Your Knife Block Is Full of Mold—Here’s How to Clean It
Here’s the thing about knife blocks: We don’t really recommend them. They can dull the blades of your knives as you drag them in and out of their holders, they’re often sold as an expensive set with knives that you really don’t need, and they can harbor some serious mold (and maybe even bacteria) in those dark, hard-to-reach slots. We really suggest a magnetic knife strip instead, but we totally get that some people either already have a wooden knife block or prefer them for whatever reason. Maybe you’re one of those people? Don’t worry, we won’t tell you to get rid of what you have and love—instead, we’ll just tell you how to clean it.
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Why You Need to Clean Your Knife Block
Moisture is a friend of mold and bacteria, so if you don’t always completely clean and dry your knives before returning them to your knife block, you might have some unwanted growth in those knife slots. Or maybe your block sits on the counter, which sometimes gets wet and, well, you might not think to lift up your knife block and clean and dry underneath it—are we right?
You might see mold growing on the outside of your block, but even if you don’t, you’ll feel better knowing you’ve given your block a good clean. The process is a bit lengthy, but you really should be doing it once a month or so. (Or, again, just invest in a magnetic knife strip—so much easier to clean!).
You’re also going to need something stronger than just soap and water. We call for a diluted bleach solution, but you can substitute distilled white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.
How To Clean a Knife Block
What You Need
- Pipe cleaner or small bottle brush
- Scrubby sponge or brush
- Dish soap
- Dish cloths
- Take all the knives out: This is probably obvious, but in order to clean that knife block, you’re going to want to take out all of your knives. While you’re at it, why not wash them (with hot, soapy water) and dry them (completely)?
- Clean the slots: Pick up your block, turn it over, and shake out any crumbs. Turn it back right-side up and use a pipe cleaner to get into those slots if you think there are residual crumbs lodged in there.
- Clean the outside of the block with soapy water: Using a scrubby sponge or brush, soap, and water, gently scrub the outside of the block. Avoid using too much water! Moisture is why you have mold in the first place.
- Wipe down the block with a clean, damp cloth: Once you’ve given it a good scrub and gotten rid of any errant gunk, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe it down.
- Use a scraper to remove excess moisture and soapy residue: In order to make sure you’ve really gotten rid of all the moisture and soap, grab a scraper and run it along all the sides of your block. Then, wipe down the block again with another clean, dry cloth.
- Let the block dry completely: Still, you’re going to want to let it air dry for a while. Do the first part at night and in the morning you’ll be ready for the bleach.
- Clean the outside of the butcher block with bleach: Make a diluted bleach solution with a teaspoon of bleach and four cups of water. Using a scrub brush and the bleach solution, clean the outside of the butcher block.
- Use a pipe cleaner to clean the slots: Now, use the bleach solution and a pipe cleaner (or bottle brush) to clean inside the slots.
- Wipe down the block with a clean, damp cloth: When you feel like your block is clean, wipe down the block with a clean, dry cloth to make sure it’s as dry as you can get it.
- Let the block dry completely: Let your knife block sit for another 12 hours (or more) so that it is completely dry.
- Put your knives back in: Okay, you’re back in action. Put your clean, dry knives back in.
- If your knife block is really, visibly moldy, and the above steps don’t get rid of the mold, you may need to use sandpaper to sand the surface of the block.
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: How To Clean a Wooden Knife Block