How to care for kitchen knives with wooden handles

It’s impossible to retain the quality of wooden knife handles without first understanding how to properly care for them. When cared for improperly, or not at all, wooden knife handles lose their comfort factor and overall effectiveness. 

Fortunately, the damage that they so often endure is easily avoidable. Read on to find out how. 

Avoid the dishwasher

Whilst there is a general consensus that knives of any sort shouldn’t be washed in the dishwasher, it’s especially true of those with handles made out of wood.

It’s safe to say that dishwashing cycles, no matter what their duration, are an intense process. Unfortunately, the strength of the detergent, the continual stream of water, and the general turbulence within, are all factors that can seriously deform wooden handles. 

Tied in with the fact that dishwashers are known to reduce the sharpness of blades, we deem them a no go for knives, full stop. Instead, wooden knife handles should be cleaned straight after use with a moist cloth. Once wiped down, they should be dried imminently. 

Oil Application 

The truth is that even if one washes their knife handles correctly, the very environments that they exist in have the potential to evoke their deterioration.

Conditions too dry, naturally dry out the handles, in turn causing them to shrink. Moist conditions cause the wood to swell. Either way, the handle loses its good form.

Applying a couple of drops of oil to wooden handles a few times a year is the perfect way to counteract such effects. The oil should be applied using a paper towel or clean cloth. Doing so conditions and saturates the wood which in turn works preventatively, both by stopping water from being absorbed and ensuring that the handle is lubricated enough to avoid drying out. 

Oil application is also capable of reviving handles that are already dry. Of course, prevention is better than cure so to avoid their drying out in the first place, wooden handles should be stored in cool dry environments, rather than subjected to conditions of direct sunlight and heat. 


Overall, following best practices will ensure that wooden handled knives are well looked after. By opting for a moist cloth, applying oil a few times a year and storing the knife correctly, the durability and effectiveness of wooden knife handles can be protected.