How to Keep Knives from Rusting in 4 Easy Ways

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Rust is the worst enemy of kitchen knives. It is nothing but tragedy to see your knives rust away when you could easily avoid it. How? Well, this article has you covered. Read on to find out how to keep knives from rusting in 4 easy ways.

When it comes to knives, often the blade material is either stainless steel or carbon steel. Each of them comes with pros and cons, which matters in preventing your kitchen blade from rusting. Proper care is essential, especially for carbon steel knives that are prone to rust spots.

The key here is to minimize your knife’s exposure to moisture. Whether it is carbon steel or a stainless-steel blade, it is vital to care for it after every use. Wash it with soap and wipe it down with a cloth. This way, your blade is nice and dry when you put it into storage.

Now, let’s see what other things you can do to keep your knives free from rust.

What Will You Need;

Before we talk about the steps, let’s talk about the items you will need first.

1. Keeping Clean

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Wet cloth
  • Towel

2. Oiling Knives

  • Tsubaki oil
  • Knife

3. Build a Patina

  • Blood, meat, or potatoes
  • Knife
  • White vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cup
  • Stove or pot
  • Knife
  • Paper towels

4. Treating Knives

  • Lemon juice
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Steel wool or abrasive sponge
  • Potato or onion

You can find most of these items in your kitchen. Now, let’s go on to the next part of how to keep knives from rusting.

Step-By-Step Instructions

How to Keep Knives from Rusting

There are many ways to rust-proof and clean rust off a knife. However, prevention is always the best option. This way, you can stop rust before it accumulates. Below are some easy steps to do that.

1. Keep Knives Clean

  1. Make sure to clean and dry your knives every time you use it. Wash it with soapy water and a wet cloth, then dry with a towel. Air drying them is not ideal unless the room is warm enough for quick drying.
  2. Don’t clean your blades in the dishwasher because its heat and humidity aren’t suitable for the knives. It can also cause problems with the knives’ handle, so it is better to clean it manually.
  3. If you do use the dishwasher to wash your knives, don’t let them sit there. Take them out and wipe them dry before storing them.
  4. The most crucial thing to do is never to store your blades wet or leave in a humid environment. If you can’t be bothered to dry them off or air dry, you can put them in a drawer with dry towels.

2. Oil Knives to Prevent Rust

As mentioned, knives are susceptible to rust if you keep them in a humid or damp area. It’s true even when you already dried them thoroughly. It is because, in the kitchen, the steam will often make it humid.

In this environment, one way you can prevent rust from developing is by oiling. Put a little bit of Tsubaki (Camellia) oil on the knife to create a layer impenetrable to water and protect it from moisture.

3. Build a Patina

Build a Patina

Patina is a form of more stable iron oxide called black iron oxide. It is another layer of protection that your knife can have against rust. It all has to do with the various colors that form on a knife when cutting different ingredients. All colors you see are good because they prevent rust formation, except orange and red.

There are several ways you can create a patina on your knife. These include:

  1. Using the blades regularly, then rinse and wipe dry when you are done cutting.
  2. Cutting a lot of meat or potatoes or soaking the knives in blood will create a patina.
  3. Cutting through plantain skin, a tannic acid substance, builds patina and prevents rust formation.

Forcing Patina to Rust-Proof Your Knives

You can also force the patina to form and give your knife extra rust protection. Follow the steps below to do just that:

  1. Boil the vinegar. While waiting, put some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to clean your knife.
  2. When the vinegar is finally boiled, you can then put it in a cup. Take your knife and put it inside the cup of vinegar. Soon, the knife will bubble and will forcefully create a patina on the blade.
  3. You will see this patina as a thin, black coating when you pull the knife out of the vinegar after 10 to 20 minutes.

The patina will wear off after a time, but you can repeat this process to force another patina on your blades.

4. Treating Knives

Treating Knives

If you were not able to prevent the rust from developing, don’t worry. You can still remove it with household items found in your home. Here are some of the products you can use to treat your rusty knife.

  1. Lemon Juice: Cover your knife in lemon juice and let it sit for about 5 minutes. After that, wipe the blade with a dry cloth to clean the lemon juice and rust off.
  2. White Vinegar: This method is the same as lemon juice. Only you use white vinegar instead. Make sure to use only white vinegar as the other kinds may actually damage the blades.
  3. Baking Soda: Create a thick paste of baking soda by adding a bit of water and stirring it up. Apply the baking soda paste on the knife and let sit for about 5 minutes. Clean it off using an abrasive sponge until the rust is gone. After that, clean the knife with a dry cloth before storing it.
  4. Potato/Onion: In this natural method, you simply stick the knife into either the onion or potato, so they cover the rusty part. Leave it for at least a couple of hours before removing the knife and cleaning it with a dry cloth.
  5. Steel Wool/Abrasive Sponge: Sometimes, you can simply rub the rust off with steel wool. You can also clean the rust with an abrasive sponge.

Related posts:

How to Polish a Knife Blade – A do-it-yourself process and How to Clean Damascus Steel Using All-Natural Cleaning Materials


Hopefully, you enjoyed this simple tutorial on how to keep your knives from rusting. The methods mentioned here are easy but tried and tested nonetheless. Out of all, the best way is to prevent rust from forming. That said, make sure to keep your knives clean and dry at all times.

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