Introduction: Cleaning a Knife

Picture of Cleaning a Knife

The knife, used for aeons by humans as a tool of war and a tool of craft. For centuries, humans have relied on a good knife for their survival. If it was dirty, the knife rusted, and if the knife rusted, they would be dead before they had time to make a new blade. Today, I'll take some time to show you how to go about cleaning a blade, so your beautiful $100 knife (see below) won't be a piece of scrap metal.

Let's get started!

(I am not responsible for any injury received following the steps of this Instructable)

Step 1: Supplies

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Most of the materials needed you probably have...You will need:

-A sink

-A dirty Knife

-Rotor Oil (Used to oil valves on trumpets, cornets, baritones, etc... easily attained at Sam Ash, or where brass instruments are sold.)

-An old rag

Step 2: First Oiling

Picture of First Oiling

Ok, this step is basically what the title says... You want to get your oil and run a line of oil from the handle (the hand guard in my case) and stop at the end of the blade. Then, you will want to VERY carefully rub the oil out on the blade with your finger.

Repeat this step on the other side of the blade, then using your rag, carefully remove the oil.

Step 3: First Washing

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This step is very important, as if it is done incorrectly, your blade is very susceptible to rusting. Turn on your faucet and put the blade under the water. When the water becomes about .5-1 in. away from the handle, turn off the water.

Why be so careful, you may ask? Well, if the water gets in between the knife and the handle, you'll have a rusty tang, and a ruined knife, just take the extra effort and don't lose your $100+ deposit on a good knife!

Step 4: Second Oiling

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Now that the first oiling and washing have come, we are going to do both steps again. First, dry off your knife blade, then repeat the oiling of the knife I already taught you... now that you have re oiled and removed said oil, we can move on to the second washing...

Step 5: Second Washing

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Since we have already gone over how to wash your knife off, I will remind you STOP .5-1 IN. AWAY FROM THE HANDLE! ITS WORTH THE EXTRA EFFORT TO WATCH YOUR KNIFE CAREFULLY! Dry off your blade, and we can move on...

Step 6: Small Details Cleaning

Picture of Small Details Cleaning

Small details... they may be small, but they are important. My knife, for instance, has a small blade for cutting hide, gutting, etc. on the spine... this small blade collects dirt easily. It is quite simple to clean. All you need to clean small details is your rag. Run the corner of the rag under water for a moment, then go to your small detail, and clean the spot with the wet corner...remove any dirt or grime, and dry off the spot.

Step 7: Final Cleaning

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Throughout this Instructable, we have been focusing on the blade, but the rest of the knife is important, too. To clean your handle, simply wet the rag's corner again, and rub down the handle. Then, dry off he handle.

Most knives also have a hand guard. To shine this bit up, add a few drops of oil to another corner of the rag. Rub the other parts of knife that you would like to shine with the oily bit of the rag, and rub off the excess oil.

Step 8: Congrats!

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You have finished cleaning off your knife! Now you have a shiny blade to go get dirty again! And when it does get dirty, just clean it off again!

Farewell until next time, my friend!

Future Filmaker


globalgear (author)2015-05-07

well cleaned. The knife looks more stunning and sharped. I found this FLITZ TACTICAL MATTE FINISH CLEANER This also work great.

survival781 (author)2015-05-05

Thx for the info my is having me study survival and how to use tools like knifes and bows

joepetemitch (author)2013-11-27

I found a large knife in the garden and it is caked in mud (my mum is finally letting me near it) and I was wondering if there is an easy way of getting it clean and sharp again or whether it isn't worth it.

Schmidty16 (author)2013-05-30

how do u get rust off of a knife

mcee2 (author)2011-09-15

Thanks for the information about cleaning knives. My husband has a few gerber folding knives that he used to gut some fish. He usually washes them, but he had to go to a meeting and I got stuck with his dirty knives!

BodhidharmaCharma (author)2010-12-27

That's not a Kniofe, this is a Kniofe!

mayo291 (author)2009-12-30

 Yes slicing your finger open would hurt but it would also get the knife dirtier.

awoodcarver (author)2009-09-28

I know Schrade went out of business in 04 but are they gouging people this bad on these knives already ?

seems like it! haha, I was lucky, this knife wasn't $100, but I've seen them sold from 40-60 still

Future filmaker (author)2009-09-21

I'm not sure about vegetable oil and cork grease, but two things that I know will work is WD-40 and Cooking Spray, just be sure to spray only the blade and to wipe off the excess...

lemonie (author)2009-09-20

Which is cleaning the blade - oil or water? (Or is it both?) As far as I read this, the last step on the blade (6) involves wiping it with a damp-cloth, how do you ensure it's dried to a non-rust degree? And have you any tips for removing rust? L

Coffee bean (author)lemonie2009-09-20

Water cleans oil seal and prevents rust(i think). On a little rust use steel wool if It looks really bad hit it with a wire bush then sandpaper.

Yep, oil is used as a sealant, you can see in this picture, the water beads and rolls off instead of rusting the blade...

lemonie (author)Future filmaker2009-09-20

I'm not seeing the purpose of running it under a tap, after being sealed. Does this not work as well if you oil - wipe- oil -wipe, or is wiping the oil with a cloth something to be avoided? L

Future filmaker (author)lemonie2009-09-21

IN theory, one could skip the first oiling, but I normally choose to oil first as it removes most of the materials from the blade quicker than if one was to sit there scrubbing at his blade with a rag.

lemonie (author)Future filmaker2009-09-21

Right, I get it thankyou. L

oil does a good job of cleaning the blade when buffing with the cloth it takes off light rust and leaves a light coat of protection on the blade. the water is mostly to clean the oil off.
I will often wipe the knife down with a silicone cloth as the last step as it leaves a level of protection on the blade. like this: "" I have no idea how long they last, but I've been using the same one for 6 months and it still does the job. my cloth is also a different brand, cabella is a brand name. my guess is they're mostly the same.

Kozz (author)2009-09-20

I recently inherited some rather abused knives. One of them seems to be of a good make, but perhaps poor care resulted in dark stains and some mild pitting. There's nothing to be cleaned from the surface, it seems. Do you think that perhaps the stains and pitting can be remedied in any way, or at least somehow I can prevent it from getting worse?

hailtothkngbby (author)Kozz2009-09-21

I, too, inherited some rusty knives a long while ago. I found somewhere on the internet, the location escapes me, that you can wad up some aluminum foil and then wet it and scrub the blade. It takes surface rust off very well. I am not aware of any easy remedy for pitting though. To prevent it from getting worse, however, I would try a light gun oil. I usually use Remoil on my knives.

xfirexstarzx (author)Kozz2009-09-20

I had a few knives with the same problem. The most mild solution I've tried that worked (this sounds sorta stupid, but bear with me) is to stick the knife into an onion (cover the whole blade) and leave it there for a couple days. Take the knife out and wash it off, then oil it. It took the stains off from some of my better used hunting knives. If the onion trick isn't enough, fill a cup with white vinegar and suspend the knife so that just the blade is in the vinegar. Make sure ONLY STEEL is in the vinegar as it will eat softer metals. Check the blade every day. Remove all black deposits with steel wool. All of the rust should be gone in a couple of days. Clean, oil, and polish your blade. Although these methods remove the rust, there is no remedy for pitting (that I know of). The best you can do is keep the knife oiled to keep it from rusting more.

scoochmaroo (author)2009-09-20

If your knife is dirty from cutting and gutting, is oiling still the first step, or should you rinse it off first?

I wouldn't go from gutting right to the first oiling. a quick rinse and wipe to get the knife generally clean is a great start if it's coming from immediate use.

I oiled first because my knife had recently cut some fresh wood, and if you rinse the dry juices from fresh wood with water, it'll just become sticky again.

Coffee bean (author)scoochmaroo2009-09-20

yep rinse, then dry, then oil.

Arbitror (author)2009-09-20

This 'ible blew my knife cleaning 'ible out of the sky... Yours even got featured...
O well! You did a good job! This is a five star(er?) for sure! *****

greybunny (author)2009-09-20

Oil removes surface rust

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