How to remove rust spots from stainless steel knives

Updated February 21, 2017

Rust spots may occur on stainless steel knives if, for example, someone left the knives in a damp sink or in a damp metal pot or pan. Inappropriate cleaning measures, such as cleaning with harsh household cleaners rather than mild dish soaps, may also lead to rust as come cleaners are too harsh for stainless steel and cause corrosion. Rust is not typically difficult to clean off these knives, however.

Put on rubber gloves. Dampen a cloth in white vinegar.

Rub the vinegar over the rusty areas. If some of the rust comes off, continue with this method. If not, continue on to Step 3.

Rinse off the knives. Spray WD-40 on the rust spots--removing rust from metal is one of WD-40s many uses.

Use a dry cloth to rub the rust spots. If the rust does not immediately star coming off onto the cloth, spray the knife again with WD-40 and wait a minute before wiping it again.

Wipe the knives and respray with the WD-40 until the rust is removed.

Wash the knives in warm water with dish soap to remove all of the WD-40 residue. Dry each knife completely with a towel before storing.


Prevent rust on stainless steel knives by using mild cleaners when washing them and by drying them completely before storing. Don't leave knives sitting damp overnight. In addition, Catra suggests washing knives immediately after use, rather than sticking them to wait in the dishwasher until the next load is run.


Catra warns that you should avoid products containing bleach or harsh detergents when cleaning stainless steel flatware.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Vinegar
  • Cloths
  • WD-40
  • Dish detergent
  • Towel
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