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Guide: This Is How Professional Chefs Store Their Knives

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Many chefs wonder about the best way to store their knives, an expensive investment. Amongst the many tools that professional chefs use, knives are one of the most important.

These simple yet vital tools need to be stored in a manner that makes them easily accessible, protects them from damage, allows them to be kept hygienically clean, and ensures that they cannot inflict accidental injury when being accessed. We explain the best way to do this. 

Professional chefs store their knives using various practical storage systems such as knife rolls (or wraps), magnetic holders, sayas, and knife blocks. Professional chefs depend on their knives for their livelihood; thus, looking after their knives by correctly storing them is a vital part of their job. 

In the following article, we will explore some practical storage options that professional chefs use for their knives and how they go about it. This will ensure your valuable and essential investment stays safe, sharp, and easy to access when needed. 

What Do Chefs Use to Store Knives
What Do Chefs Use to Store Knives

If you are interested in checking out the best magnetic knife holders for walls, you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).

The Importance of Correct Knife Storage

Whether In restaurants, hotels, homes, or when camping, hunting, or barbecuing, knives are an integral part of the food preparation process and require some thought as to how they will be stored when not in use. Easy access to the stored knife must be a significant consideration.

Whether you are a professional chef, a home-grown cooking enthusiast, or simply a slave to your family, wouldn’t it be nice to know where your knives are and to have them easily accessible when you need them? 

In addition, it would give you peace of mind knowing that they are being stored in a manner that ensures personal safety and prevents damage to their vital but delicate, sharp edges. 

Good sharp knives don’t like being bashed around in a drawer, and it is also not a good idea for fingers to ruminate around looking for the right knife in a drawer full of excellent sharp blades.

It is a given that under those circumstances, the sharp edge of your blade is almost guaranteed to find your fingers before you find the knife!

What Do Chefs Use to Store Knives

There are many options on how chefs store their knives, but not all are good for knives. Find out the four best options for storing your knives below:

  • Knife Rolls 

Knife rolls (or wraps) are a popular choice for chefs. Made from leather or a heavy fabric, knife rolls ensure that the blades are kept separate. This prevents metal-to-metal contact of the blades’ sharp edges while traveling or being stored. 

Being quick and easy to roll up, they make storage in a drawer or counter a safe and convenient option. Knife rolls are a sensible and popular choice for professional chefs, especially if they are traveling or need to store knives safely and securely when not in use.

TIP: If you are interested in knife rolls, we recommend buying an Asaya Waxed Canvas Knife Roll (Amazon link).

  • Magnetic knife strips

Magnetic knife strips, often made of metal or plastic, are fixed to a wall in the kitchen and are a practical means for storing knives and being a great space-saving option. Your knives are stored off your counter, out of the way, easily identifiable, and just as easy to retrieve. 

Commercial kitchens in hotels and restaurants often utilize this system because knives stored on magnetic holders out in the open are easier to keep hygienically clean and sanitized.

This system allows the right knife to be easily accessed and brought quickly into action. Time, of course, is money in the commercial world.

TIP: If you are interested in a magnetic knife holder, we recommend buying a USA-made Walnut holder (Amazon link).

  • Knife blocks 

Knife blocks are sturdy multiple knife holders, usually made of wood, that sit easily and safely on a countertop. They occupy little counter space compared to the more outstanding storage facility they offer. 

One of the downsides is that the knife slots are tiny and difficult to clean correctly, thus creating a hygiene issue if not cared for regularly. One of the easiest ways to care for a knife block is to put a clean knife back into it.

But what do you do if you want to keep your knives in a drawer? Drawers do help to keep the kiddie’s eyes off knives.

Understood is the certainty that it is not a great idea to jumble all your knives together in a kitchen drawer because of the increased chance of personal injury and damaging the blade edge as they bang against each other. 

Fortunately, there are knife blocks specially designed to go into drawers. These knife blocks are safe for your fingers, protect your knives by keeping them separate from each other, and are easy to access.

Always ensure that the blade’s sharp edge is uppermost when using a knife or drawer block. Resting the blade edge down on a holder will tend to dull the edge.

TIP: If you are interested in a magnetic knife holder, we recommend buying a Mantello Bamboo Knife Block (Amazon link).

  • Sayas 

Sayas, which are individual wooden sheaths, preferably tailor-made for each knife, make a practical and attractive storage system for knives. An added advantage is they are easily portable, safe to carry around, and will still protect your blade.  

TIP: Knife care and maintenance do not only involve honing and sharpening your knives but also how they are kept when not in use. Check out the best tips in the article below:
Storing & Organizing Kitchen Knives: 5 Proven Tips & Hacks

How Do Professional Chefs Store Their Knives

How Do Professional Chefs Store Their Knives
How Do Professional Chefs Store Their Knives

There are several practical methods that professional chefs use to store their knives which will usually encompass one or more of the following:

  • Knife rolls. 
  • Wall-mounted magnetic knife holder strips. 
  • Knife boxes for countertops.
  • Knife boxes for drawers. 
  • Sayas (Wooden knife sheaths).  

BTW: If you are interested in buying the best cutting board, you can find our recommendations below:

  • The best overall: Virginia Kitchen Boys Cutting Board (Amazon link). This fantastic cutting board is made from sustainable walnut wood from the United States and brings almost perfect safety when cutting with your knives.
  • Alternative: Yoshihiro Cutting Board (Amazon link). Professional traditional Japanese cutting board that chefs around the world use.
  • Cheaper option: Shun Cultery Cutting Board (Amazon link). Another Japanese cutting board stands out, especially for its simplicity and affordable price.

What Should You Do Before Storing a Knife

It would be a good idea to add “and what should you not do before storing a knife” to this question so that we will address that bit simultaneously.

Do and Don’ts

Wash your knives in warm soapy water but never leave them lying in the water as that will eventually damage a wooden handle. Also, believe it or not, some soaps have a certain amount of salt in them, which can promote rust.

After washing the knife, thoroughly dry it immediately with a soft, clean cloth and put it back in its correct storage unit. Never leave the knife wet with soap suds to air dry. Disposable paper towels are also perfect for drying your knives.

Do not put your knives in a dishwasher. The continual heat and wetness will damage both wooden and plastic handles. Dishwasher soap also has a certain amount of abrasive material, so with time, it can dull the shine on a blade.

Wash your knife block in clean soapy water. The knife slots can accumulate debris which encourages bacterial growth.

The slots must be carefully cleaned out; a pipe cleaner and vinegar solution can help you do the job. You must ensure that the knife slots in the block are rinsed out well, and the block is thoroughly dry before your knives are reinserted.

TIP: One way that many people store their knives is on a magnetic strip. Is this option suitable for knives? Find out the answer in the article below:
Do Magnets Damage Knives? Here’s the Complete Answer

Where Should Knives be Stored?

Several simple, effective, safe, and practical ways to store knives exist. You will find kife wraps, wall-mounted magnetic strips, knife blocks for countertops, knife block inserts for drawers, and sayas (a wooden sheath for a knife).

Each solution is effective for knife storage, but the best system for you will depend on personal circumstances and your work area configuration.

Something we don’t think about is that personal safety can be severely compromised when storing knives openly in your home.

In high crime areas or any “crime area”, it provides an opportunistic lousy guy with an easily visible and easily accessible weapon. Give this some thought in your decision-making.

Knife Safety

No article on razor-sharp knives should end without a solid reference to the safety aspects of using knives in the kitchen.

So, as a parting shot, here are some essential safety tips for knife users:

  • Never pick up a knife by the blade; even if you think it is dull, pick it up by its handle.
  • Use the right tool for the job on hand. A thin knife for a delicate job. Use a decent size knife to cut a pumpkin in half, not a little vegetable peeler.
  • Do not cut towards your body or any digits; cut away from them. A slip may damage your food item, but you won’t have to sew a digit back.
  • Cut on a flat, stable cutting board. Cutting directly on your countertop is a no-no, as doing so will permanently damage it, your knife edge, or both.
  • Wash the knife immediately after use; hygiene is vital, particularly after cutting meat or fish products.
  • Wear a cutting glove, the best are made from Kevlar, and it will ensure that your digits remain intact for a lifetime. 
  • Do not jumble your knives together in a drawer; scratching around looking for the right knife could give you a nasty cut.
  • If you drop a knife, do not try and grab it with your hand or put your foot out to soften its landing. Let it hit the floor. Then pick it up and wash it!
  • Keep your eyes on the task, don’t get sidetracked, and look around while cutting.
  • If you must walk around with a knife, carry it point down or in a sheath, stabbing co-workers accidentally is not suitable for your employment record.
  • Keep your knives sharp; blunt knives encourage the use of force, which causes accidents. Know how to sharpen them. 
  • Take care when washing your knife, or you will cut yourself.


Well, you now know how to look after your knives, and you have a selection of methods that professional chefs use to store their knives.

Rolls, magnetic strips, knife boxes, and sayas are all excellent options. Select the one that works best for your environment. 

TIP: Transporting knives requires some planning which involves the safety of the packer, the transporter, the unpacker, and the knife itself! Check out the best tips in the article below:
Packing Kitchen Knives For Moving (7 Proven & Safe TIPS)