A Guide to Cleaning Rusted Kitchen Knives

Posted by Steven Tuckey on

If you want your cutlery to last many years and not gather rust, you can choose stainless steel knives and other items. Unfortunately, even stainless steel may rust, and if you don't properly maintain your kitchen knives, they may eventually rust.

You don't have to go out and buy brand-new kitchen knives as a result, though. Instead, find out how to remove the rust from your items.

Fortunately, conventional baking soda or vinegar can remove rust from a knife. A kitchen knife may be cleaned using sufficient baking soda and water. Make sure to wipe it down with a moist towel after letting it sit for at least an hour.

In addition to this painless process, we will go through several other more efficient ways to remove rust from a knife. This article will provide a step-by-step process for safely removing rust from a kitchen knife.

What Causes Rust and How Can It Be Prevented?

Rust develops naturally when steel, iron, or other metals are exposed to oxygen and water. Simply said, rust results from water reacting with metal or iron.

Kitchen knives, for example, can quickly rust if they are not washed down after use. Unless you have a set of dishwasher-safe knives, never put kitchen knives in the dishwasher. Due to the high heat and moisture used in the dishwasher, a knife's blade can become exposed to rust.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a popular cleaning product that works wonders on rusty kitchen knives. In particular, if you purchase tiny containers of lemon juice, the citric acid in the juice is one of the least costly and one of the best natural rust removers.

Just cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon's cut side against the corroded portions of the knife. If you are using lemon juice, dip the knife into a container with the juice. Additionally, if there isn't much rust, adding lemon juice followed by a scrubbing pad should make it simple to remove the rust.

White Vinegar

Perhaps all you need to remove the rust from your kitchen knives is a bottle of white vinegar, which is likely to be in your kitchen. Vinegar is another natural cleaning agent, and it also has antibacterial characteristics.

White vinegar includes a small portion of acetic acid, which will help remove rust from metals. Dip the knife in white vinegar for about half an hour. Finish the work using a piece of steel wool or a cleaning pad to remove the rust. If the rust is new, you can use a soft towel to wipe it away after dipping it in vinegar.

It might be necessary to immerse the knife in lemon juice for 30 minutes or more if there is a lot of rust. The rust will start to fall off after that, and only light scrubbing will be required. After treating the blade with lemon juice, you might need to scour it with some steel wool if the rust is too severe.

It is advisable to use white vinegar since other varieties of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, can discolour the metal.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a fantastic cleaning product that you most likely already have. Using this approach, you must make a paste out of the soda and water to clean your knives. If there isn't much rust or if it hasn't set in yet, liberally apply the paste to the knife blade in a wiping motion and scrub with a toothbrush.

Utilising steel wool could be necessary if the blade has a lot of rust. The rust should be removed thanks to the baking soda's abrasion and power.

Remove any extra baking soda with a soft cloth. After cleaning the blade, you might also wish to lubricate it. The blade is protected from rusting further.

Citric Acid

Another effective cleaning solution for rust removal is citric acid, easily found at many retail outlets and health food stores. Three teaspoons of citric acid are mixed with warm water. The blade should soak in the solution for the entire night. The rust particles will become loose, and you will only need to scrub them away.

Be sure only to dip the knife's blade in the acid. It will take off any paint or other coatings that may have been on the object in addition to the rust.


It may seem strange, but potatoes eliminate rust. This is due to the oxalic acid in potatoes. After dipping the blade, leave the potato alone for a few hours. By doing this, oxalic acid will have more time to dissolve the rust.

Make sure to lubricate the blade after removing it from the potato. All rust is eliminated, and the oil prevents further rusting, which can occur when knives are kept in storage for an extended time.


Although it may not be the most pleasant-smelling way to clean rust from your kitchen knives, this technique is highly effective. It is also among the simplest ways to get rid of rust. Because onions contain sulfonic acid, they are very effective at removing rust.

Cut an onion with a see-saw motion. You won't need to worry about scrubbing; the rust will fall off.


WD-40 is a special combination of lubricants and anti-corrosion chemicals that works best to displace water, remove soil, and erase stains off iron or steel. WD stands for “Water Displacement” formula, which aids in creating a resistance to moisture and rust:

Lightly buff WD-40 with a spray bottle on the rusted area of the kitchen knife blade. Use sandpaper to remove the rust off the kitchen knife.

This technique might impact the polish of the knife blade. Try to avoid using this method on pricey kitchen knives.

Cleaning Off Rust on a Carbon Steel Knife

Baking soda and water solution is the most effective way to eliminate rust from carbon steel.

The carbon steel knife may be cleaned of stains using an acidic combination to separate oxidised iron from iron or steel. Oxalic acid may be used to remove rust from butcher's knife sets.


A good set of kitchen knives can last for several years, as long as they are appropriately taken care of. However, be sure to take steps to prevent your blades from rusting. If they do rust, use one of the above methods to clean the rust away, followed by a coat of oil to prevent further rusting.

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