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The Damsel has heard a billionty times that you should NOT put good knives in the dishwasher. But although she wants to trust and obey, she finds it hard. She wants to know WHY.

Here are the most common reasons:

  • You might cut yourself.
  • The knife might cut the dishwasher’s plastic coating on the racks.
  • The hot temperature might harm the handle, especially if it’s wooden.
  • The dishwashing detergent might make a glob on the knife blade and cause it to pit.
  • The knife might knock against other stuff in the dishwasher and get nicked.

Then the Don’t-Do-It people always say the thing about how very little time it takes to wash and put away a good knife, if you do it right after you use it. The Damsel will concede that point, but it has only small relevance in a household full of kids who don’t clean up after themselves. (The Damsel would like to point out that she’s talking about teenagers using these knives, not little kids. Don’t be hatin’.)

The thing the Damsel was looking for was solid evidence that dishwashing a good knife would damage the blade, or its ability to be sharpened/keep sharp. That’s the thing that matters to the Damsel. Some sources mentioned this but, really, it came up pretty rarely, and there was plenty of people voicing the opposite opinion…that they dishwash their knives all the time and can’t see any harm.

Rather, the opposing team said they felt their knives were getting extra sanitary by going through a dishwasher.

So. It seems there is no clear “cut” answer to the question. (The Damsel cracks herself up)

The Damsel would love to hear your opinion. Do you handwash your beauties, or live on the “edge” and put them in the dishwasher?

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  • http://greenandchewy.blogspot.com/ Carole & Chewy

    Oh what I wouldn't give to have *good* kitchen knives…or any kitchen knife that hasn't been used to cut tree limbs or plastic or god-only-knows-what-when-I-wasn't-looking…..

  • http://twolittlekittles.blogspot.com Brooke

    I have 1 nice/sharp kitchen knife that I try to keep outta the dishwasher, but because of the habit of putting all the other knives in the DW… the good one often gets put in also. I'm glad you brought this up, because I often wonder the same thing.

  • http://betterbarefooter.blogspot.com Kakes

    I have Miracle Blade knives. They stood up to Cutco knives in a “cut off” we had when my bro-in-law sold cutco, and the whole set cost me about 30-40 bucks. I dishwash them- I probably shouldn’t, but I do. They’ll only cost me $30-40 to replace the whole set anyway when they dull, pit, or break (it’s been over 5 years with only a minor dulling). This is my strategy until I am fortunate enough to be able to afford “good” knives! So dishwash away!!

  • http://cookingwithrockymento.blogspot.com Maimey Rocky

    no matter how you slice it, carve it up or take a stab at it…I have always place my knives in the DW. Wooden handles, cutco's, cheap ones, good ones, they all go in. I do not see any 'point" in hand washing. They go in point down, or secured on the top deck so no one will get stabbed or accidentlly fall on them in case they have a commonly ungraceful moment near the DW. It is habit and it is hard to cut those out of your life.

    • the_damsel

      Thanks for the vote! Gotta watch out for those ungraceful moments. Danger danger!

  • http://Www.jaggedhorizonknives.com Christian

    As an avid knife collector and owner of a knife shop I would say the reasons not to put your knives in the dishwasher are:

    – The heat from the dw will cause the epoxy used to secure the handle to loosen and fail.

    – Because of the water pressure, the knife will get jarred a lot and come into contact will all sorts of things a knife shouldn't cut. In other words, it will damage the edge and make it even more dangerous.

    Honestly, it doesn't have anything to do with the danger of cutting yourself. If you're reaching for a knife or into somewhere where a knife should be, you should be careful.

    • the_damsel

      Hey, thanks for the voice of experience!

  • Hilary Erickson

    I handwash, mostly becuase I have heard you should, and my kids often empty the dishwasher and we can barely keep bowls alive… little loan KNIVES. :)

  • Elizabeth

    Most of my knives go in the dishwasher at one point or another. My husband sharpens our knives now and then. WE have a couple of Cutco's that my brother sold me that have lived through the dishwasher too. And handwashing hasn't saved my wood handled knife from being drowned by soaking in the sink with other dishes! It would probably fair BETTER in the dishwasher because it would get dried more quickly! I am thinking I will try Miracle Blade knives! My steak knives are so dull, they should be butter knives. No amount of sharpening is going to save them at this point!

  • http://www.earthcurrent.com The Lazy Geographer

    I don’t wash anything but table and serrated steak knives. My kitchen knives get used, washed and get a fast run across the sharpening stone before I put them away. Knives in the dishwasher just take up space for things that are more annoying to clean, so why bother.

  • http://ingfamily.blogspot.com Morgan

    I put "good" knives that are large enough on the top shelf. Otherwise, I just throw them in the utensil rack. I haven't got time to worry about…

    • the_damsel

      Sounds like me!

  • deila

    We do both, if you are in a hurry to use it again, handwash. Late night– throw it all in the dishwasher. Never had a problem. I would like to know how to sharpen them though, I have one from when I got married, expensive, quality, but not sharp.

    • the_damsel

      I have a couple of posts about sharpening you might like. One is on sharpening and one is on honing. Just enter the terms into the search box at the top.

  • http://beinglds.blogspot.com jocelyn

    Dishwasher all the way,much to my mother's dismay…what's with the recycling crafts ebook???

    • the_damsel

      Sorry, that might be sorta distracting…it's one of the rotating ads my ad company displays. I actually haven't checked out the ebook (I'm not supposed to click on my own ad links…it's against their rules) but it actually sounds pretty cool.

  • Momonine

    If I only had my good knife here to put in the dishwasher I don't have here. . .!!! I probably miss my chef knife as much as any other single thing!!

  • stacie

    i almost always wash them by hand right after using them. since i don't have a ton of kids, and only run the dishwasher once a day, and only have a couple of really good, sharp knives, if i put it in the dishwasher i'm bound to need it before the dishwasher has been run. then i have to dig it out and wash it by hand anyway. but, i will occassionally run it through a dish cycle to "sterilize" it. that just makes me feel better. HOT is good for gettin' rid of germs!!!

    • the_damsel

      Another good perspective.

  • http://www.whathefork.blogspot.com Erin @ whathefork

    I wash my good knives in the dishwasher along with the steak knives and what-not. I do keep the wood handled ones out of there because I'm afraid of the handle loosening or something. I haven't noticed any difference and I do feel better about them going through the hot cycles especially if I've been cutting up meat.

  • http://emeraldlens.info Lady Ozma

    I have one pampered chef bread knife which is about as close to "good" as you get here. My "good knives" are not wasted upon food. They are double edged and hang on my wall. Unless I'm feeling stabby, but that's a story for another time.

    Aforementioned pampered chef bread knife goes through my dishwasher. I purchased it probably ten years ago and it works just fine and dandy and looks shiny in all the right places. Which is really all that matters to me. Everything else in the kitchen is just whatever garbage I bought for whatever the cheapest price I could find. And they go through the dishwasher and cut things just fine.

    I mean it's not like I'm looking for a properly balanced kitchen knife for throwing or anything. Who cares! Dishwasher!

    • the_damsel

      Sing it, sister!

  • http://nikkianddanny.blogspot.com Nikki

    I'm surpirsed frankly. I would never guess you to be one to even consider the dishwasher. lol I've always washed my knives by hand. That includes the steak knife set I got for $3 at the Best Buy eight years ago. Only knives we put in the dishwasher are butter knives.

    • the_damsel

      Thanks for the “vote,” Nikki!

  • polly

    Dishwasher detergent is harsh. It will ruin wooden handles, and could even pit the metal.
    Have you seen metal trays washed in the dishwasher? They become gray and pitted.

    • the_damsel

      Thanks, Polly.

  • http://mygreenambitions.blogspot.com Nikol

    I always hand wash my knives. Growing up, our family didn't have a dishwasher (heh…I WAS the dishwasher). One summer I housesat for my English teacher, and they had a dishwasher. So of course I took full advantage of it. But I put one of their knives in the dishwasher one time, and when it came out, the blade had little rusty spots all over it. Little rusty spots that took a great deal of scrubbing to remove, and even then the blade didn't look the same. I felt awful about it. And it gave me a lifelong paranoia of putting knives in the dishwasher.

  • http://iamjustlu.com Lorene

    Dishwasher! My knives aren't the super fancy knives, though. I do keep my bamboo cutting board and cookware out of the dishwasher. Partly because it's the instructions and partly because the ones I figured it would make no difference with have lost most of the finish due to the dishwasher-ing and are now harder to clean since the food just STICKS more now.

  • http://latermom.blogspot.com Charlotte

    I have cutco knives. I use the dishwasher. I am lazy. Sometimes I even wash my pots and pans in there.

    • the_damsel

      **giggleyou wicked thing.

  • http://gourmified.blogspot.com Lisa J

    I do both. I have Henkel knives that were super expensive so I just can't stomach putting them in the dishwasher. BUT I have been known to do it on occasion…especially when my hubby is frequently doing the dishes and is TERRIBLE at hand-washing…and they've been sitting out for days. Yes. That's when they get the dishwasher treatment. Then I just feel like I have to sharpen them again. Seems like the dishwasher dulls them. Maybe it's just me.

    • the_damsel

      I know just what you mean about wanting to sharpen after washing. I bought a honing steel (I have a post on this if you'd like to check on it) recently and I hone my good knives right before each use and after each washing. It only takes 2 seconds and I love how sharp they stay.

  • http://eatlivelaughshop.com eatlivelaughshop

    I have cutco knives and use the dishwasher for all but my large butcher knife. Only because it bigs and seems precarious in there!

    • the_damsel

      Good to know!

  • http://manwifeanddog.com/ ManWifeDog

    Visiting from the Stumble Upon party!! ; – )

    Love your blog header!

    • the_damsel

      Thanks! I've been pondering how to change it up for my “blogaversary” coming up. Any ideas?

  • http://www.TheBudgetDiet.com Kristl Story

    Guilty…I've always followed the "rules," and hand washed mine!

  • http://searchingforsustenance.blogspot.com Nicole Rivera

    I am a dishwasher junkie! If it stops moving – it goes in there, knives included!! I clicked on the link to your post with bated breath… I was worried you were going to berate me for all of my infractions!

    I AM FREE!!! THE KNIVES ARE STAYING IN THE DISHWASHER!!

    …to be honest I am terrified I am going to slice myself while washing them by hand – all that water and slippery soap with sharp blades and my klutzy fingers?? It is a disaster waiting to happen!

  • http://www.misadventuresofmrsb.com Mrs. Jen B

    I used to put knives in the dishwasher but found that I'd forget to remove them right away and they'd start to rust. Now I wash immediately, dry and put away. I can't keep buying new knives!

  • http://muumsmusings.blogspot.com muum

    dishwasher. lazy. yeah.

  • http://maryellephotography.blogspot.com/ Mary

    Despite being told I am not supposed to wash my good knives in the dishwasher, I do. I'm just too lazy to handwash.

    • the_damsel

      Thanks for chiming in!

  • http://the-gre.com/ Donna Sheridan

    YES!! Just make sure they are dishwasher safe and that you put them up side down in the utensils holder. 

     

  • http://designfrontier.net/ Daniel Sellers

    I think it depends how you define good kitchen knives really… In my mind a good kitchen knife is high carbon steel (not stainless) and so running through the dishwasher is a great way to wear them out. The would dull pretty quickly under the combined assault of hot water, and detergent. 

    On the other hand most kitchen knives these days are stainless steel (not as good at holding and maintaining an edge, etc.) and the dishwasher is less likely to do real damage to the blade. But… you will probably still need to sharpen them more often if you wash them in the DW as opposed to by hand. 

    Best thing to do is a quick handwash, dry, and then clean up the edge on a steel before storage.

    And yes… I only hand wash my decent chef knife. Dinner knives and steak knives go straight in the DW.

    • thedamselindisdress

      Thanks for the thoughtful response. Is it hard to determine if a knife is made from high carbon steel or stainless?
      Margot (The Damsel)