The Things We've Forgotten [To Clean] PT 2: The Knife Block

It's amazing how a little bit of sunshine motivates.  The second the days start to get longer and the sun starts to take on a rosier glow, people start thinking about polishing up the caves they've been hibernating in for the past three months.  It's a lovely time of hope, expectation and window cleaner.  

But all that cleaning CAN be overwhelming. Especially if you want to do a deep, deep clean (and if you have, you know, a life). 

So while we make plans for that all-inclusive spring cleaning spree, lighten the load by picking one overlooked item a day to knock off your list. 

Overlooked Item of the Day: 

The Knife Block

Our Knife Blocks keep all of our pointy objects safely stored and within arms reach, but rarely do we take much notice of it.  And those oh-so-convenient slots are susceptible to airborne dirt, dust, and other contaminates that can wind up on our clean knives and then transfer to our food.  

Once a year, it's a good idea to pay it a little mind and clean out the crud and dust that may have worked its way in.
(The good news is, it's super easy!)

Tools Needed: 

Compressed Air OR Vacuum OR Hair Dryer
Pipe Cleaners OR Bottle Brush OR Wooden Skewer
Dish Soap
Paper Towels
Sponge with Scouring Pad
Spray Bottle
Food Grade Mineral Oil  

1. Let's not chop off any body parts: Remove all knives from block (Otherwise the next step gets VERY complicated and circus-like)

2a. Slot Dirt Removal:   Turn block upside down over sink and shake vigorously to remove loose dirt.  
2b. If your knife block has a solid bottom, dust removal will be a little more involved. If you have compressed air, you can aim the nozzle directly into the slots. If you don't, simply use a hair drier on a cool setting. 
2c.  Insert a pipe cleaner (if you happen to have one) or a bottle brush or a wooden skewer wrapped with a tiny piece of paper towel, into the slots and move around to loosen any additional dirt.  Shake upside down, or use the hose of your vacuum to suck out as much as possible. 

3.  Scrub A Dub Dub the Outside of the Tub... errr... Block.  Using a sponge covered in warm soapy water, wash the outside of the block. Do Not Immerse Block In Water (wood is porous and can dry out and crack if it soaks up too much H20).  Use the scouring side to lightly scrub in the same direction as the grain.  Follow with a damp paper towel and then a dry one.  *Some people recommend using a fine grain sandpaper. I do not.  Sand paper could potentially remove any finish on the block. A gentle scrub with a plastic scour should be fine however.

4.  Clean Those Slots! Fill a spray bottle with 1 tsp. bleach and the rest with water.  Spray a fine mist into the slots.  Use a paper towel wrapped skewer to rub the solution around and remove any excess.  Rinse the spray bottle and refill with clean water.  Spray into slots to rinse and use skewers (with clean paper towel bits) to remove any excess liquid.  (You can also wrap a paper towel around your knife and slip gently into the slot.)

5.  Dry as Dust. Allow that sucker to dry.  Completely.  Give it a good 2 hours for all of the water to evaporate. 

6. And a Dash of Oil.  Apply a tiny bit of mineral oil with a clean cloth to the outside of the block.  The oil keeps the wood healthy (so to speak) and also fills to prevent absorption of harmful bacteria in the future.  

7.  Insert clean, DRY knives into dry block and give it a pat to say thanks for being such a good little work horse. 

*Looking for more items to clean? Check out how to clean The All-Important Coffee Maker

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