Cleaning A Pocket Knife? Step-by-Step Tips on How To Clean Your Pocket Knife Effortlessly

Whether you use it for slicing, poking, cutting, or piercing, then you might have noticed how useful it can be. But when was the last time you thoroughly cleaned it? Despite the tasks you use your pocket knife for, how you keep and clean it will determine its longevity and performance.

With our pocket knife guide, you can learn how to efficiently clean your knife and maintain its glory for optimal performance. After all, a pocket knife is among the best multi-tools you can easily clean. Thus in this article, we will give you in-depth, step-by-step pro tips on how to clean your pocket knife.

Things You’ll Need to Clean a Pocket Knife

When you decide to clean your knife, there are a couple of items that you’ll require to use to clean it, such as,

  • An old toothbrush
  • Q-tips and toothpicks
  • Warm soapy water
  • Soft cloth or towel
  • Detergent
  • Compress air
  • Dry cotton swabs
  • A pair of gloves
  • A bowl
  • A sponge

Cleaning Your Dirty Pocket Knife

Does your pocket knife open and lock smoothly without you necessarily applying pressure to it? Does the pivot have visible dirt build-ups on it? What about the blade? Does it have a rust coating on it? If you answered yes, then it has been a while since you cleaned your pocket knife, and it’s time to give it a shiny look!

How to Safely & Effectively Clean a Pocket Knife (Video)

Step-by-Step Guide to Effectively Cleaning a Pocket Knife

Step 1: Disassemble The Knife Or Not?

Whenever you plan to clean your knife, the first thing that comes to your mind is whether to take your knife apart or simply clean it at its tip-top condition.

As tempting as it can be, putting the parts back together can be a challenging task that you might not be in the mood for.

Apart from the tiresome and time-consuming process, it will also require some additional craftsmanship skills to neatly center the knife and make sure it runs smoothly.

Besides, not all pocket knife screws can withstand being taken out now and then.

More to that, it is essential to note that some manufacturers will void your lifelong warranty once you disassemble the knife–even if you’ve done everything the right way.

Step 2: Open the Blades Completely

Some pocket knives have different parts attached to them.

To ensure all the knife portions are cleaned, make sure to open the blades without disassembling the knife completely.

Step 3: Remove Loose Lint

The locking mechanism of a pocket knife might differ from one knife to another.

Depending on the type of your knife, the locking mechanism might be either manual, automatic, or spring-assisted.

Small bits of lint or gunk can build up on your knife and prevent it from opening and locking correctly.

So to start with, make sure the locking mechanism of your knife is perfectly working.

Check to see if there are any small bits of dirt or lint stuck between the handles and around the lock while still focusing on the pivot–the magnet for debris and lint, especially if the knife is used in outdoor tasks.

If there is any loose lint stuck in these places, open the knife completely and start by blowing off the dirt in hard-to-reach parts of the blade towards the pivot point.

You can choose to blow the dirt from the  nooks and crannies of your knife with any of these three techniques:

  • To blow out the dirt forcefully with your mouth
  • Use an aerosol keyboard duster
  • Use compressed air– this method will yield the best results.

If there is still more loose gunk left, you can opt to use a toothpick or a dry cotton swab to remove it.

While cleaning out debris, make sure to wipe dry your pocket knife first since wet debris or dirt can be hard to remove.

Step 4: Use Warm Soapy Water

Once you’re satisfied that your pocket knife lock is working fine and you’ve removed the dirt in all parts, then it’s time to get your favorite knife all wet.

In a bowl of warm soapy water, wet the sponge and start to spot clean your knife’s blades for initial washing.

If you notice some stubborn dirt stains on the knife, spill the detergent directly on the stain, and don’t be afraid to soak the knife for a few minutes to dissolve stubborn grimes and the sticky residue.

To be on the safe side, wear some gloves when cleaning your knife since some of the detergents you’ll be using can irritate your skin.

When washing the knife, make sure your palm is on the blade’s spine side to prevent your hands from accidental knife cuts, especially now the blade is slippery.

Note that leaving the knife to soak under the water for a more extended period might destroy its materials.

So, remove it as soon as you can!

Step 5: Use an Old Toothbrush to Scrub

Your knife got those tough spots still built upon it?

Don’t worry– using an old toothbrush is all you need to scrub out these stubborn spots.

Scrub down between your knife’s handle scales towards the blade while paying close attention to the pivot and the hinges.

Ensure the toothbrush bristles are soft since any abrasive materials can damage the blade, shortening its lifespan.

Also, you can use Q-tip to remove leftover grime between the handles.

Step 6: Rinse Thoroughly

Now that you’re done with washing and scrubbing your pocket knife, you can proceed to the next step.

Rinse away the soapy residue from your pocket knife under running water.

While doing this, open and close your knife blades to ensure all the knife parts are thoroughly rinsed.

Step 7: Dry it and Lubricate!

You can use either compressed air to blow off any excess water from your knife or use a soft cloth to wipe it dry after a thorough wash.

The general rule is to dry the knife right away after you’re done rinsing it.

Make sure to blow off the excess moisture down out of the pivots and the handles.

And there you go!

Your pocket knife is now cleaned up and dry, so you can go ahead and lubricate it with any oil of your choice.

Open and close the blades back and forth to ensure the lubricant gets between the handle scales and into the pivot to help flush out the remaining moisture.

If you use your pocket knife in the kitchen, make sure to use a food-safe lube such as mineral oil.

Remember that excess lube can probably attract more dirt in your knife’s joints, so do not over-lubricate it!

If the Blade Is Rusty?

How to Remove Rust from Knives (Video Tutorial)

Even though some pocket knife blades are made of stainless steel, that doesn’t mean they are rust-proof, so without proper care, your knife will be vulnerable to rust.

When trying to remove rust in your knife, one thing to remember is the more you use force, the higher the chances of damaging your knife’s blade.

But when it comes to achieving the desired results, you have to do what you got to do!

So if you’re looking for an alternative method to remove the rust from your knife’s blade, then you can opt to use any of these two methods:

  • Using Penetrating Method
  • Using Baking Soda

Let’s take a quick look at each method step-by-step and see how it works.

Method ONE: Using Penetrating Oil

Using penetrating oil is the most efficient method to clean a rusty pocket knife.

You can use WD-40 oil to remove the rust, but if you use your knife to cut foodstuffs, opt for vegetable oil or olive oil.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Penetrating oil
  • Soft cloth or towel
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Step 1: Applying Penetrating Oil

Spray the rusty blades with penetrating oil on both sides and let it settle for a few minutes.

Step 2: Scrubbing Using Fine-Grit Sandpaper

Using dry or wet sandpaper, rub the blades to clear off the rust.

If the blades haven’t cleared in a few minutes, repeat the process until you achieve your desired results.

In between the scrubbing process, regularly use a dry towel to wipe off the gritty materials and dirty oil on the blade, and repeat the process!

Step 3: Wiping

When done with the scrubbing, wipe the oily blades using a soft towel or cloth.

Ensure the blade is completely dry to prevent the penetrating oil from building up on the pivots.

Method TWO: Using Baking Soda

Although baking soda can be an ideal substance to remove rust stains in your pocket knife, you may need to be extra patient, especially if the blade has a thick layer of rust.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Baking soda
  • A glass bowl
  • Water
  • An old toothbrush
  • Soft cloth

Step 1: Remove Loose Dust

First, open up the knife’s blades and wipe the loose dust down using a slightly moist cloth to determine the most rusted points.

Step 2: Creating a Paste

Pour about half a cup of baking soda in a glass bowl and add an appropriate amount of water to it to make a paste.

While adding small quantities of water, stir the mixture to create a thick paste that can stick on the blade’s surface for a more extended period.

Step 3: Apply the Paste on the Blade

Apply a fair amount of the mixture all over the surface of the blade.

Allow the paste to soak on the blade for an hour or two, depending on how deep the rust coating is.

Step 4: Scrubbing the blade

Using a toothbrush, lightly scrub the blade on both sides to remove the rust stains.

If the blade has a deep rust coating, repeat the process using steel wool until you achieve better results.

Step 5: Rinse and Wipe It!

Once you’ve achieved what you wanted, you can now rinse off the remaining paste on your knife under running water.

Then, using a dry towel, wipe off the excess water from your knife and air-dry it to remove any remaining moisture in between the handles.

To Wrap It Up

Even the most expensive pocket knives can fail to work appropriately in moments of need if they are not well maintained.

Neglecting your knife will make it vulnerable to rust and dirt build-ups that can alter your knife’s locking mechanism.

If you want your knife to maintain its glory, make sure to have regular cleaning sessions.

But if you’re a less-diligent person when it comes to cleaning your pocket knife, you can choose to have periodic cleanings.

To ensure your pocket knife is free from lint and moisture, make sure you wipe it down after every use.

When cleaning your knife, you should be cautious of whatever you choose to use to avoid altering your knife’s lifespan and performance.

So are you ready to clean your pocket knife?

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