How to Care for a Japanese Carbon Steel Knife: Cleaning and Maintenance Tips❗

How to Clean a Carbon Steel Knife
Carbon steel knives are beloved by chefs for their unique qualities, most notably their strength, sharpness, and ability to be easily resharpened. This makes carbon steel knives a popular choice for professional kitchens.

The Importance of Proper Maintenance – Once you try carbon steel blades, you’ll quickly understand how they differ from stainless steel blades. Maintenance is different, carbon steel blades need to be kept clean and dry to prevent oxidation and rust. Oxidation is the chemical reaction that causes rust. It's also a good idea to keep a damp paper towel next to your cutting board, especially when cutting acidic foods.

Composition is carbon steel. Carbon steel is made from iron mixed with other elements. Different elements impart different properties and produce different types of steel. An alloy is a metallic substance formed from two (or more) elements.

Why does carbon steel require more maintenance? The main reason is that it is reactive, meaning that the surface metal reacts chemically when it comes into contact with certain ingredients.

What about chromium content and oxidation? Steel mixtures containing chromium often have stainless steel properties. This is because the chromium in the steel reacts with oxygen to form a layer of chromium oxide. This layer is very thin but protects against corrosion.

Basic care for carbon steel knives
Cleaning - We are often asked: "Should carbon steel knives be cleaned?" Absolutely, we recommend using warm soapy water. Rinse well and dry immediately with a soft cloth. Water droplets on the blade will cause faster oxidation and should be avoided. Some chefs use a damp cloth to wipe the blades between cuts. Avoid using harsh cleaning solutions and never put fine knives in the dishwasher.

Store your knives correctly:

It's important to protect your blades. Wooden scabbards (called Sayas) are a great option for protecting your knives, whether you store them in a drawer or a knife bag while on the go. Wood is a good choice when covering blades because it wicks moisture away and won't allow moisture to pool on the blades. Likewise, when choosing a knife holder, pay attention to the wooden construction.


Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Carbon Steel Knives
Remove stubborn rust spots
You can use Barkeepers Friend or baking soda with a little lemon juice to dissolve built-up rust.

A rust remover is an abrasive tool that is great for removing red rust.

Avoid using steel wool as it can scratch and remove intentional finishes such as black lining.

Discoloration can usually be solved by applying white vinegar to a soft cloth. Apply lightly until desired effect is achieved. Then wash and dry thoroughly.
For more tips on caring for your knives, visit our blog.

How to Polish Carbon Steel
You can use abrasive materials to polish carbon steel. A fine, fine-grit pumice stone works well, and a leather sanding belt, metal polish, or buffing wheel will also get the job done. Keep the grit in mind, as coarser grits can cause unnecessary scratches.

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Polishing carbon steel for a sharp edge is really no different than any other knife. Use a whetstone and follow general guidelines to remove burrs.

Honing rods can realign edges, but have their limitations in terms of truly restoring the cut surface. To sharpen, use a whetstone to remove the steel.

in conclusion
When properly cared for, high carbon steel knives provide excellent performance, sharpness, and durability. This is why they are so popular in professional kitchens. If given proper care and attention, they can last a lifetime. Remember the following care points and reap the benefits of optimal performance from your carbon steel knife.

Wash with soapy water and dry immediately after use.

When working with highly reactive ingredients, keep a damp, soft cloth handy to wipe the sides of the blade between cuts.

Use a rust remover to remove rust promptly.

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