Prolong the Lifespan of Your Japanese Blades with a Little Care and Maintenance

You don’t have to be a master chef to excel in the kitchen. If you equally enjoy preparing as you do eating all sorts of dishes, boosting your arsenal of kitchenware with a Japanese knife is sure to help you out with enhancing your food-cutting and prepping skills to perfection.

Man sharpening knive on ceramic sharpening steel

Out of a world of knives, Japan particularly stands out with its sharpness, designs, and performance so much so it’s come to be known for the “knife culture” over the years. However, just because they produce the best of the best doesn’t mean their knives require any less care and maintenance than others do. Moreover, being rust-resistant doesn’t mean they’re virtually stain-proof.

In fact, if you want to ensure your investment stands up to all the daily wear and tear you plan on putting it through, you’re going to have to do the proper care and maintenance, from knowing how to keep the blades sharp with a ceramic sharpening steel and maintain the handle to knowing how to clean, store, and use accurately.

How Do You Keep Japanese Knives from Rusting?

By doing what the manufacturer recommends, so be sure to find out from the store you’re buying from, or if buying online, read up on some crucial information about the product. Basically, you can expect to:

Do the Blade Sharpening

Man maintenance the japanese knive by sharpening steel

Although not all knives require this, some do need the sharpening before the very first use, and for that, you’d also require accessories in the likes of finishing stones, in addition to the sharpening steel for all the blade care you’d be doing afterwards.

To avoid misusing the blade over time, and putting it through more pressure than needed once it has lost its shape and sparkle, regular honing with a whetstone and steel occasionally would help keep the edge in top shape. This way you maintain the sharpness of the edge and you don’t end up with a dull blade that might even put your well-being at risk.

Still, to get the best results, pay as much attention to the quality of the accessories as you did when choosing the knife itself. The knife sharpening steel is best when it’s about the size of the blade you’re using and is fit for any knife other than one with a chisel edge like the Deba, and Yanagiba.

Do the Washing Up

Washing japanese ceramic sharpening steel

You might think that water and rust don’t exactly add up, and you’d be right, but water is also required to prevent this issue from occurring. Since some foods can be particularly harsh on the blades, as in the example of animal fat and acidity from vegetables that can cause rust, so after every use, it’s important to rinse the knife and dry it up before storing it. You could care after the handle too with the occasional waxing and oiling with the suitable products made for the wooden handle.

Also, remember to do the washing up by hand and never throw the knives in the dishwasher as they can’t handle the pressure. To prevent parts of metal from ending up in your dishes, it’s equally crucial to rinse the blade after sharpening it with a whetstone and a honing rod as is washing up these two accessories.

Do the Storage

Japanese kitchen blades properly stored in drawer.

You might expect that placing the precious Japanese knives in a drawer in the kitchen cabinet as you usually did before would do to ensure proper storage, and you’d be wrong. Being in contact with other blades puts them at risk of rusting much like improper washup, so look into some other options, like blade guards, chef’s case, and magnetic racks.

Do the Proper Use

A woman chopping vegetables with japanese knive on wooden cutting board to prolong his lifespan

Being aware of how and what to use the knives with is part of the deal of prolonging their lifespan. The idea is that you wouldn’t want to use the blades with anything you wouldn’t want to bite with your teeth. With this logic, you can’t use the blades with frozen foods and bones or open up nuts with harsh husks.

Opening up cans and bottles is a big no-no too, so be sure to steer clear of these habits. But that’s not all, as the kind of chopping board you use them on can also have a say in their quality and lifespan. To avoid dulling the blades, it’s best to buy a plastic or wooden cutting board and avoid any high-end marble or glass designs. They may be easier to clean up, but they do end up damaging the blades.

The Japanese steel may be harder than that of your regular blades, however, this exact property makes it more prone to chipping, so if you want your knife to hold the edge as it should, you’d be careful with the use as much as with the care and maintenance.