pocket knife

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How to clean an old pocket knife

A pocket knife is one of those tools whose use may be appreciated even by those who are not very handy. It’s helpful when you need to make a precise cut, but not when your knife is unclean and dull. Cutting with a filthy or dull knife is hazardous in addition to being inefficient.

When I started college, my uncle gave me my first pocket knife. I promptly forgot about it for the first several years. I resolved to clean it and get rid of the filth and rust since doing so would bring back fond memories. But ever since then, the pocket knife has been indispensable to me.

I’ve learned a lot about bringing old pocket knives back to life, and I’d want to share what I know with you today. If you possess one and you need advice, and on how to clean an antique pocket knife, I have some intriguing suggestions for you below.


A pocket knife is an item that may come in useful. However, its use decreases significantly if it is soiled and lackluster. It is critical for safety that you keep it sharp and clean at all times.


old pocket knife

What is required for cleaning an old pocket knife?

In a fortunate turn of events, you won’t require a lot of unusual materials. Normally, you’ll already have everything on hand, including any equipment or materials that could be needed.

Rubber gloves

Rubber gloves are very much a need for mending a pocket knife, but some individuals do try their hand at useful jobs like this without them. In this case, thick rubber gloves. You won’t have to worry about hurting your hands, and the cleaning procedure will be less of a hassle with them on hand.

A compact brush or sponge

Both of them are required to clean the knife of dust, sand, filth, and light rust. You may utilize an old toothbrush or anything else that works in its place rather than buying a new one. If your pocket knife has serrated blades, it’s best to use a brush instead of risking injury.

Tooth pick

As a result of the folding process, lint or dirt may get lodged in an inaccessible area of certain pocket knives. Before beginning the actual cleaning process, lint has to be removed using toothpicks.


Common home lubricants may be used. After cleaning, you’ll need one to lubricate the knife’s working components and prevent further rusting.


Mild soap or detergent is required to remove the filth.

Padded nylon

Nylon pads have a little abrasiveness that makes them useful for scrubbing away rust stains without damaging the blades or handles of your knives.


The procedure for cleaning a pocket knife is not too complicated. To do this task, all you need to do is follow these easy instructions.

how to clean an old pocket knife

Remove the lint

In order to proceed with this step, the knife has to be open. If the knife has more than one blade, like many different types of pocket knives, you should open all of the blades so that you can get to the pivot point more easily. Pay closer attention to the section that pivots, and use the toothpicks to remove any lint or buildup that you find there if you find any. In order to do this, disassembly of the components is not strictly required.

Rinse under running water

After the lint has been removed, place the knife in a sink and give it a quick cleaning under some running water. If possible, run the knife under some warm water to clean it. In order to get rid of any loose debris and to make the tool ready for a more in-depth cleaning, flush the inside of the handle as well as the other components.

Scrubbing and rinsing is the third step

Use just a gentle soap, then scrub the blade in all directions with a brush or a sponge. Scrub the turning points and any other inside components in addition to the section of the blade that moves. You should also take your time to clean the locking mechanism, removing any dirt and grime that may have accumulated there.

It can seem like a good plan to use an abrasive sponge to get rid of debris that is embedded deep in surfaces, but you should proceed with caution. Materials that are abrasive have the potential to cause significant scratching on both the blades and the handle. Make use of a toothpick or a Q-tip in order to access areas that are difficult to reach, such as grooves and corners. After that, give the knife a quick washing and pat it dry with a soft cloth.

Remove rust

Rust is an inevitable part of the patina that forms on old pocket knives. Using the appropriate lubricant, you may remove any rust that is just superficial. Rust may be removed using WD-40, and it also functions as an effective lubricant. After using the lubricant of your choice, wait a couple of minutes for it to begin working properly before continuing. Scrub the area gently with a nylon pad this time, and then rinse it. You are free to carry out this procedure as many times as necessary until the rusty stains have been removed.

However, if you discover that the rusty stains are very difficult to remove, you may need to carry out some extra cleaning procedures. I’ll get back to you on it later.

Clean and lubricate it

After you have finished cleaning the knife, you will need to grease it completely in order to get it to function correctly. You have access to a wide variety of lubricants, ranging from conventional machine oil to any other kind of home oil. If you want to use the knife on food items, I strongly suggest that you lubricate it beforehand with mineral oil or even vegetable oil.

A very little amount of the lubricant should be applied to the pivot as well as any other moving components. Repeatedly opening and closing the blade will help the lubricant reach the areas of the joint that are concealed from view. After that, remove any excess oil by wiping it away with a paper towel or a soft cloth.


How to restore a rusted pocket knife?

What should you do, therefore, if you have an ancient pocket knife that is so rusted that it cannot be cleaned by following the simple procedures outlined above? It is still possible to clean your knife using common items found in most households and have it emerge in an optimal condition of functionality.

Baking soda

You can remove rust off thin-blade pocket knives with stains that are resistant to typical lubricants if you have any baking soda on hand. To make a thick paste, just combine baking soda and water in a mixing bowl. After applying the paste to the corroded areas, wait an hour or two and then try again. At this stage, you should switch to a substance with a higher abrasion level, such as steel wool or a wire brush. Remove the rust from the knife by scrubbing it, then washing it and letting it dry.


You may also clean a rusty pocket knife using vinegar, which is another product that works quite well for this purpose. One of the numerous uses for vinegar around the house that you’re undoubtedly already familiar with is as a cleaning agent. Put your pocket knife into a solution that contains vinegar, and let it to soak there for the night. After that, you should use steel wool or a wire brush to remove the rusty spots. It is possible that you may need to carry out this process more than once in order to remove all of the stains. After cleaning, wash with a gentle detergent and water, and then thoroughly dry the area.


The process of cleaning a used pocket knife or a chef’s knife is simple and not as involved as you would think, as I hope I have shown. If you have ignored an old pocket knife because it has acquired so much grime and rust, all you need are basic home tools and materials to restore it to a prime usable state in no time. Feel free to forward this post to anybody you think will benefit from reading it. Do you have any ideas you would share? Kindly do so in the comment box below.

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