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I've read that one should hand-wash knives, and I mostly buy that. I've also seen advice that one should dry them immediately and put them away.

Why shouldn't knives air-dry? Aside from the unsightly water stains, is there any downside to letting knives air-dry?

Edit: We have Henckel full-tang knives. Rust is a real concern -- we had them sharpened, and the shop did a lousy job -- the edges are ragged.

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3 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

It's to prevent rust. Rust requires oxygen and water to form. The longer you leave your knives wet or damp the more likely you are to develop rust.

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To add on to this, most good quality knives will NOT be 100% stainless, since you need a balance of carbon steels to both keep and edge and be easily sharpened or honed. –  JNK Sep 22 '10 at 12:06
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Another concern, if you knives have wooden handles, is warping.

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And splitting. I worry endlessly about my sashimi knife. Light as a feather, wooden handle. I know that thing's gonna split one day. And it will be a sad day. –  daniel Sep 22 '10 at 7:40
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@roux I put some food-grade mineral oil on mine. It's supposed to help keep cutting boards from splitting, so I thought I'd give it a try... –  Bob Sep 22 '10 at 12:15
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Yeah, I oil mine, but it's still a concern. The knife was a gift, I want it to last as long as possible. –  daniel Sep 22 '10 at 19:27
    
Japanese knives have expensive blades and simple (cheaper) handles. You can get the blade reset with a new handle. –  Chef Jan 10 '11 at 15:39
    
Japanese knives have expensive blades and simple (cheaper) handles. You can get the blade reset with a new handle. I think Korin in new york can do this for you. –  Chef Jan 10 '11 at 15:40
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Water stains, rusting (depending on the sort of knife you have).

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