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Caring for Carbon Steel Knives

Carbon steel is preferred by many chefs for its ability to maintain a very sharp edge. With proper care, it will give you years of good use. 

Carbon steel knives should not be treated the same as stainless steel knives. Because carbon steel is not alloyed with chromium (as stainless is), the blade is hard and can be made incredibly sharp; the trade-off is that without proper care it will rust and oxidize. 

Some helpful tips: 

  • Hand wash your carbon steel knife immediately after use and dry it thoroughly right away. 
  • Don’t leave it to soak in the sink or let it air dry in the rack, and never put it in the dishwasher. (This applies to the solid wood handles as well!)
  • Wiping the blade with food-grade oil after each use will help protect it from rust. 
  • Sharpen your carbon steel knife regularly. This can be done easily with a whetstone, although we suggest honing your technique (pun intended) by seeking out some good instructional videos online.
  • Over time, your carbon steel knife will develop a patina — this is good! It will help protect the blade from corrosion. 
  • Because it is harder than stainless steel, carbon steel is more brittle and thus subject to chipping with improper use. Don’t use it to cut through food packaging or to open oysters. (We have tools for that!) Do not use your carbon steel knife to cut frozen food, and take care when cutting bone-in meats. Softer cutting boards made of wood or plastic are better than stone or stainless steel surfaces. 

Occasionally, despite your best efforts you may get a spot of rust on your carbon steel knife. The easiest way to get rid of it is to scrub the spot with the rough side of a sponge, then rub it with some food-grade oil. 

One of our makers suggests treating your carbon steel knives the same way you treat your best wine glasses. 

With a little extra care, we think you’ll discover that using a carbon steel knife offers some considerable trade ups over stainless steel, and we hope you will enjoy using yours. 

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