Life Saving Technique For Your Wooden Knife Handles

Under my mother’s roof we followed the rules our Mom laid down – “Or Else!” and “Because I (she) said so!”. One of those rules Mom was adamant about was not putting anything plastic or wooden into the dishwasher, that those items be washed by hand – which I hated.  The first time I moved out and into my very own home I happened to have a dishwasher and was determined to wash literally nothing by hand…  Everything went into the dishwasher in spite of my mother’s voice in my head telling me not to put the Tupperware and knives with wooden handles into the dishwasher…

It wasn’t long before I regretted my rebellion; once again I discovered the inevitable: Mom was right.  My Tupperware turned a weird yellow color and became brittle and broke easily.  My knife handles dried out and some of them even cracked under the extreme heat that a dishwasher produces when washing and drying the dishes inside them.  Even though I had my water heater turned down to a temperature I thought the wood and plastic could handle in the dishwasher, I later found out that a dishwasher generates it’s own heated water which is practically scalding. 

So, never put wooden handled knives and utensils into a dishwasher and never let them sit in the soapy dishwater waiting for you to wash them.  When the original finish begins to wear off the handles, get some boiled linseed oil or mineral oil (available at The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Art supply stores, etc) and a rag and wipe generous amounts of the oil on the wooden handles.  Rub in as much as the handle will absorb and then wipe off the excess oil.  This will keep the wood in as close to its original condition as possible if this process is done at least once a month.  Notice the difference of the handles in the photos  below…

Before handles were treated with linseed or mineral oil
After photo of knife blades that have been treated with linseed oil or mineral oil
After treating handles with oil and rubbing to polish

As long as you treat your kitchen knives with good care as I’ve stated simply above, they ought to last decades. The knives in these photos were wedding gifts from over 35 years ago. The blades are still in good condition as well because I don’t allow just anyone to keep them sharp for me, I sharpen them myself and keep them clean, dry, and in the knife block that the knives came with. Never, ever leave them in a damp or wet place because the moisture will slowly cause the blades to deteriorate (same goes for razors in the bathroom, shower, etc., but at a much faster rate of deterioration).

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