It is not uncommon to find a knife in your kitchen showing signs of rust. From preparing breakfast to making your dinner, knives are essentially used always. After all, knives are made out of metal, and they do corrode but don’t worry, I will be sharing my personal experience and experimentation on how to make them shine again.
How to remove rust from a knife?. To remove rust from a knife, first grade the level of rust and then, based on this, Select a perfect acid like vinegar, lemon, baking soda, a toilet cleaner, or locally available rust removers and apply it to the knife’s surface and rub it well with dishwashing scrub. Wait for few minutes and then rub again. Use steel wool, sandpaper, or a brush for sturdy stains.
Knives come in different types, shapes, and sizes. Some knives are quite expensive and are considered antiques. Therefore taking care of your knife is important. Before we dive into the anatomy of knives, let us discuss briefly that why rust forms?
Rust is a reddish-brown hue that forms as an interplay between metal, water, and air, with the former being affected. Leaving metal wet is actually providing a catalyst to the reaction. If rust is not removed timely, it starts a chain reaction, thus further fueling in destroying your article.
Anatomy of knives
From a butcher to a chef preparing a fancy meal for you, everyone uses different knives. Some are sharp, and others are dull. But all have two main parts, the Blade and the Handle.
Depending on the knife, this part may be used for cutting, piercing, or spreading something. This is the part that is mainly affected by rust. Besides aesthetics, it also affects the performance of the knife.
As the name suggests, this part is used to hold the knife. It is designed for the maximum comfort of the user. This is either forged or stamped. While stamped handles are added later, forged refers to the handle, which is an extension of the blade. This part, if rusty, will add to the discomfort of the user.
Methods to Remove Rust from a knife
House Hold Methods
Before jumping onto a list of hefty products, we can help you find things sitting in your home that can help you remove rust stains quite easily.
A. Using Vinegar to Remove Rust from a knife
It is a mildly strong acid having a PH of 2.5, which comes in quite handy to remove rust. Based on the grade, some of the rust can be removed right away, while others may need an overnight stay. These items will be needed to help you out.
- Distilled white vinegar
- Piece of cloth
- A Brush
- A container
Let us discuss it step by step.
Step 1 Take a container and pour vinegar into it. Immerse the knife completely into the container and wait for fifteen minutes.
Step 2 Take a piece of cloth and soak it into the vinegar. Now apply it onto the blade of a knife. Start rubbing it gently. The loose rust should start coming off.
Step 3 If the rust is difficult to remove, scrub it with a dishwashing scrubber. Repeat these steps if necessary.
Step 4 For stubborn rust, add steel wool to the procedure. It should help remove them.
Step 5 Once the shine is restored, with a piece of clean cloth apply a thin layer of oil.
B. Using Lemons to Remove Rust from a knife
Lemons contain citric acid. Due to its low PH (value of 2), It helps oxidize rust pretty quickly. All you need is
- Freshly prepared lemon Juice
- A scrubber
- A Piece of clean cloth
The procedure is quite simple. Squeeze a considerable amount of lemon juice on the surface of the blade and cover it with a layer of salt. Wait for about 45 minutes so that acid shows its action onto the rust. Now scrub it with a dishwashing scrubber and if necessary, use steel wool to clear off stubborn stains. The salt acts as abrasive and helps scratch off the rust. You will definitely get a shiny blade in the end. When you have finished your job, always cover the surface of the knife with a layer of oil.
C. Using Toilet cleaner as a knife Rust Remover
Toilet cleaners are highly acidic solutions, mainly containing Hydrochloric Acid. They have the ability to remove some of the toughest stains. Besides cleaning your toilet, they can also remove rust stains from your knife. Due to their corrosive nature, they should be used cautiously. For using it as a rust remover you should have,
- Toilet cleaner
- Plastic container
- Pair of gloves
- Brush or Steel wool
- A Piece of cloth
Before starting the cleaning, wear gloves properly. Now take a plastic container and pour a reasonable amount of toilet cleaner into it. Use a piece of cloth to apply the cleaner to the surface of the knife. Wait for about 20 minutes, and then use a hand brush or steel wool to scratch off the rust. Wash the knife with plenty of water and see for any leftover rust. If the knife still shows signs of rust, repeat the procedure, but now after applying the cleaner to the knife, wait for at least 30 minutes. As mentioned previously, never forget to cover the knife’s surface with a thin layer of oil.
D. Using Sandpaper and oil to Remove Rust from a knife
Sandpapers are graded based on the finesse. Some are coarse, and others superfine. While using sandpaper, always opt for fine grits (because they have the least capability to scratch the surface). Combining oil with sandpaper helps remove rust more efficiently without destroying the delicate surface.
All you need is sandpaper, Oil and a piece of cloth.
Step 1 Take a clean piece of cloth and apply any oil to the knife’s surface. Let the oil embeds into the rust.
Step 2 Now start rubbing it with a fine-grit sandpaper. Scrub the surface gently and restrain from applying excessive pressure.
Step 3 Renew the sandpaper as the need arises. Once there are no stains left, wash the knife with water and mope it dry with a cotton cloth piece and apply a film of oil.
E. Baking Soda
Baking soda is not too efficient at removing rust, although it can remove mild rust from the thin knife blade’s surface. For using baking soda, make a paste out with the help of water or preferably lemon juice. Apply it to the surface of the Knife and wait for 15 minutes. Scrub the surface with a toothbrush or dishwashing scrubber. Once the rust is removed, wash it with water and apply a layer of oil.
Best Available Knife Rust Removers
When home remedies fail to rescue, don’t worry. You can find a lot of Rust removers online. Some are liquid-based formulations, and others are solid products. I have shortlisted a few products that will help you choose easily and wisely.
They are essentially stones made from a mixture of binding and abrasive agents. You may find them easily in a hardware store. They are nonexpensive, user-friendly products that are graded based on grits. Grits range from fine to coarse. I personally recommend Sabitoru Rust Eraser due to its low price and excellent results.
Follow the below mentioned steps for best results.
Step 1 Select your Rust Eraser based on grit. Try to use fine grit erasers because they tends to scratch less. Place them in water for about 20 minutes, so that they have some smoothness to the surface.
Step 2 Place the knife on a smooth soft topped surface. This will help secure knife better and avoid scratches from under the knife. It will also prevent you from possible injury.
Step 3 Start rubbing the eraser, preferably in the direction of previous scratches. Try not to touch the sharp edge of blade because it will damage its sharpness. Once there are no signs of rust, wash the knife with water and apply a thin layer of oil.
Metal polishing pastes
You will find plenty of them online. They help remove the rust and give a fine shine to the metal. I like Metal Glo Polishing paste due to its low price, quick action, and easy application. All you need is steel wool, a polishing paste, and a piece of cloth. The description is as follows
Step 1 Clean the knife under a running tap water. Cleaning the Knife is important because the dirt may interfere with paste action.
Step 2 Apply polishing paste on the surface of knife and use metal wool to rub off the rust. You can also use dishwashing scrub. For best result repeat this procedure 3 to 4 times.
Step 3 Once you are done with the procedure, wipe the knife with a clean cloth.
They are solid stone blocks used to sharpen the knife but can be quite handy at removing the rust. Before the procedure, pours water on the stone and then rub the knife on the stone’s surface opposite the stone’s direction. Refrain from applying excessive pressure as it may scratch the knife. Once the rust is removed, clean the knife with a cloth and apply a thin layer of oil. You can find many of these stones, but I will recommend Nagura Stone with grit 12k for the best results.
Industrial Scale Rust Removers
They should only be used when other measures fail to remove heavy rust. They are available in spray or simple fluid formulations. I recommend Loctite Rust Dissolver due to its quick and effective action. All you have to do is clean the knife before applying the rust dissolver. After application, wait for 15 to 30 minutes and rinse the knife. For best results, you may need to repeat the procedure 2 to 3 times. When using a rust dissolver, always be cautious due to its corrosive nature.
How to Prevent Rust on Knives?
Not all, but some knives are pretty expensive and are considered antiques. Finding your expensive knife getting rusty makes you feel worried. Knives do corrode. After all, they are extensively used but don’t worry. I will guide you on how to prevent rust on the knife. So lets jump straight into it.
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Timely Cleaning your knife is very important. Never leave your knife dirty because it kicks a catalytic rust reaction.
Keeping Knife Dry is as important as cleaning them. Water is the main culprit for rust development, so keeping your knife dry will help prevent rust. Never leave your knife in the dishwasher or a sink overnight. Always try to mop them dry timely.
Breaking the Reaction with oil is very effective. Oil is the enemy of rust, so always cover the knife’s surface with an oil layer. Keep a special eye on hinges and joints.
Proper Storage is needed once you are no longer using your knives. Always keep them in a dry place away from moisture and humidity.
How to Remove Rust from Carbon Steel Knife?
Carbon steel knives are not ordinary, and serious cooks use them.
They are mostly resistant to normal wear and tear and maintain their blade sharpness due to their rigid chemistry, thanks to high carbon content (2.5%) than ordinary steel.
On the one hand, carbon steel is pretty tough but is more rust-prone than stainless steel.
They are also more prone to degradation by acids.
Like are normal knife, rust can also be removed from a carbon steel knife the same way, but special care should be taken when scrubbing it. We can use the following things to remove rust from Carbon steel knife.
Vinegar like other weak acid will do the job. Apply or immerse the knife in vinegar for 15 minutes and then scrub the knife with help of steel wool or any abrasive material. While scrubbing the knife refrain from applying too much pressure. Repeat the procedure if required. At the end of procedure mop the knife dry with a clean cloth and cover it with oil.
Baking Soda can also be used to remove light rust from your carbon knife. Mix a lemon juice in baking soda powder and prepare a paste out of that. After cleaning your knife with water apply the baking soda onto the blade and wait for 30 minutes. Once you have waited long enough scrub the surface with dishwashing scrub and clean the knife with a a dry piece of cloth.
Other home remedies include applying lemon juice and concealing the rusty knife part in a potato, but these are least effective to warrant further details.