The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Four myths about knives

For every good piece of information that exists online about knives, there are more than a few inaccuracies.  So, how do you wade through the drek to find the information that’s important and accurate?  You should start by not passing on these 4 popular knife myths.

#1 Stainless steel knives can be washed in the dishwasher

They can’t, or at least they definitely shouldn’t be.  The force of water can decrease the sharpness of  knife edges by pushing them against shelves or other utensils.  In addition, the combination of hot water and the chemicals that exist in detergent can leave stains on stainless steel cutlery if it comes in contact with silver.

Secondly, washing sharp knives in the dishwasher could be dangerous to your physical safety if you or a family member reach into the dishwasher without paying proper attention.

#2 A dull knife is safer to use than a sharp one

This is another myth that needs to be busted.  Though a dull knife will have less of an impact if it grazes your flesh, it’s not safer.  Because of its dullness, you’ll often have to cut more vigorously, exerting a lot of force and pressure.  This decreases your ability to control the knife and elevates the potential for accidents.

The best plan for cutting in the kitchen is to use a well-sharpened knife that you don’t need a lot of effort to operate, giving you maximum control.

#3 There are knives that stay sharp forever

There aren’t.  Certain serrated knives are advertised as staying sharp forever, but the serrated “teeth” of these knives will eventually wear down or fail.  Don’t fall for the inaccurate advertising here.  Regardless of the knife you buy, it will require sharpening.

#4  It is best to send your knife to a professional to be sharpened

Though professional sharpening services can do a good job, they often use conventional grinding stones that can remove too much metal.  High quality knife sharpeners are available online at affordable prices, and they’re easy to use.  There’s really no reason to spend time and effort on a professional knife sharpening service, when you can easily sharpen your knives at home.

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  1. #2 gets the myth backwards. It’s frequently repeated that sharper knives are safer. But actual evidence indicates that has never really been true. When you talk to people who work with knives, it’s always the really sharp knives that have caused them injuries. Why? Because proper technique will prevent both dull and sharp knives from injuring you if they slip. But very sharp knives frequently cause injuries from any slight contact with the blade when handling the knife, especially when not in the act of cutting.

    The idea that sharper knives are safer often repeated, but it’s a myth.

    • That’s completely untrue. Dull knives require more force and can slip or slide from their cut. All studies – and I’m in the insurance business – show that the sharper knife is not only safer, but is used with less force resulting in a much shallower and cleaner cut if an accident happens.

  2. Proper knife technique is NOT a myth and something every cook, regardless of level, should study and practice. Keep your steel sharp and you don’t have to worry about myth.
    My mother held her paring knife in one hand and the object of her paring in the other. Even after i became a chef I couldn’t convince her to work on the board.
    We really cling to our elders’ lessons-

  3. #2 is backwards, The common wisdom is that sharp knives are safer, but this isn’t true. Ask anyone how many times they’ve been cut by one vs the other.

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