How Do You Clean A Knife After Cutting Raw Chicken

Does anyone enjoy cutting raw chicken? There are so many gross parts about it, including the idea that it carries bacteria and that bacteria can contaminate your workspace, cutting boards, and knives. It’s you learn how to clean a knife after cutting raw meat. Improper cleaning can cause your family and guests to become ill from foodborne illnesses. 

How Do You Clean A Knife After Cutting Raw Chicken?

Wash the knife by hand in hot soapy water, then soak it in a solution of one tablespoon household bleach and one-quart water. Cleaning the knife by hand will ensure you remove any leftover pieces of raw chicken, and the bleach solution will remove any bacteria. After washing and soaking the knife, rinse it in warm, clean water then use a clean kitchen towel to wipe it dry. 

how to clean a knife after cutting raw chicken

It’s essential to clean your knives correctly before putting them back into storage for the next use. Don’t worry; we’ll walk you through proper kitchen hygiene for your kitchen knives.

How to Properly Clean A Knife

If you’re a more visual learner, you will love this video. It will walk you through step-by-step on how clean your knives. The two things to take into consideration when cleaning your kitchen knives are safety and procedure.

But first, let’s look at why you need to wash and sanitize a knife properly.

Why Is It Important to Clean and Sanitize Knives?

Dirty knives can easily cause cross-contamination to your cutting boards, utensils, countertops, and hands. According to the website, there are over 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses every year.

To prevent anyone from getting sick, it’s essential you properly clean your knives, countertops, hands, and utensils, especially when handling raw chicken. You should also replace your plastic cutting boards often.

Cross-contamination can be dangerous, even if there are no viruses or bacteria around. You might expose someone who has food allergies to something they are not supposed to eat. They will end up getting sick or wind up in the hospital.  

Kitchen Knives

The first rule of thumb in food preparation safety is to ensure you don’t use the same knife to cut raw meat, fish, poultry on the same surfaces without a thorough cleaning in between uses. Every cook should have more than one knife and several cutting boards for different jobs in their kitchen. 

What Water Temperature to Use?

Most people wash their knives in cold water because they believe hot water will dull the knife blade. However, hot water does not dull a knife, unless you clean it in superheated steam ( ~1000 F).

Most household’s city water temperatures do not get above 120°F. It is not hot enough to dull your knife but will require you to wear a pair of rubber gloves, so you don’t get burnt. 

Why Not Just Use Dishwashing Detergent?

Dish soap is not actually meant to sanitize your dishes. It cleans them, yes, but it does not kill all microorganisms and harmful bacteria on its own. According to Claudia Narvaez, food safety specialist, “Dishwashing detergent will kill some bacteria, but not salmonella or E.Coli, which are more resistant to environmental conditions.”

Use a soft brush or rag to wash the blade thoroughly. Something soft will prevent you from leaving scratches on the blade. A sponge needs to be replaced every week, as sponges are known to retain bacteria. 

The dish soap is meant to pull off any small particles of chicken that remain on the knife (including the handle). But once the small pieces of chicken are pulled off, what then? 

Using Bleach to Sanitize Your Knives

The only proper way to sanitize a knife is to use a diluted bleach solution. After handwashing, the knife, soak the knife in a diluted bleach solution in hot water (at least 77°C) for at least two minutes to remove any remaining bacteria. 

Will Clorox Damage My Knife?

Many people in cooking forums and social media sites that say bleach will damage a knife blade. I’ve personally used bleach to clean my utensils, knives, and cutting boards without any issues for several years. 

According to Sciencing, bleach contains a compound called sodium hypochlorite, which acts as an oxidizing agent. This agent can be corrosive to metals and damage some plastics as well. 

That’s why some people recommend sanitizing stainless steel cutware with diluted bleach. Others recommend using varying disinfectants and sterilization methods such as; quaternary ammonium, sodium dichloroisocyanurate, and etc. This site covers more sterilization methods you can use.  

Can I Clean My Knife Without Chemicals?

If you would like to avoid chemicals altogether, you can always boil water and completely submerge your knife into it for at least two to three minutes. While this is not as effective at cleaning your knife as the chemicals would be, it is a safer alternative than to just wash your knife with soapy water.

Overall, keep your areas clean and disinfected. This includes your counter tops and your cutting boards. Your knife should be submerged in boiling water at the very least but will be the safest if you can bleach it. 

Can I Use My Dishwasher to Clean a Knife?

Yes, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Most knives are dishwater proof, but a knife can ruin when washed in the dishwasher. The high temperatures can damage the handle and the blade. When the rinse cycle is complete, the knife can become rusty if left in the dishwasher to air dry.

It may seem easy just to put the knife in the dishwasher instead of sanitizing and washing it by hand. However, you won’t be happy when you find yourself having to replace the knives sooner than you expected. 

How Can I Tell If My Knife Is Clean?

If you have properly cleaned and sanitized your knife, it will look as good as new! There should be no visible signs of food debris on the handle or the blade. 

You shouldn’t be able to smell the raw chicken. Instead, it should smell metal or perhaps the detergent. If you can still smell the bleach, you need to keep rinsing it to ensure it is completely gone. 


Cutting raw chicken doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience. Yes, it is a little more work because you have to ensure your knife, cutting board, countertops, and hands are free from bacteria. 

However, once you do it a few times, you’ll no longer have to worry about how to clean your knife correctly. There are several ways to clean a knife, and you need to find which method works for you.

The most important thing to remember is that a knife used to cut raw chicken needs to be sanitized before putting it back in the knife block or drawer.   

Raw chicken can be dangerous to your health, but as long as you take the proper precautions, you are safe to enjoy your meal!

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