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How to Remove Rust from a Knife

Article By: Suraiya Fardous - January 11, 2024
How to Remove Rust from a Knife

The knife holds great importance in the kitchen as a versatile tool that serves various purposes beyond simply slicing fruits. But a lot of things can get in the way over time; either the edges get dull, or the knife catches rust. The latter not only dulls your knife faster, but the oxidized iron can get in your food, which is harmful to your health. So, we’re going to learn how to remove rust from a knife.

How to prevent getting rust on your knife

But this begs the bigger question: how do we even get on our knife in the first place, and how do we prevent it? Well, if you know anything about chemistry, you’d know that the main culprit of any metal rusting is water and salt in some cases. If your knife is kept somewhere damp, without covering it, it will rust. And yes, stainless steel can rust, too, just at a slower rate.

So, how do we prevent it from happening? For starters, you can keep your knives away from water and dry them after washing them down to their sheaths. You can also keep them in a knife holder if you have one. If you have it, you can apply wax to your knife after you wash it every time. You can, alternatively, cover the knife in WD-40 as well.

How to remove rust from a knife | 4 simple and effective methods

So, how do you remove those pesky oxidized patches of rust from your knife? We’re going to go over how to remove rust from a knife with lemons, baking soda, vinegar, and WD-40. There are many ways to get rid of rust from a knife, so which one you go with is up to you.

remove rust from a knife

Remove rust with lemon

This method, and the next two methods, are for minor rusts. You might be surprised to find out that lemons can help remove rust, though it’s for very minor rusts; we’re talking about the early stages here. This does take at least two hours, so keep that in mind.

  • Cover the rust on the knife with salt
  • Squeeze a freshly cut piece of lemon on top of the salt
  • Wait for at least two hours
  • Clean the knife by gently rubbing it with a lemon peel and a soft sponge.
  • Rinse with water and let it dry.

Remove rust with baking soda

If you find using lemon ineffective or too long, try removing rust with baking soda. It’s faster but more involved. You only need baking soda, dishwasher soap, super fine steel wool, a bowl of water, and a toothbrush. So, let’s go over this step-by-step. This process works on light rust, so keep that in mind.

  • Wash the blade with mild soap water and remove any debris.
  • In a bowl, mix water and baking soda, using a ratio of one part water to three parts baking soda.
  • Use the toothbrush to apply the baking soda paste to the knife.
  • Scrub the paste over the rust spots with the toothbrush.
  • Afterward, brush the blade with super fine steel wool.
  • Finally, rinse the knife under warm water
  • Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the surface clean and allow it to air dry.

Removing rust with vinegar

Now, if the rust proves too stubborn to remove with baking soda or lemon, then you can try vinegar. It’s stronger than baking soda, and though mechanically similar to the lemon method, using it is faster. You only need a container that you can submerge the knife in and a bottle of white vinegar.

  • Fill a cup with white vinegar.
  • Soak the blade in the cup for at least 5 minutes.
  • Afterward, wipe the rust off with an abrasive scouring pad.
  • Rinse and remove any vinegar from the blade under warm water.
  • Finally, wipe the knife dry with a microfiber cloth.

Removing rust with WD-40

If the rust is too strong for lemon, baking soda, or even vinegar, it’s time to bring out the nuclear option. WD-40 was made and designed to remove stubborn stains and rust, especially strong ones. Make sure that you’re wearing a mask for this one since we’re dealing with a spray here. So, how do you use it, and what else can it do?

  • Prepare a mixture by combining warm water and a gentle detergent soap.
  • Dampen a sponge in the soapy water and scrub the knife with it.
  • Spray WD-40 over the rust spots on the knife and wait 10 minutes.
  • Use sandpaper, preferably 400 grit, to scrub off the rust.
  • Repeat until the rust has completely left the knife.
  • Clean the knife to remove any rusty debris.

Alternatively, if you want to add extra protection to your knife, you can also use WD-40 to do that. Simply place the knife on top of a towel and spray the blade of the knife with WD-40. To ensure you’ve completely covered the knife, start by spraying the hilt to the tip of the blade and repeat for the other side.

Restoring your knife’s cutting-edge sheen

Rusts can not only ruin your food, but they can also damage your knife, often for good. But if you can act fast, the damage isn’t permanent, and the knife can be recovered from it. Just remember to keep your knife dry and properly stored. From this tutorial, we hope you’ve learned how to remove rust from a knife and prevent it from happening again.

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