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Welcome to the pocket knife maintenance guide! Knife care is essential for those that want their knives to last as long as they were made to. Not caring for and cleaning knives can cause them to rust, break, and fail when you are counting on them. After all, a healthy, clean pocket knife is an ownerís best friend. This knife maintenance guide will offer the knife care tips that your knives will thank you for.

  • Knife Care Tips
  • Rusted Knife Care
  • Storing Knives
  • Do Not

  • Knife Care Tips


    A clean pocket knife is a happy pocket knife. Keep your knives, especially folders, free from debris that can affect the pivot. Gather your supplies: cleaning formulas, a toothbrush, toothpick, dish soap and water.

    Use a knife cleaning liquid or dish soap and water and wipe the knife down. Use a Q-tip or toothpick to get in the small crevices. Some knife owners submerge their knives under soapy water, but you then have to be sure to get all of the water out with compressed air and a rag. Do not let the knife sit in the water. Know beforehand how water and soap will affect the materials on the knife.

    Know that taking apart a knife can void the warranty. Some companies like Spyderco use blue Loctite on the screws to keep them from coming loose. If you choose to take apart your knife to clean it, you can use a small amount of blue Loctite on the screws if you want some peace of mind. Using red Loctite means you donít want the knife to come apart again. Ever. It can, but itís extremely hard to get loose.

    Pro tip: quickly wiping down the blade after each use will help in staying shipshape. After following these tips to clean a dirty knife, now itís time to lubricate.


    Knives that come from the factory are already lubricated, so hold the oil. Give them some time to wear a little and break in before panicking that your new folder isnít opening as smooth as youíd like.

    Use quality lubricants like Benchmade Blue Lube, Remington Rem Oil, Sentry Solutions Tuf-Glide, FrogLube, and other quality brands.

    Every now and then, put a few light drops of oil on the pivot and a light coat on the blade. This prevents rust and corrosion and will keep the blade opening smoothly.

    Keep it Sharp

    Keeping a knife sharp is one of the most important things you can do in knife maintenance. By sharpening often, the blade will always be ready to rock and be easy to sharpen each time. You donít know frustration until you have to reprofile a completely dull quality steel blade.

    Sharpening Guides:

  • How to Sharpen and Strop a Knife
  • How to Sharpen a Tanto Blade
  • How to Sharpen a Recurve Blade
  • How to Sharpen a Machete
  • How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife
  • The best sharpening tools from Blade HQ are the Spyderco Sharpmaker, Benchmade Work Sharp, Wicked Edge, and the Darex Work Sharp. There are many sharpening stones available that require a little more skill to master as they are unguided.

    Rusted Knife Care

    A rusty knife blade is a sight that makes owners cringe. Luckily, rusted blades can usually be spiffed up with different methods. Be sure to first clean the blade so that dirt and other things canít cause more harm.

  • Light rust - Light rust comes off easily with a soft rag and lubricating oil or knife cleaner.
  • Heavy rust - If knife cleaner isnít taking off the rust it may be time to buy a rust removing solution. Make sure it is safe for stainless steels and will not discolor the blade.
  • A more natural solution - For those knife lovers that like a more natural approach, potatoes, onions, and baking soda can do wonders. Leave the blade stuck in a potato for a few hours or cut up an onion and the rust will start to disappear.
  • Donít use water to try to clean rust. Water was most likely the culprit for your rusty blades so you donít want to go down that road again.

    Storing Knives

    Some manufacturers suggest storing with the blade open to decompress the springs inside, but the majority of pocket knives are fine to store closed. When storing a knife be sure it is cleaned, lubricated, and ready for isolation. Lubricate the pivot and put a light coat on the blade and bare metal parts.

    Keep knives stored in a dry, cool place that is away from moisture. Be sure to not store fixed blades in sheaths as leather and other materials can soak up moisture and promote the unpleasant rusting process.

    Do Not

  • Use the tip to pry. Knife blades are not built to pry with excessive force. The tip is a weak part of the knife and is prone to breaking.
  • Use as a screwdriver. We know itís tempting, but you must refrain if you like the shape of your blade.
  • Strike a knife with a hammer. ďBut I saw it in this survival show once.Ē Yeah, but it can do damage to knives, especially folders. Donít be that guy that sends a knife in for warranty because you broke it with your hammer.
  • Leave a knife wet. Not only can the blade rust but the functionality of the pivot and other parts can be affected.
  • Donít store fixed blades in a sheath. The sheath can encourage corrosion if stored for long periods.

  • Pocket Knife Maintenance Conclusions

    Treat your pocket knives how you would want to be treated. Would you want to be left in the soaking grass while your owner forgets all about you? Of course not. Keep your knives clean, oiled, sharp, and youíll be surprised just how long they can last.

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