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Please Stop Storing Your Kitchen Knives in a Big Wood Block

Heads up: those heavy wooden blocks you’re putting kitchen knives in is a breeding ground for gnarly bacteria (and more!).

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Chandler Bondurant

The big, bulky, wooden knife block is cancer unto your kitchen. You know the ones — the 6″ x 12″ x 8″ 10-pounders that harbor more slots than there are knives in existence. Walk into any commercial kitchen — or any chef’s home digs — and there won’t be a knife block. Why? They use magnetic knife bars that cost the same or less. Here’s why you should switch.

Knife Blocks Are Invariably Disgusting

In 2013, the National Sanitation Foundation conducted studies the gnarliest areas of everyday homes. Among can openers, parts of the refrigerator (specifically the “meat compartment”) and other obvious problem areas was the knife block. It turns out dark places that catch moisture and are impossible to clean creates a breeding ground for mold.

Knife Blocks Ruin Knives

Regardless of steel type, knife shape or quality, rubbing the blade edge against a hard surface is at best a quick ticket to a knife sharpener and at worst a path to chipped and dull blades that pose a threat to your fingers. In testing, Cook’s Illustrated found the action of sliding a knife in and out of its slot significantly shirked blade retention (and wound up recommending magnetic knife strips on top of that).

Knife Blocks Are Needlessly Large

Whether you do cartwheels in your sprawling suburban kitchen or don’t have a microwave in your studio apartment, everyone can use more space. The magnetic knife bar frees up a chunk of countertop space in favor of less usable kitchen wall (or the starboard side of a fridge) space. Plus, you get to show off your knives, if you’re into that.

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