Regularly maintaining your Wusthof knives, insures a lifetime of cooking pleasure. The key to keeping your knives sharp and long-lasting is to keep the edge of the blade aligned.
With regular use, any knife's edge will lose its sharpness. Under magnification, you can see that the cutting edge takes on a wavy S-shape. It is important to frequently re-align the edge of your Wusthof knife's blade with a Wusthof Honing Steel, so the edge of the blade remains straight. If a steel is not regularly used, eventually these S-shaped curves will bend back over themselves and permanently damage the knife.
The key to using a honing steel is to hold the blade at a consistent 20 degree angle against the steel as you simulate the motion of the blade "shaving" the surface of the steel. You move from the "heel" of the knife (the handle end) to the "toe" (the tip of the blade). It is usually helpful to rest the point of the steel against a firm object, such as a towel on a cutting board, to keep the steel in place while you align the knife.
Wusthof knives should be hand-washed with warm, sudsy water and a sponge. It is not recommended to put your Wusthof knives in the dishwasher.
There are two main reasons not to put knives in the dishwasher.
# 1 You can easily be cut when unloading the dishwasher.
# 2 The blades can wear away the plastic or rubber coating in the dishwasher baskets and racks, causing the metal to rust thus shortening the life of your dishwasher.