process that removes a little metal to form a new blade. Some department stores and hardware stores offer a sharpening service.

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