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Mandolines and Safety

By Staff

One of the most important things to keep in mind when using a mandoline in the kitchen is mandoline safety. As with any other sharp or potentially dangerous objects or utensils that are used in the kitchen, mandoline safety is the key to making sure that you and your family remain safe and injury free while using a tool that can save you a great deal of preparation time. The main reason that mandoline safety is an issue is that a mandoline is basically a food slicer that contains an extremely sharp blade. The user must manually move a piece of food back and forth across the blade in order to slice the food, so keeping a few mandoline safety tips in mind when operating the equipment will ensure that no cuts or injuries are sustained in the process.

Mandolines and Safety

Mandolines operate by sliding a piece of food along a surface until it comes in contact with a sharp blade that is connected to a parallel surface. The difference in the distance between the two surfaces determines how thick the slice is that is cut. Mandolines come with some type of holder that is designed to hold the food securely as it is moved across the mandoline towards the blade – these are typically called hand guards. This holder usually has prongs to hold the food in place as it is pushed across the mandoline’s surface. A food holder, or hand guard, should always be used rather than your fingers or hands. This is the most important aspect of mandoline safety to keep in mind when operating the utensil in order to avoid cuts and injuries.

Another important aspect of mandoline safety is to make sure that when you are operating the utensil, you are not distracted in any way. It only takes a split second to lose focus on what you are doing and inadvertently cut yourself on the blade of the mandoline. As with all sharp objects, care should always be taken whenever handing this kitchen gadget. A mandoline is not an overly dangerous object but care and common sense should always be utilized to ensure the utmost in mandoline safety.

In addition to the process of cutting food on a mandoline slicer, the utensil should be cleaned after each use. Cleaning itself is an important part of practicing mandoline safety. Not only does a clean mandoline operate more smoothly, causing less likelihood of a slipup and an injury, but cleaning is also important when it comes to mandoline safety because of food related issues that can arise when food is left on an object. Keeping your mandolin clean ensures that there will be no bacteria building up on the surface of the utensil that can potentially make you sick when used in the future.

Cleaning a mandoline can be potentially more dangerous that slicing foods on it because the blade must be cleaned. Therefore, another aspect of mandoline safety relates to how the blade is handled during the cleaning process. If the mandolin can be taken apart for cleaning, it should be done so very carefully. When cleaning the blade, the blade should be wiped in the direction against the sharp side of the blade so that your fingers are not pressing towards the sharp side of the blade. Gently wipe around the blade with a mild solution of soap and water using a towel. Do not use your fingers to clean directly on the edge of the blade.

Wearing a cut resistant glove during the operation and cleaning of the utensil helps to maintain mandoline safety. Safety gloves will not completely protect against cuts from the blade, but can reduce the potential of injury.

The next mandoline safety tip relates to operation of the utensil by children. Children not be allowed to operate a mandoline unsupervised and without proper instruction, and young children should never be allowed to operate a kitchen mandoline, even if supervision is available. If you wouldn’t let your child handle a sharp knife, then you shouldn’t let them operate a mandoline.

Overall, using a kitchen mandoline is a rather safe process. However, since this kitchen gadget does contain a sharp blade that can cause injury if not used or handled properly, it is important to follow a few mandoline safety rules to keep the user injury free. By keeping in mind the mandoline safety tips outlined above, you can feel secure that your kitchen mandoline is an easy and safe kitchen gadget that will ease your preparation efforts in the kitchen.

Published: October 9, 2009

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