How to Remove Rust From a Knife Blade

Written by shae hazelton
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How to Remove Rust From a Knife Blade
Almost any knife can succumb to rust without proper maintenance. (hunting knife on white 2 image by Kathy Burns from

Moisture and oxygen combined are a metal knife's worst nightmare. The rust can stain the shiny metal, lower its integrity and blunt its once sharp edge. Rust is a problem you can't put off if you want to keep your knives in top working order. If you leave the rust to continue forming, you may end up with a brittle piece of oxidised metal that is unusable. Taking swift action any time you notice the formation of rust on your knife can result in a blade that will last for generations.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Soft, clean cloths
  • Penetrating oil
  • Ear swab
  • Very fine steel wool (available at hardware stores)

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  1. 1

    Lay the knife on a piece of clean cloth. For pocketknives and other foldable blades, extend the blade out of the handle. Spray the blade with a rust-removing agent. Allow the rust remover to sit for five minutes so it can absorb into the rust stain.

  2. 2

    Wipe the blade with a sturdy, lint-free cloth. Start the wiping stroke at the blunt edge of the blade and move toward the sharp end. Do not reverse the direction of the strokes or you will cut the cloth and possibly your fingers.

  3. 3

    Wipe around the handle of the blade and any crevices on the blade with an ear swab. The swab is small enough to fit into the hard-to-reach places of the blade.

  4. 4

    Scratch the remaining rust stains with an abrasive pad. Move the abrasive pad in the same motion you moved the cloth. This may leave an oily, rusty surface on your knife, so clean the blade of the knife with a clean, lint-free rag.

Tips and warnings

  • Never use a wire brush to remove rust from your knife blade. The wire brush can remove the intricate designs and labels on the knife.

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