Knives are staple tools in the kitchen. From cutting your vegetables and fruits to chopping big chunks of steak you need a set of different knives at your disposal. Cleaning the knives, however, is a tiresome work. 

You have to be very careful so the sharp edge does not scrape your hands. The main reason why shouldn’t you put knives in the dishwasher is it can damage both the knife and the dishwasher as well.

Key Takeaway

Blunting Risk: Dishwashers expose knives to harsh conditions such as high heat, water pressure, and contact with other utensils, increasing the risk of blunting their edges.
Corrosion Concerns: Stainless steel knives can still corrode when exposed to certain detergents and prolonged moisture in dishwashers, leading to damage over time.
Potential Safety Hazard: Knives tossed around in the dishwasher can pose a safety hazard when handling the machine or unloading dishes, increasing the risk of accidental cuts or injuries.
Handwashing Benefits: Opt for handwashing knives using mild detergent and warm water, followed by immediate drying with a soft cloth to maintain their sharpness and prolong their lifespan.

Why Shouldn’t You Put Knives in the Dishwasher?

Dishwashers and knives do not see eye to eye. Some manufacturers claim their knives are good for dishwasher use. But you should take that with a grain of salt because it is not always true.

Here are some reasons why shouldn’t you put knives in the dishwasher:

Blade Damage

The dishwasher’s heat and strong water jets negatively affect the blade of a knife. The metal part of the blade will expand and contract if the heat is consistent.

It can cause the blade to bend or warp because of the expansion and contraction from the temperature changes. The blade is the most vulnerable part of a knife.

The overall quality and cutting performance of the knife will significantly reduce over long wash cycles inside the dishwasher.

Rust and Corrosion

Another big consideration is the metal part of the knife rusting and corrosion build up on it. 

The blade has a thin coating of silver or other corrosion-resistant material. When the dishwasher water can strip away this protective layer if you are not careful. The knife becomes susceptible to corrosion buildup.

This significantly reduces the lifespan of a knife. If you want to get a bit more usability out of your knives you should stay away from putting them in the dishwasher.

Handle Damage

A lot of knives have wooden handles on them. Wood and dishwasher is not a pleasant combination. Wooden utensils and dishware are not dishwasher safe anyway.

Knives with wooden handles can suffer from swelling and cracking when they come into contact with the moisture in the dishwasher. You may even see mold or fungus build up over time.

It is important to always soak the moisture with a woolen towel or cloth to avoid damaging the wooden handles.

Dull Blade

You want your knives to be sharp and precise. Not only will a sharp knife give you an easier time chopping whatever you want in the kitchen, but it also reduces the chances of accidents.

Putting a knife in the dishwasher slowly chips away at its sharpness and makes the blade dull. A dull knife makes food preparation more challenging. It is also a safety risk for whoever uses it.

A sharp blade needs less force to use and reduces any likelihood of slips.

Safety Hazard

Although it is relatively safe to wash all kinds of dishware in the dishwasher, you should be careful about stuff that has sharp edges like knives and forks.

If you are not careful and put in all kinds of cookware together along with knives it may end up damaging the knives and the dishwasher itself.

Not just the dishwasher but the other cookware inside it may get damaged as well so it is always advised to not put knives in the dishwasher.

What Should You Do to Clean Knives?

Now that you know why shouldn’t you put knives in the dishwasher, let’s talk about the methods to use for cleaning knives.

Here are some effective and easy cleaning processes for knives:

Hand Washing

The most common method is to wash your knives by hand. Use warm, soapy water and a soft cloth to hand wash your knives.

You can gently scrub the blade and handle to remove anything on it. Pay close attention to the handle joints where the chunks of what you cut get stuck. You can then rinse off the soap.

Be careful while scrubbing the blade tip. Keep a dry cloth to soak it after washing.

Quick Rinse

Immediately after you are done using hold the knife under running water to get rid of anything attached to it.

After rinsing use a damp cloth to wipe off the rest of the chunks. This is not a substitute for a thorough cleaning. 

You can use a quick rinse so food does not dry up onto the blade so when you wash it later the job becomes much easier.

Use a Knife Cleaning Brush

You can also get a soft-bristled knife cleaning brush. You can get a Joseph Blade Brush from Amazon or your local supermarket that does not cost more than $20. Check prices here. This is a great investment for cleaning knives.


Get a drop of dish soap or detergent on the brush and scrub the blade against the brush tip. You can clean hard-to-reach spots without a cinch.

Dishwasher-Safe Knives

If you do not want to go through the hassle of hand cleaning your knives, get a set of dishwasher-safe knives. Some manufacturers like Astercook and Carote have knife sets that are safe to clean with a dishwasher.

Safe Knives
Safe Knives

The Astercook 15 Piece Knife set is a best seller that you can find on Amazon. Buy here. Be sure to place the knives in the utensil basket so it does not come into contact with other utensils or the dishwasher walls.

How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Knives?

Kitchen knives should never go into the dishwasher. Even the ones rated dishwasher-safe are not fully out of danger if you put them in the dishwasher. 

The combination of heat, detergents, and moisture can harm the exterior of the blade and the handle on a kitchen knife.

Only avoiding dishwashers for your knives is not enough to keep them in pristine condition. Proper maintenance goes a long way in keeping your knives in top condition.

Follow these steps to properly clean your knives:

  1. Hand Wash Only: Hand washing is the safest way to clean your knives. No matter what anyone says, your best bet to keep your knives pristine is to hand wash them carefully.
  2. Dry Immediately: Moisture is bad for the blade and the handle. Do not air dry your utensils. After cleaning it, soak the moisture out with a dry cotton cloth.
  3. Storing is Important: Store your knives in a knife block or a sheath. Your knives will stay organized and they will provide safety to anyone working in the kitchen.
  4. Sharpen Regularly: Regularly hone and sharpen your knives so they do not become dull.
  5. Avoid Hard Objects: Do not cut hard objects like bones or frozen items. You will end up breaking the blade in the process.
  6. Do not Use Glass Cutting Boards: Glass cutting boards are not good for the blade. These boards cause the blade to dull faster. A wooden or plastic board is better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you put stainless steel in the dishwasher?

Stainless steel makes the utensil rust-proof and protects the metal inside from corrosion. Putting stainless steel utensils in the dishwasher should be fine.

Can you clean Silverware with a dishwasher?

You can clean your antique silverware in the dishwasher without damaging them. It is a misconception that silverware cannot go inside the dishwasher.

Is aluminum dishwasher safe?

Aluminum is an alloy that fades and oxidizes very quickly when exposed to hot water and heat. Putting them in the high heat of the dishwasher will surely damage the surface.

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