How To Get Rust Off A Pocket Knife?|13 Easy Methods To Get Your New Pocket Knife

As a handyman, the pocket knife is an essential item. However, just clean and sharp blades work effectively.

So knowing how to get the rust off a pocket knife is a crucial thing. You can use pocket knives in a lot of tasks.

For instance, while fishing or hunting, it is needful. Also, they find some uses in various chores around your home.

Whether you find your knife in an old toolbox or you left your preferable knife outdoors during a rainy day by mistake, you will probably encounter an unpleasant case of rust.

The rusty knives are harmful, useless, and have a terrible look. This post is a complete reference on how to get the rust off a pocket knife.

It will also provide you with fast essential tips on protecting your blades from rusting in the first place.

How To Get Rust Off A Pocket Knife? 13 Easy Techniques To Do That

1- Soak and Wipe

2- A Good Rubbing

3 –Scrape and Scrape a little more

4-Using Baking Soda

5 – Use Vinegar

6-Penetrating Oil – WD-40

7- Use a Dish Soap With Salty Potato

8-Salt and Lemon Juice Way

9-Remove Rust Using Citric Acid

10- Metal Glo for Rust Removal

11-Potato Method

12-Onion Method

13-Dirt Method

Before we start, you need to know why your pocket knife is getting rusted from the beginning.

Practical Causes of Rust

Practical Causes of Rust- How to get rust off a pocket knife

Rust starts to appear on any metal with iron when the humidity exists, even in the air.

How quickly rust starts to build up and how quickly it will propagate all count on many factors.

One of the highly essential factors is the steel kind. Carbon steel rusts far more readily and fastly than stainless ones.

Stainless steel itself is relatively rust-resistant. However, it is not a rust-proof like is commonly considered.

The modern steel that has a high nitrogen content is extraordinarily rust-resistant.

Other than steel knives can come from ceramics, carbon fibers, plastics, and more. When your knife is not from steel, it will not rust.

Plus, your knife’s finish is an essential factor as well. A lot of knives have not finished, bare steel.

Meaning that the whole other things are even, but they can rust and need additional care.

Knives have a surface layer that can resist rusting. The rust resistance degree depends on its finishing.

Consider that many blades surface, usually the bearing ones on the folding knives, and the edges can generally be highly vulnerable to rust due to their un-finished feature.

More so, there are two highly essential factors to determine the rusting vulnerability of a knife.

The first factor is how you usually care for the blade. In contrast, the second factor depends on the surrounding environment type.

The environment is always the main worry. Places with high moisture will create rust fastly. Salt, water air also have the same moisture consequences. Immerse in water or keeping the knife wet can accelerate corrosion.

Another factor some people don’t count is the corrosive quality of sweat that comes from the body. That factor is very variable.

You can know if your sweat is mostly corrosive in a single way. This way is to observe the surfaces you interact with orderly.

Search for a brown fingerprint on the knife. Or look for these marks on the pistol if carrying it.

If you find these marks on the blade, you probably have some pretty severe sweat.

You need to be aware of that. You need to maintain and care for your knife more often.

Ways to Remove Rust

How to get rust off a pocket knife? Well, it occurs. Even with the best efforts and care, the pocket knives have rust on them.

It may occur on the blades. Or may on the bolster or the guards, so you need to know how to get rust off a pocket knife.

It may even be on the screws. How and why this happened is not essential. Assure to take it off your pocket knife.

Some knives will be badly rusted through or have severe scarring on the blade. Assure to go for a knife smith help.

Remember, rust can corrode your metal away. That can make your knife unsafe.

You should have the skills or expertise to clean it without ruining the metal. if not, look for a professional assistance

For rust removal, Try to start with the least aggressive way. Go for the following method if it is not successful.

Materials you will use during the process are available at well-stocked gun shops or knives specialty stores.

If none of those near to you, look at hardware stores near to you. You may find these materials or near approximations there:

Getting Started

How to get rust off a pocket knife? Start by assessing the areas and degrees of rust on your blade. Look for an isolated patch or some spots which you will notice.

Knowing why your knife rusted will be helpful. Disassembling your pocket knife will not be necessary.

The rusting reason may be dipping in water or soaking in sweat from being in the pocket or belt the whole day.

Before you start, put shop mats or old towels under your knife. Now you have to wear your protective gloves and eye protection.

Getting a little bit of rust or rust remover within your eyes will hurt so much. Don’t allow this to occur to you.

Again if you go with these methods and do not work on your knife, you need specialist assistance.

How To Get Rust Off A Pocket Knife?

1- Soak and Wipe

Soak and wipe to remove  rust off a pocket knife

This is the first way of our how to get rust off a pocket knife guide. This way is easy as it gets.

You need to attack the rust directly using some rust remover. The short soak may be orderly as well.

This method can always work on dust rust and light rust residues forming lately, so there is no chance to deep within the steel. This is how to get rust off a pocket knife with this technique.

Required Tools

  • A rag
  • Rust remover


  • Step 1-Wet Rag And Rust Remover
  • Step 2-Wipe rust spots again and again in the grain direction. You can see the rust start to go away.
  • Step 3- If the remains are hard to go, then soak a rag with the rust remover and put it on these rust spots. Make sure to see the direction on the rust remover. Don’t leave it to soak for a longer time than needed.
  • Step 4-After that, start wiping these rust spots again to know if it is coming off.
  • Step 5-After removing the whole rust traces, wipe your knife using a dry rag.
  • Step 6-Lightly oil the whole surface of your knives using quality oils. This is how to get rust off a pocket knife with this method.

2- A Good Rubbing

Get rust off a pocket knife with a good rubbing

If the first way does not work, then you will go for more aggressive tools. Consider that these aggressive tools will function.

However, there is a chance to leave swirl signs on your knife. Just be careful. This is how to get rust off a pocket knife with a good rubbing technique.

Required Tools

  • Rust remover
  • Copper brush
  • Dry, clean cloth
  • Oil

Step 1

Wet rusty sections using a rust remover

Step 2

Wet the copper brush with rust remover

Step 3

Gently rub rusty spots back and forth using the brush in the direction of grains. Examine if the rust begins to remove.

Step 4

In case it does not work, start applying more pressure with the brush. Make sure to follow the steel grains. -Renew rust remover on the rusty areas from time to time.

Step 5

After removing the whole rust traces, wipe the steel using a dry, clean cloth.

Step 6

Lightly oil the whole surface of your knives using quality oils. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife this way.

3- Scrape and Scrape a Little More

That is another step of how to get rust off a pocket knife guide. Anything highly aggressive than that will be risky for your knife.

Applying too aggressive chemicals can potentially ruin your knife. This is how to get rust off a pocket knife.

Required Tools

  • Penny: Actual copper penny
  • Rust remover
  • Steel wool

Step 1

Wet corroded parts using the rust remover, then leave it to soak for the suggested period.

Step 2

Use a penny, scrub rust deposits in the grains directions. The copper pennies are strong enough to go through rust.

However, they can only leave signs removed by themselves. For that reason, the copper penny is the best for this task.

Step 3

If removing heavy rust deposits, reuse rust remover, also turn into steel wool.

Step 4

Use it for buffing infected areas in the grain’s directions. Never swirl or do circular motions.

It can lead to hard-to-take-off cobweb-pattern scratches on the knife. See if the rust is removed.

Step 5

After removing the whole rust traces, wipe the steel using a dry, clean rag.

Step 6

Lightly oil the whole surface of your knives with quality oils. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife with this method.

4- Baking Soda Method

Use baking soda to remove the rust off a pocket knife.

Required Tools

  • Baking soda
  • Some water
  • Old toothbrush
  • Steel wool (or sponge)
  • Rag

Step 1- Cleaning The Knife

How to get rust off a pocket knife with baking soda? The first step you have to do is to start cleaning your knife thoroughly. This step is essential as the dirt can influence the rust removal process.

Please do your best not to use water as it is the main reason for your knife rusting.

Instead, add a type of cleaning solution, then start wiping it with a piece of cloth.

Step 2- Make a Paste From Baking Soda

The following steps are to make a paste from baking soda.

  • Put some baking soda within a bowl
  • Then, place a little water (or lemon juice) on the baking soda.
  • Continue stirring it up till it turns into a paste.
  • Scrub with a Toothbrush

Add this paste to your old toothbrush. Then try to cover the whole blade. This step can be done using a toothbrush if your pocket knife is not too corroded.

Step 3- Using Steel Wools or Abrasive Sponges

If your pocket knife is too corroded, then a bit more abrasion will help take off the rust.

Steel wools are better for this case. But consider that scrubbing too hard will mess up the blade.

Scrubbing too hard will damage the finish or cause blade scratching. Slightly abrasive sponges are another alternative for steel wools.

Step 4- Wiping the Blade

Finally, wipe your blade with a rag. This step is to take off any excess baking soda powder.

If you want to add additional care to your pocket knife, add a little mineral oil afterward.

In this way, you will lubricate and protect your blade from rusting in the future. This is how to get rust off a pocket knife with this technique.

5 – Use White Vinegar

Use white vinegar to remove the rust off a pocket knife.

Required Tools 

  • A cup
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Rag

Step 1-Pour the White Vinegar into a Cup.

How to get rust off a pocket knife with white vinegar? Make sure to go with white vinegar.

It involves a compound named acetic acid. Also, this substance is what attacks the rust. Other vinegar kinds might leave spots.

Step 2- Soaking Your Infected Pocket Knife

If soaking the entire blade (or knife) is not what you want, then dip a paper towel within the vinegar then start wrapping it to cover your blades.

Just leave your pocket knife in the vinegar for approximately five minutes. Any longer will be risky as it may damage your knife.

Step 3- Wiping Your Blade

When you finish, start wiping down your knife. In case you find remains of rust, you may want to go for the baking soda or WD-40 technique. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife with this method.

6-Penetrating Oil – WD-40

Use WD-40 to remove the rust off a pocket knife.

How to get rust off a pocket knife with penetrating oils? It is one of the best methods to remove rust from your pocket knife.

But it isn’t for knives that you use in food preparation. Hence this compound will be harmful if you ingest it.

For kitchen knives, use olive oils or other types of vegetable oil instead of it. That method is a fast and effective technique to clean pocket knives.

Required Tools

  • WD-40
  • Fine sandpapers
  • Rag

Step 1- Sprinkle WD-40 On Your Pocket Knife

Spray it on the rust off the areas of your knife.

Step 2- Gently Sand Your Pocket Knife

You will have to apply highly fine sandpapers (think 400) to clean the corrode blade gently. Please do not touch its edge, as this can mess it up.

Step 3-Wipe It Down

Finally, wipe your pocket knife down. That should solve your problem. Again, Do not do this method for knives used for food preparation. This is how to get rust off a pocket knife with this technique.

7- Use a Dish Soap With Salty Potato

Use a dish soap with salty potato to remove the rust off a pocket knife.

Required Tools

  • A dish soap
  • Salt
  • Potatoes
  • Knife

Step 1-Cut the Potato.

This is how to get rust off a pocket knife with potatoes, slice the potato into two even parts.

That will help you to reach it internally easily. The interior contains oxalic acid. It also provides a flat knife surface that you can scrub easily.

Step 2-Add Dish Soap

You already divide the potato into two sections. Add the soap to cover the two halves. Be sure the soap completely covers the newly sliced part.

Step 3-Spray Salt

After adding the soap to the potato, spray salt on it. Whereas oxalic acid can assist in rust dissolving, salt acts as mild abrasives to get the rust off.

Step 4-Scrub the Rust off

Take the corroding blade, then scrub it in the halved potato. You can do rubbing easier.

Firstly you have to stick the corrode knife section in a potato for one or two hours. After two hours, scrub the blade on the potato with soap and salt.

Step 5- Rinse

Wash the blade entirely once or twice. Assure to get rid of all the salt traces away from your knife.

After that, use a smooth towel to dry your blade. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife with this method.

8-Salt and Lemon Juice Way

Use salt and lemon juice to remove the rust off a pocket knife.

How to get the rust off a pocket knife with salt and lemon juice? Do you know why that way is beneficial to clean various kinds of pocket knives and get the rust off? The reason is the lemon juice acidity added to the abrasiveness.

These factors will deliver stunning results in corroding knife cleaning. This is how to get rust off a pocket knife with salt and lemon juice.

Required Tools

  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Steel wool

Step 1-Apply The Salt On The Pocket Knife

Start by spreading the salt to cover the corroding areas of the knife. You might want to do it to a single side of the blade each time. Then, to cover the two sides, repeat the process.

Step 2-Use Lemon Juice

Cut a lemon, then press its juice on the salt covering the knife. Leave the combination of salt and lemon to settle for approximately a couple of hours.

Step 3-Use the Lemon Rind to Clean the Rust

After a couple of hours, rub-off the rust away with a lemon rind. But if the corrode is tough to remove, get steel wool for a bit of thorough scrubbing. However, assure not to take off the finishing coat from your knife.

Step 4- Rinse

Wash the salt, corrode, and lemon out of your knife. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly. Start wiping your blade with towels. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife with this method.

9-Remove Rust By Citric Acid

Use citric acid to remove the rust off a pocket knife.

It is a good technique to remove rust. This compound is a popular item that you can get from a supermarket.

So it is a highly effective method in corroding spot removal. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife using citric acid.

Step 1

Pour approximately three tablespoons of citric acid into a bowl with warm water.

Step 2

Immerse the knife and leave it for a single night.

Step 3

The following day, only rub off newly dissolved rust.

Step 4

This method has one major downside. It can remove rust combined with other paint layers on the knife.

However, it is an excellent method to clean stainless steel knives. That is why it is a perfect way of removing rust from a kitchen knife. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife using citric acid.

10- Metal Glo for Rust Removal

It is a famous chemical compound. It will be helpful to remove stubborn rust off from your knife. You should do this on the carbon or a stainless steel knife.

This compound is a carefully formulated solution. It is safe for cookware, silverware, knife, or even jewelry.

Step 1

While applying Metal Glo or other various chemicals on your knife, scrub it along the grain pattern to protect the blade from getting scratched. 

Step 2

Add a thick paste of this material equally to your knife’s metallic section.

Natural Ways to Clean Rusty Pocket Knife

If the items you want to remove the rust off from your old knife are not available close to your home, you can apply some natural ways.

1-Potatoes Method

 Remove the rust off a pocket knife with potatoes.

Specific foods act as a good source for corroding knife cleaning. The potatoes are remarkably efficient food to clean corroding knives due to their oxalic acid. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife using potatoes.

Step 1

Only stick the knife into the potato for several hours. 

Step 2

Then when removing it, Start wiping your pocket knife with oils. After doing these steps, it should be enough to get the rust off.

2-Onion Method

Remove the rust off a pocket knife with onions.

How to get the rust off a pocket knife with onions? Onion is another food to remove the rust off naturally.

Just start sawing it back and forth into an onion, then the corrode will begin to disappear by itself.

The sulfenic acid in an onion is a crucial ingredient to cleaning a corrode blade.

3-Dirt Method

Remove the rust off a pocket knife with dirt.

Another natural method some individuals suggest is to plunge the corroded blade into rich soil two dozen times.

After that, you can wipe it. This is how to get the rust off a pocket knife using dirt.

Kind of Steels and How They Become Rusty

Steels come into two significant classes stainless and carbon. Carbon steel is mostly iron and a small proportion of carbon with a few other metals.

In contrast, the Stainless counterpart is from iron, chromium (nearly 15%), carbon, and other metals.

The chromium is surrounding the iron to save it from oxidizing with oxygen.

But, chromium decreases your blade’s durability. It will require additional sharpening than its carbon counterpart.

Stainless steels are better resistant to rusting compared to carbon steels. However, it is not rust-proof. It will resist humidity better than carbon.  

However, during severe misuse, they can become corroded. Ceramic and titanium knives are completely rust-proof as they are ironless.

How to Preserve The Pocket Knife From Rusting?

After you know how to get rust off a pocket knife, you should know how to protect it from rusting.

A wide range of pocket knives come from carbon steels or normal steels. Both of them rusted.

But a carbon steel knife corrodes faster than the normal counterpart one. So to prevent rust or at least minimize this rusting risk, There are six tips you can follow.

-Your Knife Has to Be Always Clean And Dry Before Storing to keep the rust off.

It is essential to maintain your knife. Before you shift from slicing one thing to another or before storing, wash your knife and dry it with a towel.

It is better to place a dry towel and a wet one close to you when cutting various ingredients.

So instead of washing it with water, wipe your knife with a damp towel then a dry one. When you store a dirty knife, you make them corrode faster.

– Decrease Acids Cutting to keep rust off.

When working with carbon steels, It is better to decrease the rate at which your blades handle acidic ingredients. Pay special attention to these ingredients.

  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Citrus fruit

So when you cut any of those substances, clean and dry your pocket knife immediately.

-Transport Your Knife in the Sheath But Do not Store It This Way.

A lot of pocket knives, if not all, come with their sheath. Carrying them in their sheath, for example, when you go for an outdoor workout, is ok.

When being home, rinse your knife. Wipe the blade of your knife to dry, then keep it in an open area.

If you keep it in a sheath within the house, it will attract humidity, and it will be eroded.

– At the First Signs of Rusting, Take the rust Off

Keep your eye on your knife, mainly when living in a high moisture environment. At the slightest mark of corrode, rinse it before building up.

For instance, you are working with fine sandpapers to eliminate corroding traces at the beginning. After removing rust, then add a lubricant to your knife blade.

– Lubricate Regularly

A Pocket knife comes with a joint that requires regular lubrication. Adding penetrating oil to these joints will make you close and open the blades smoothly and quickly.

Moreover, for constant lubrication, some drops of dry lubricant on their hinges work great. The dry lubricant is recommendable; hence it attracts less lint.

– Maintain Your Pocket Knife Sharp

Sometimes while you clean your pocket knife, sandpapers can cause stretching out and spoiling of the blade.

Therefore, you have to know how to maintain the pocket knife sharp. The blunt knives are a dangerous one; they require additional effort to accomplish their work.

Things to Consider When You Remove the rust From Your Pocket Knifes

1. Protection Is Usually the Best Way

It is better to protect your blades from being rust in the first place. It is the best method.

You only need to follow a few easy steps (Mentioned Above). After that, you are good to go.

For instance, it will help to add a few mineral oils regularly. Mineral oils keep corroding at bay even if you store the pocket knife for a prolonged time. It will be like new.

2. Protection of Your Knife Blade from rust.

Before selecting a cleaning product to apply, you must know its consequences on your pocket knife blade.

The rust removing process can be successful; however, this leads to blade scratching and renders them unusable, you will lose it. Apply ways that can clean and preserve your knife blade as well.

3. Some Rusty Areas Can Be Permanent

There are many ways to clean the rust from your knife. But consider that some corrode areas are irreversible.

Try not to leave your old pocket knife for a long time. It leads to a high rust level.

These spots might have stubborn rust, and you can not clean them easily. In this case, buying a new pocket knife will be the best choice.

4. The Kind and construction of the Blade of Your Knife Can Matter

Before selecting a rust removal method, you have to find out the material kind of your knife. Besides that, consider how it will interact with various items.

For instance, applying the dish soaps and potatoes technique, combined with rubbing with steel wool, can have a tremendous effect on one knife and not another.

As such, You should not apply any methods because you saw it with someone. Research and assure it will clean your knife rust.

However, some items like vinegar and soda baking powder will be safe and gentle on your blade, most times.

5- The Rusty Knife can be Harmful to Health

Knives with rust introduce hazardous elements to your food. Hence they expose the metal and leave it to go within your food while cooking.

As such, it is better to get rid of eroding areas from your kitchen knife instantly. that is why you should know how to get the rust off a pocket knife.

Apply the most proper way on your blades. Assure to take it off earlier as you can. In this way, removing corrode from your knife will be easy.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get Rust Off a Pocket Knife

1- How Can You Sharpen Your Pocket Knife?

You can follow various ways to sharpen the knife. But, the most known one is by sharpening stones.

Step 1

Flatten your blades on the stone.

Step 2

Slightly begin angling it while you push your knife far from the body. It is like attempting to cut off a cut of a sharpening stone.

Step 3

Or, With a slight angle, flatten the blade on the stone. After that, start sharpening your knife by adding pressure to your blade and moving your knife in small circular movements against the stone.

You can employ knife sharpeners instead of sharpening stones. Consider getting one that is easy to do. However, it might not get the same quality of the result.

2- How Can I Close My Pocket Knife?

  • Step 1– Grip your knife from the hilt parts. This step to assure your fingers will not be over the storage opening of your knife blade.
  • Step 2-Hold your blade firmly by your other hand, then start pushing your knife within the slot quickly.
  • Step 3-In case there is a blade lock, unlock it before you close your knife.

3-How Can I Clean My Pocket Knife?

  • Step 1-Collect gloves, soft rags, scrubbing sponges or toothbrushes, dish soaps, warm water, and lubricants for your blade.
  • Step 2-Wear your gloves, then wet the rag with warm water. With this cloth, start wiping down the two sides of your knife.
  • Step 3-With dish soap and a sponge (or toothbrush in case of serrated blades), rub the metal blade.
  • Step 4-Wash the blade with warm water, then get a dry rag to dry it.
  • Step 5-Pour some drops of lubricant on your blade to avoid rusting and humidity ruin.

4-Can I Still Work with Rusty Knives?

Knife, silverware, pot, and pan can all be eroded if they come from steels. Don’t worry; corrode items are not dangerous.

You can keep safely working with your knife. The only problem with a corrode knife is that it is ugly and can place impurities within the food. so never work with eroding knives for food preparation

5-Can Vinegar Remove Rust From Cars?

For low to medium-grade rusty cars, distilled white vinegar will assist in corrode car cleaning.

Before you soak the corrode sections in the vinegar with sandpapers, start removing corrode from the infected places.

As for the vinegar will actively disconnect the bonds between the metal and corrode molecules.

Final Thoughts

A pocket knife is a multitasking item. You can use it from slicing fruit to opening an envelope. However, this only when caring and maintaining the blade properly.

This article provides you with various methods to how to get rust off a pocket knife.

Use them to return your old pocket knife to life again. So go now and find your favorite pocket knife and clean it thoroughly.

Each one has his way to get off the rust from his knives, so tell us via the comments what is yours?

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