Keeping your knives nice and sharp is very important. A dull knife usually will cause more injury than a sharp one. All straight-edged knives do need sharpening, but knives with serrated edges do not. Some experts recommend that a knife should be sharpened before each use. At a minimum, you should give your knives a thorough sharpening annually. Always make sure to protect the blades when storing your knives. This is where a knife block comes in handy.
It does matter what type of knife sharpener you use, because the wrong one can actually do more harm than good. Knife sharpening should always take place in a well-lit environment, on a stable surface and by a responsible adult. A sharpening steel works very well on almost all knives. An already sharp knife only requires a few light pressured strokes on the sharpening steel to maintain the sharp edge. If you do not wish to use the steel frequently, additional strokes will be necessary to re-establish a keen cutting edge. Other cooks may prefer to use a sharpening stone. A sharpening stone has two sides: one rough, one fine. It’s used the same way as a sharpening steel.
Depending on the type of handle your knives have, you may not want to put them in the dishwasher. Even if your handles are dishwasher safe, the knives can knock against other items, which causes nicks in the blade. Washing by hand is usually recommended.
A wooden cutting board is always the best surface to cut on. Harder surfaces like glass and metal can dull the blade. However, some cooks prefer not to use wooden cutting boards because the wood can hold bacteria more easily than plastic ones. In this case, polypropylene boards make a great substitute.