How to Clean a Knife Block - A Complete Guide

How to Clean a Knife Block - A Complete Guide

Many people store knives in a wooden knife block, or a magnetic knife stand, because they know they shouldn't put them in with other utensils. However, a knife block must be cleaned thoroughly. You don't realize it because the knives are clean as you put them in, so you think that they shouldn't get dirty.

However, knife blocks can hide mold, yeast, and dust. You could get very ill and might not even realize it's because of the block. Therefore, you must clean it thoroughly to prevent mold and other issues.

This article talks about cleaning your knife block and keeping it free of germs. You also get answers to your top questions, such as how to keep moisture and crumbs from getting into the slots and what to do about it.

How to Clean a Wooden Knife Block

To clean your knife block and slots thoroughly, you need these materials:

  • Dish soap
  • Bleach solution
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Small bottle brush
  • Soft clean cloths 

Here are the steps to take:

Remove the Kitchen Knives

Take the kitchen knives and culinary tools out of your block very carefully. Do it slowly and one by one. Don't shake them out of the slots of the knife block because that could be dangerous if they fall out and cut you.

It could also damage the delicate edges of the knife when they hit each other or the surface they drop onto. Ultimately, a kitchen knife suffers from that type of contact, even if it's tough.

Dry Clean the Inside with a Pipe Cleaner

Once you have removed all the knives, turn the knife block upside down. You can give it a really good shake and get rid of the dust and crumbs inside.

Now, you should rest the wooden knife block on its side. Use a small brush or bottle brush to scrub inside the knife slots.

If there are hard-to-reach slots or you feel that the brush doesn't go to the bottom, use a pipe cleaner where the knives normally go. You don't have to do anything else, but you can soak the pipe cleaner in hot, soapy water first.

When you use a pipe cleaner, you get into every crevice that the blades might touch!

Clean the Outside of the Block

Use a damp cloth with dish soap and water to scrub the outside of the wooden knife block. Make sure that you get all the sides and do it gently so that you don't scratch your knife block. When you're finished with the wet cloth, you can wipe it down with a dry cloth.

Remove All the Moisture

Do not put your wooden knife block directly into soapy water because it might absorb too much water and then swell up.

Once you wipe the outside of the block, make sure that you use a damp cloth to remove excess moisture. Just wipe the knife block down thoroughly and get rid of the dish soap and gunk.

Let Your Knife Block Dry

Pat the knife block down with a cloth and let it dry thoroughly in an airy space with low humidity. It could take a few hours, and it's best to wait eight hours total. Ensure that the block is completely dry before using bleach in the next step.

Bleach out Bacteria from the Knife Block

To make a diluted bleach solution, add one teaspoon of the bleach to about 32 ounces (four cups) of water. Dampen the scrub brush with that solution to clean your knife block gently. You can use a smaller brush to get into the slots.

Bleach can be used on the knife block to kill any germs. Just make sure that you wash it gently. Don't dump bleach directly into the slots, as you might not be able to thoroughly dry them later.

Wipe Dry the Knife Block

Now, you can use a damp cloth to remove the bleach residue from the wooden knife block. Never put the knife block under running water!

When the knife block is rinsed, make sure that you choose a dry cloth to wipe it and let the block dry completely for 12 hours or more before adding the knives back to the block.

Reinsert the Knives into the Knife Slots

Once it is dry, give it one more wipe to ensure that it is completely clean. Then, you can put your knives back into the block. Whether you've got a chef's knife or other knives, they should all be placed into the block one at a time. You may also store the sharpening steel in the block!

Professional Cleaning Tips

Once you initially remove the knives, sharpener, and other tools from your wooden knife block, make sure to give them a good scrub using warm water. That way, you're not putting more germs and debris in the nice, clean block. They should be completely dry before putting them back into the knife block.

The block must air dry before you use the bleach solution. Therefore, you might want to start the first step in the morning and finish up in the afternoon.

You could use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar instead of bleach if you dislike the smell or want something natural for your knives and block.

If you've got a visibly moldy block, use sandpaper or a rough paper towel instead of the scrub brush to ensure that it's thoroughly cleaned.

Wash the knives carefully when you're finished with them. Let them dry thoroughly before you put them back into the knife block.

Try a magnetic knife holder, such as the Acacia Wood Magnetic Knife Stand from Knives Etcetera, instead of a block if you want to make life easier.


How Can You Clean Universal Knife Blocks?

If you've got a Kapoosh knife block, you should remove the rods and wash them thoroughly in the dishwasher or by hand. Don't take the knife block completely apart, though. Clean its inner shell with some mild soap and a soft cloth about two times a year. Make sure that it's thoroughly dry for 12 hours before replacing the knives.

How Do You Correctly Clean the Knives?

You should never wash the knives in the dishwasher because they could become dull faster. With that, the handles are likely to split over time. To properly clean the knives, you should scrub them in soapy water right after you use them. That way, the food residue doesn't dry onto the knives.

Then, you should rinse them to get rid of the soapy residue and dry them thoroughly before putting them back into the knife block.

Does a Knife Block Hold Bacteria?

Yes, they can hold bacteria if you allow the block to build up with crumbs and moisture. With that, you may see an unwanted growth of mold. Bacteria like dark, damp places. Therefore, you should clean your knife block thoroughly and regularly.

Can You Sanitize Wooden Knife Blocks? How?

You can sanitize the wooden block with vinegar. Use one cup water with one-half cup vinegar and apply the mixture to the block with a spray bottle or cloth. Allow it to dry completely before you put the knives back in.


You want to clean the knife block regularly to keep the kitchen free of bacteria. Make sure that you use soft brushes and clean it gently.

Ultimately, you must keep the knife block clean. Only put clean and dry knives inside and ensure that no crumbs fall into the block. You've learned exactly what to do and how to properly clean your wooden knife block!