9 Kitchen Knife Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe When Cooking


Author: Tosh Lubek Published: 23rd February 2022

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Working with knives can be dangerous, especially for those new to properly using one or never been taught the correct method. If you are looking for safe ways of using a kitchen knife correctly, you have come to the right place.

You may not realize it, but there are many ways people mishandle a knife while cooking. You don’t want to cut your finger or make an even more severe mistake. Continue reading to figure out what you can do to ensure you are safe in the kitchen.

9 Kitchen Knife Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe When Cooking

Cooking can be a great way to relax and have fun, but it can become pretty serious if someone mishandles a knife, cutting themselves. To keep everyone, including yourself, safe, here are some safety tips to reduce the chance of a mishap occurring in the kitchen with a knife.

Tip 1: Practice Basic Knife Etiquette

Always practice basic knife etiquette. This goes with any sharp cooking utensil in the kitchen but is mainly for knives. If you have never been shown what basic knife etiquette is, here are some things you can start doing:

  • Never hand a knife to someone with the blade towards them.
  • Ensure that when you set the knife down, it is not hanging over the ledge of your counter.
  • If you can, hand a knife to someone with the cover on it.
  • If the knife doesn’t have a cover, always hand it to the person with the handle towards them.
  • Ensure that the blade is not pointed towards your hand when giving the knife to someone because this can cut you.
  • Never throw the knife, whether it is at someone or into the kitchen sink.
  • Lay the knife on an even, flat surface.
  • Always put the knife away when you are done with it.
  • Never wave a knife in the air.

You never want to handle the knife improperly. This could result in either you getting cut or someone else. If you have children in the household, ensuring that the knives are properly stored will protect the children from bumping into something and a knife falling on them.

Tip 2: Don’t Rush the Process

Rushing the knife process can be detrimental and cause you to cut your hand or finger. If you don’t feel confident or you are in a hurry, that is when mistakes happen. Don’t rush and try to be patient. You will become better at using a knife over time.

Tip 3: Ensure Your Knife is Sharpened

You may initially think that a sharpened knife may be more dangerous. Although it can cut more easily, a dull knife is more dangerous when cooking. This is because a dull knife means more slip-ups and possibly cutting yourself. 

You don’t have to sharpen your knife every time before use, but it is good to sharpen your knife about twice a year. If it is a knife you use often, it is good to sharpen it after four uses. Ensuring that your knife is sharpened can change how quickly you get through your cooking.

Tip 4: Always Use a Knife for Its Proper Use

Never use a knife other than for its intended purpose. When you use a knife for something other than what it is supposed to be used for, things can go wrong. That is how you injure yourself or how you break or damage the knife.

Tip 5: Use a Flat Supported Surface

When cutting food, you should always use a flat, supporting surface. You don’t want the food to slip on an uneven surface, and accidentally stab yourself. The best way to do this is to use a counter or table that is secure.

Place a cutting board underneath your food for best practices. This makes cutting easier for you, so the area is raised from the surface, but it protects the surface from the knife’s blade. You can also distribute the cut food more easily and clean up quickly.

Tip 6: Cut Round Items to Have a Flat Side

If you have a round item, you can cut it in half or cut one side to have a flat side. This will prevent the food from rolling while you slice and dice. You can ensure that your fingers will stay intact.

Tip 7: Keep Your Knives Clean

Keeping your knives clean has many benefits, including safety. When you wash your knives and clean them right away, you prevent the knife from degrading quickly. It also prevents bacteria growth after coming in contact with certain foods.

If you use a knife for any type of raw meat, it is imperative that you clean the knife before using it on other foods, even if it is in the same setting. Raw meats can have bacteria that are dangerous to consume. The best practice is to clean the blade immediately.

Tip 8: Hold Your Knife Properly

Knives are not toys to be played with. You should hold the knife properly to reduce the chance of a mishap happening. There are many safe methods of gripping the knife. The biggest thing is never to have a loose grip and always ensure that you aren’t waving it around.

Tip 9: Use a Protector

If you just happen to be a clumsy person, you can always invest in a finger guard or a protector. This is a nifty kitchen tool that you can slide onto your fingers to protect it from the blade. It is great for beginners to use, especially those younger and who are still practicing.

Now, these can be a little awkward and uncomfortable at first, but as you get used to them, you will be slicing and dicing in no time. It’s worth it if you want to keep all of your fingers intact.

Final thoughts

Safety is imperative when you are cooking. Not only do you want to get injured because of a simple mistake, but you also don’t want to ruin the wonderful meal you are preparing. No one wants a side of a finger with their steak. That wouldn’t be very tasty.

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Sources: 1, 2

Tosh learned how to cook while watching his Polish Mom at home. He also worked in a family-owned restaurant while a student and learned much from the chefs. Cooking has always interested him, especially the hearty Polish recipes he learned from his mother. He has helped create and appeared on cookery shows on radio stations in Scotland.

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