Pocket knives are very handy devices but they can be exposed to a lot of moisture when they are used outdoors or to help with dirty jobs.
Pocket knives also fold in on themselves, making it more likely that they will get rusty when moisture is closed into the interior of the knife when the blade is shut and the knife is folded.
Pocket knives can actually be cleaned of rust fairly easily, so if your pocket knife has gotten rusty, don’t worry! You will be able to salvage your knife with this easy process!
Cleaning a pocket knife is a necessary part of knife ownership, and you will be glad that you learned how to do this task when you see how much easier it makes it to keep your knife clean and functional.
If you are ready to learn about how to remove rust from your pocket knife, read on!
Table of Contents
How to Remove Rust From a Pocket Knife
1. Open the Blade
Open the blades all the way up on your knife. If the blade is stuck, use a screwdriver to help you to lever it open.
You will want to inspect the blades for chips or divots that might need to be sharpened or smoothed out of the blade.
2. Use Compressed Air
Use compressed air to remove grit, dust, and grime from the surface of the knife.
If you do not have an air compressor at home, you can use the compressed air cans that are made for cleaning out your computer keyboard.
3. Warm and Soapy Water
Soak the knife in some warm and soapy water. You can leave it to soak for about 2 minutes. Make sure that the water is not boiling or scalding.
If your knife’s exterior casing is made of wood, abalone, or mother of pearl, do not soak those surfaces in the hot water.
4. Scrub With an Old Toothbrush
Use an old toothbrush and scrub the knife’s surface with it. You can also scrape off stubborn bits of rust with the flat end of a screwdriver.
If you need an even slimmer tool to remove stubborn rust, use a putty knife carefully.
5. Rinse thoroughly
Once the knife blade looks clean and shiny again, you can rinse off the soap thoroughly.
Make sure that you do not get water into other parts of the knife where it will be trapped and start the moisture and rust cycle all over again.
6. Sun Dry
The best method of drying out your knife is to let it dry in the sun. You should leave it in a warm, sunny place for 15 minutes or so.
If you do not have access to the sun due to the time of the year, you can use a blow dryer on low to make sure that the knife and the blade are thoroughly dried out before you fold it and go back to using it.
What if the Rust Won’t Come off With Scrubbing?
There are some other techniques that can remove rust from a pocket knife and metal surfaces if soapy water alone does not work.
Oxalic acid dissolves rust, but you cannot use this chemical on detailed knife blades with scrolling or other decorative surfaces. You can also use an old trick that involves dish soap and a potato.
To use this method, you will slice a potato in half. Cover the cut section with dish soap and sprinkle with salt. Rub on the rusty surfaces of the knife until the rust starts to come off onto the potato. Rinse the knife thoroughly and dry it properly.
Citric acid can also be used to remove rust. You can buy it in stores in the baking aisle. Be aware that this will damage paint, wood, and other surfaces of the knife, so you will need to be very careful when you use this method of cleaning off the rust on your knife.
Metal Glo is a metal cleaner that is safe for silverware and jewelry as well as knife blades. This can be a great product to use if you have stubborn rust on your pocket knife that will not come off with soap and water.
Prevention is Key
Making sure that your pocket knife is always stored properly and is not folded up with moisture on the blade can make a big difference to the longevity of the knife.
You should always avoid folding the knife blade into the body of the pocket knife when it is wet and if you must do so, you should clean and dry the knife out properly as soon as possible.
Knives that have been stored for a long period of time with moisture in them are often not salvageable, so you want to be sure that you at least wipe off the blade whenever possible before you store it again.
Taking care of your pocket knife will prevent a lot of issues related to rust.
Removing Rust From Your Pocket Knife Doesn’t Have to Be a Struggle
Using these steps and tips and tricks, you can remove rust from your pocket knife with ease.
You will be relieved to be able to spare your pocket knife from being ruined by rust, and you will be able to use the same knife for many years if you continue to take proper care of it once the rust has been removed.
Always remember to check on all of the tools and surfaces of your pocket knife for moisture or other damage that would indicate that the knife has gotten wet at some point.
Even if you have not stored the blade wet, you can still have problems related to rust due to other parts of the knife that have become moist during use.
Proper knife care can prevent rusty build-up, but careful cleaning will allow you to save your pocket knife from becoming a rusty mess that you cannot use again.