How to Clean an Old Pocket Knife

How to clean an old pocket knife is a question that many people ask themselves. Unfortunately, these knives can become dirty and rusty after years of use, and it becomes difficult to remove the dirt and grime. The good news is that there are ways you can clean your rescue knife so that it will be as good as new! In this blog post, we will show you how to do just that.

Why Should You Bother Cleaning a Pocket Knife?

Any of the following characteristics indicate a badly cleaned or maintained pocket knife:

  • Rust stains on the blade
  • Sand, dust, and other gunk on the pivot
  • Poor opening and locking mechanism

Cleaning your pocket knife, as you can see, ensures that it performs at its best. After all, it is one of the best multi-tools that you can conveniently transport for immediate assistance.

Things You’ll Need to Clean a Pocket Knife

You'll need the following items, which you can easily find in your house, to clean an old pocket knife:

  • A fabric 
  • Warm water 
  • Toothpicks 
  • Paper towels 
  • Ointments 
  • Foamy fluid 
  • Preparing pop 
  • Lemon juice

Check Its Initial Condition

Any of the following characteristics indicate a badly cleaned or maintained pocket knife:

  • Rust stains on the blade
  • Sand, dust, and other gunk on the pivot
  • Poor opening and locking mechanism

Cleaning your survival pocket knife, as you can see, ensures that it performs at its best. After all, it is one of the best multi-tools that you can conveniently transport for immediate assistance.

Remove The Lint

A locking mechanism is standard on all pocket knives. Some of the locks are operated manually, while others are operated automatically or with the help of springs. Verify that the knife's locking mechanism is in good operating order.

Open the knife and use toothpicks to remove any crud or fuzz that has accumulated around the lock. With another pointed-tip knife, you can do it. Use a dry knife rather than a damp one. 

Disassemble The Pocket Knife

Some cheap pocket knives are better than others, which is why you don't want to throw them away. However, prepare to clean your knives regularly if you want them to last as long as possible.

Disassemble the knife once the lint has been removed. Before soaking the blade, separate it from the lock and angle it.

Scrubbing And Rust Removal

Clean the knife's handle from the inside out to remove any filth that may have accumulated. Soaking the rusty knife parts in soapy water loosens the grip of grease and dirt on the blade.

Now use foam to scrub the knife completely. For smooth locking and handling, make sure the lock is free of crud, grease, and dust.

This is the simplest technique to remove rust from a pocket knife at home if you don't know-how.

Lemon juice has been proven to dissolve rust spots on steel. Rub the rusty portions of the pocket knife with a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda.

Does Your Pocket Knife Require Cleaning?

It would help if you inspected your pocket knife swiftly. Is it smooth when it opens and closes, or does it require pressure? Are the blade and other metal pieces showing symptoms of rust? Peer inside by opening the blades. Is there dirt on it? What about the center of gravity? Is there any dirt visible?

If the answer is affirmative, you should clean it well. Even the best survival pocket knife will become useless if you don't.

How to Clean a Rusty Pocket Knife Blade

Perhaps you recently came across an old wilderness survival knife in your kit. Perhaps you misplaced your pocket knife on one of those hunting trips, only to find it a few weeks later. Whatever the case may be, a knife can rust in a variety of ways.

Because of these occurrences, the pocket knife must be extremely rusted. So, if you want to clean an old pocket knife in the most efficient way possible, you can use any of the following substances:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Penetrating oil, for example, WD-40
  • Salt and lemon

Let's put each of the methods to the test and see how they perform.

The first method is to use baking soda.

Step one:  

  • Put your rubber gloves on first. This is to protect your hands from two dangers:
  1. Accidental wounds from the sharp blade
  2. Harsh chemicals contacting your skin
  • Open up and expose the blades after putting on the gloves.

Step two: clean off any loose dust.

  • Wipe away loose debris and contaminants with a moist towel to reveal the badly eroded areas. However, make sure that the knife's sharp edge is pointing away from you while doing so.

Step three: make a paste with baking soda.

  • Fill the basin halfway with water. To make a paste, add a suitable amount of baking soda to it. To make a true paste, combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Step four: put some paste on your toothbrush.

  • Using the toothbrush, apply a generous amount of the paste. With the brush, spread the baking soda paste all over the blade. Allow the mixture to rest for an hour. If the rust isn't too deep, a light brushing with the toothbrush should remove the light rust covering.

Step five: scrub for a few minutes using a scrubbing pad.

  • The next step in cleaning a pocket knife is to wet the pad and brush both sides of the paste-covered blade. Although steel wool would be more effective, I don't advocate it because it can easily destroy the blade's finish.

If the blade was heavily oxidized, repeat the operation a few more times.

Step six: clean the surface with a towel.

  • Wipe the baking paste off your blade while keeping the sharp blade pointed away from you. Make sure you wipe it down completely.

The second method is to use white vinegar.

White vinegar will help you remove rust deposits from a knife even if you don't have a pocket knife cleaning kit.

Step one: pour vinegar into a pan.

  • Fill a large container halfway with vinegar. A pan is desirable because of its large diameter, which may easily fit an open pocket knife.

Step two: soaking

  • Soak the rusted blade in the vinegar for a few minutes. You have the option of soaking the entire knife or only the blade. The time spent soaking should not exceed 5 minutes.
  • You can also soak a paper towel instead of dipping the entire knife in the vinegar. Then, for 5 minutes, wrap the paper towel around the rusted blade.

Step three: wiping

  • Remove the liquid with a gentle towel after 5 minutes. Take a good look at the blade. Is it glistening? If not, use baking soda to remove any lingering rust residues, as explained earlier in the essay.

The third method is to use a penetrating oil such as WD-40.

One of the best ways to clean a pocket knife blade is to use WD-40. It is not, however, suited for cleaning blades used for chopping food. Instead, replace the WD-40 with olive oil or any other vegetable oil when using knives on food.

Step one:

  • Spray/apply the oil on both sides of the rusted blade. Allow 10 minutes for it to settle.

Step two: light scrubbing

  • Scrub the rust away with the extra-fine sandpaper. However, make sure the sandpaper doesn't get too close to the cutting edge.

Step three: 

  • Using a soft towel, wipe away the residue. If you have a lot of stubborn rust, you can finish the cleaning with either the vinegar or baking soda approach outlined before. However, make sure the blade is thoroughly dry.

Method 4: Lemon Juice and Salt

Do you know why this procedure is so effective in cleaning a variety of pocket knives? Lemon juice's acidity, paired with its abrasiveness, yields outstanding results in rust removal.

Step one: place a grain of salt on the blade.

  • Spread the salt grain over the blade's corroded side. One can work on the side of the knife at a time. 

Step two: squeeze in some lemon juice.

  • Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the salt-coated blade. Allow two hours for the salt and lemon juice combination to settle.

Step three:

  • Scrub the rust off with lemon rind after two hours. If the rust deposit is very obstinate, use steel wool for a thorough rubbing. However, make sure that the blade's finishing coating isn't removed.

Step four: rinse

  • Rinse the blade to remove the salt, rust, and lemon juice. Make sure the rinsing is done thoroughly. 


It is always essential to clean your best survival knife regularly. Likewise, that you must take the time to understand what you'll be using for it truly, You'll be able to get the best rescue knife for the job, and you'll be a lot safer as well if you're planning to buy a new pocket knife for your survival and outdoor adventure. We at the Evatac team have the best budget survival knife for any situation like folding survival knife. Contact us today! 

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