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How to Remove Rust from Knives Quickly and Easy – CRATEX

This article is part of Art of Knife Making series.
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How to Remove Rust from Knives

A knife is a tool with cutting edge and can use for different purposes such as hunting, combat, scouting, camping, hiking, and kitchen. It doesn't matter if you’ve found a knife in your old work box or unintentionally left your precious item outside, chances that your knife is pretty rusted are enormous. Rust may look like the sad end of the movie, but it’s possible to preserve your favorite knife using some of the methods below.

Once, you figure out how to remove rust, then you'll be capable of refreshing your knife look like a brand new. Here's a various range of techniques forremoving rust from blades.

Read this article carefully on how to remove rust off a knife with different methods and tools.

Removing Rust Using Rotary Tool

Removing Rust Using Rotary Tool

Choose an electric rotary tool, appropriate abrasives and a vice. For similar projects you can use Dremel hand rotary tool or bench lathe in combination with abrasive wheels.

Best abrasives for removing rust from knives are CRTAEX rubberized wheels. Wheels found their place in essential knifemaking tools for beginners. They are made from silicon carbide and premium rubber that is used for impregnation. Wheels come from 1 to 6 inch diameter. This means you can use them for small pocket knifes to big one with massive blade.

There are 4 grit sizes: coarse, medium, fine and extra fine. Start with medium grit to make sure not to damage knife. Fine and extra fine grits are perfect for final knife polishing.

Jeweling Grit Textures

Attach the small rubber abrasive wheel to Dremel. Pour oil to the rusted surface, for lubrication. Use rotary tool slowly and cautiously to avoid the blade damaging.

Set the knife in a vice grip, and use the small wheels with the short and precise movements. After that, replace medium or coarse rubber abrasive wheel with wheel in fine or extra fine grit size and continue with the same smooth short moves. Wipe the blade until it becomes shiny and polished.

This method is very efficient and gives instant results.

Small Mounted Wheels

Order Small Wheels

SKU Diameter Thickness Arbor Hole Edge
Q1 3/8" 3/32" 1/16" Tapered
Q53 5/8" 3/32" 1/16" Straight
Q54 5/8" 1/8" 1/16" Straight
Q59 5/8" 1/4" 1/16" Straight
Q74 7/8" 1/8" 1/16" Straight
Q80 1" 1/8" 1/16" Straight
Q80-2 1" 1/8" 1/8" Straight
Q86 1" 3/16" 1/16" Straight
Q88 1" 1/4" 1/16" Straight
Q88-2 1" 1/4" 1/8" Straight
Q2 5/8" 3/32" 1/16" Tapered
Q5 1" 1/8" 1/16" Tapered
SKU Price Quantity
sku $price
Quantity Price per piece

Be cautious and always use protective equipment when work with abrasives and rotary tools. Safety gloves, mask and eyeglasses are here to protect your body and lungs.

Removing Rust Using White Vinegar

Vinegar is available in all stores and it’s also efficient product for cleaning metal and steel items, so purchase a big bottle if you need for the task. Make sure to choose white vinegar, that contains an organic compound known as acetic acid which will take off the rust. Other sorts of vinegar may cause stains.

If you don’t need to soak the entire knife, you can pour a paper towel in the liquid and envelop it around the rusted area. Allow the blade to sit in for 5 minutes. It can't sit longer since it will damage the item surface. After the soaking, clean down your knife using dry cloth.

WD-40 Solution

This solution is suitable for a larger blade and a knife that won’t be applying for food preparation, because the spray can be toxic if it consumed. At the same time, that is the answer to the question: is rust on knife dangerous. Yes, using rusted knife can seriously jeopardize your health.

Still, using WD-40 it's a prompt and efficient solution of rust removal. Sprinkle the affected surfaces of the knife with spray and let it stay for couple of minutes. You’ll require to use fine sandpaper to tenderly remove the rust from the blade and get a knife without rust in several minutes. Simple as that. 

Baking Soda Process

If you don’t have it at home already, you can find baking soda in every grocery, and it can remove rust quickly and efficiently. Here're the instructions on how to remove rust from knives with baking soda. Use some water onto the surface you need to remove rust. Pour liberally an amount of baking soda onto the sprinkled surface. It should stick to the sprinkler parts.

Shake a bit, and the surplus will drop off. Sprinkle the scrubbing surface with some water and softly scrub the baking soda coated item. Now, when a considerable amount of soda has been dissolved, wet little more, if the blade has reamain rust. After, five minutes of cleaning, almost all rust disappears.

Onion Technique

Onion is food that provides removing of rust naturally and solves your issue on how to remove rust from kitchen knives. If you pull the blade back and forth into an onion, the rust will disappear quickly. This vegetable contains the sulfenic acids that eliminate rust.

Potato Method

Potato is another vegetable that helps to take off the rust from your blade. Key ingredients that provide rust removal is the oxalic acid. Just, put your knife into the potato for a couple of hours. When you take it off, clean the surface with oil and rust should gone.

Lemon Juice Solution

Lemon is one of the primary household supplies, and it's available in almost every kitchen. To start the process you’ll need a glass, lemon juice, and water.

Then, mix half of the hot water and half of the lemon juice in your glass, adequate to cover the metal blade, and submerge knife in. Leave it for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, take off your knife from the glass. The rust has disappeared, and you can wipe away the rusted surface with cloth. It is an excellent solution and answer on how does lemon juice remove rust from knives.

Toothbrush Tool

Take the used toothbrush to remove dirt and grease from your knife blade. Pour some glass washing detergent to the toothbrush and then apply it on the rusted surface. After you finish the process, wash away the soap, and dry the blade with a clean rag.

Eraser Sponge Remover

There is no need for any chemical usage with eraser sponge. Sprinkle it with a little water, and you can start with the scrubbing. Scrub the rust pits on your blade. Then, wash off the blade and dry it.

Non-Toxic Rust Solution

You can find non-toxic rust removal products in auto part stores and hardware. They are milder than the other acid-based chemical solutions that you can apply to remove rust. To use a non-toxic product, fill some of a remover into a bowl and submerge the blade in the solution.

Let it sit in the solution for a half hour. Then, pull it from a bowl and rinse off the excess product, clean the blade with a rag and dry.

Water Technique

Before you take off the rust, ensure that the blade is without dirt and oils. Hold your knife under some hot running water to remove it.

Run it patiently and slowly, to avoid any damaging of your knife. Apply regular water to remove rust spots. Prevent the water comes through the gaps between the blade and handle because it can make new rust stains. At the end of the action, dry your knife blade with a clean, soft cloth.

Coca-Cola Solution

Coca-Cola contains phosphoric acid that interacts with iron oxide to dissolve rust, and it’s a good instant solution to remove rust from stainless steel knives. You need a small bowl, coke can and aluminum foil wad. Pour the coke in a bowl. Then dip foil in the coke, take the wet foil from the cola and start scrubbing away the rusty spots from your blade surface. Rinse the knife and dry.

Calcium Lime Rust Cleaner

Calcium Lime Rust (CLR) Remover is a commercial cleaner that removes calcium, lime, and rust from any metal surface. It's usually using for remove surface rust stains from sinks, glass, bathtubs, but it can be applied to remove rust from a knife too.

First, immerse your blade directly into a pot with a mixture of half hot water and half CLR cleaner for about two minutes. Then, take the knife from the pan and rinse it with the cold water. Clean it with the gloves and dry the blade.

Preventing Rust on Knife Blades

Maybe, the worst attacker on the knife blade quality is rust. Despite the fact that the modern knives produced from high-quality materials, rust almost always find a way to your blade surface. Take care of blade to ensure that you don’t have issues with rust consistency.

Follow these tips on how to protect your knife from rust spots.

  • Don’t let to your knife get wet, especially with salt water or any corrosive fluid;
  • Don't store a dirty knife. You must clean it after every use;
  • Always clean the gaps between knife handle and blade, because the dirt in that interspace can cause rust;
  • Never store your knife in a dishwasher;
  • Never leave your knives in the sink, water or outdoor;
  • Wash your blades with soap and dry them immediately;
  • Once in a while, clean your knife with a suitable oil.