How to Clean a Folding Knife

Folding knives are quite common and are very useful tools that you can use for all kinds of purposes.

This style of knife is common for multi-purpose cutting tools as well as pocket knives. These are knives that fold for easy carrying on a belt or in a pocket.

If you own a folding knife and are not sure how to clean it, this is a reasonable question.

Many people do not think about cleaning their folding knife until their knife has started to rust or has frozen closed. You never want to let your knife get to this stage of disrepair.

If you are ready to learn how to clean a folding knife, read on!

Folding knife and folding pliers on black background

What Do I Need to Clean a Folding Knife?

You will need some supplies to clean a folding knife easily and efficiently. These items are common and you will be able to collect them easily for your cleaning process.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpicks
  • Q-tips
  • Paper towels
  • Mild soap
  • Warm water

These tools should be all that you need for your cleaning process no matter what your knife is made of or how big or small it is.

How to Clean a Folding Knife (Steps)

1. Mix some soap into the warm water. Make sure that the water is not so hot that it is uncomfortable for you to work with it. You will need just a few drops of soap in your water.

2. Open the knife up if you can open it. Make sure to avoid getting a wooden handle wet if possible.

3. Use your toothbrush to scrub at the grime on the blades. Be sure to clean all of the blade surfaces even if you think they are clean.

4. Use toothpicks to scrub out the nooks and crannies of the ends of the blades and any area that the toothbrush can’t get into.

5. Rinse with warm water, being careful of the handle if you think that water will damage it. Make sure that you rinse all of the surfaces carefully and thoroughly.

6. Open and shut all of the folding parts of the knife to be sure that you shake out any water. Use paper towels to dry the knife, paying close attention to the areas that might collect water in the middle of the knife.

7. Open up any accessory locations that tools are stored in a pocket knife and shake out the water. Water that stays inside the knife can cause rust or other damage to the knife if it is allowed to remain after the cleaning process.

8. Use Q-tips to apply petroleum-based knife lubricants to all the moving parts of the knife. Make sure that you do not spread the lubricant onto the blade itself. You can use mineral oil or vegetable oil for this lubrication process.

9. Wipe the whole knife down with a soft towel and dry everything off thoroughly.

What Do I Do if My Knife is Frozen Shut?

If you think that the blade is stuck closed or open and the mechanism is not to blame, you will need to unstick the blade. Rust is usually the reason that your blade will not unfold or will not close again.

If the rust has progressed too far, you may not be able to save the knife, so you want to be proactive when you think that rust might be causing the issues you are having with your folding knife.

Put some vinegar and baking soda into a bowl. Let the knife rest in the solution for a few hours. Take it out and see if you can work the knife open and closed.

If the blade is still stuck, soak the knife again for another couple of hours and try again. Wipe off the vinegar and baking soda mix, then rinse thoroughly.

Make sure that you dry the knife carefully and apply some light heat from a hairdryer if you think that you cannot get into the small spaces around the mechanism. Apply oil for lubrication and make sure that your knife blade and the mechanism are working.

If you have a single part of the knife that is stuck, you might just need to apply this solution to the base of the blade and scrub gently to work it into the base of the knife blade.

Once you can get the blade moving, you can clean the other parts of the knife blade that were covered up when the knife was locked open or shut.

You will have to assess if the issue is the mechanism or the knife blade itself before you start working on the knife.

Preventing Rust

It is important to at least wipe the moisture off the blade of your folding knife before you close the blade. Locking moisture into the knife will always lead to rust and then you will have a big struggle to get the knife open or shut.

Keeping your knife clean and dry will make a big difference in the prevention of rust that can affect the operation of your knife blade.

Prevention is a much better method of knife care than cleaning up a mess that you have created after the fact.

Make sure that you always take a second to wipe off your knife and then store it. This will keep it from having issues later.

Cleaning a Folding Knife is Easy

Taking care of and cleaning a folding knife is really easy. Most of the process of cleaning a folding knife is about making sure that you dry it before you put it away.

Cleaning your knife after each use is a great way to prevent the need for major cleaning efforts in the future. Make sure that you clean your knife carefully after any use that has gotten it dirty, wet, or grimy.

Taking care of a folding knife can be easy if you are careful about cleaning it thoroughly after each use.

Regular maintenance and careful cleaning will make your folding knife last for years to come.

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