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How to remove rust from kitchen knives and keep them looking new and shiny all the time

Have you been using steel knives in your kitchen, and now they’ve started rusting? Don’t worry, there are many ways you can get rid of the rust.

Removing rust from kitchen knives is as easy as peeling a potato. There are countless ways you can remove rust from kitchen knives, from vinegar, baking soda, and lime juice to potatoes and onions.

In this article, you’ll get to know all about how to remove rust from kitchen knives, why your knives rust, how can you prevent it, and a lot more. Continue reading to get all the answers.

Keep rust away from your kitchen knives

There is nothing as bad as using a costly knife and seeing it slowly start developing rust on the blade. Not only is it bad to look at, but it is also extremely unsafe to use. Luckily for you, there are numerous ways you can get rid of rust and make your knives look new again. Before knowing how to remove rust from kitchen knives, it’s important to know what causes rust. If you know what causes it, you can do your best to prevent the knives from rusting in the first place. 

What causes your kitchen knives to rust?

If you don’t know what is rust, then it is the red/orange flaky substance that grows on metal kitchen knives. Rust normally occurs when iron and oxygen react in the presence of water or moisture. This is why knowing how to store kitchen knives properly is important for maintaining them. You can ensure that your kitchen knives are properly dried before putting them away. It’ll be important if you’re storing them in a sheath or in any knife block. In such places, moisture has a tough time evaporating. The moisture or water trapped and constantly getting exposed to the metal surface could cause the knife to rust.

You shouldn’t leave any kitchen knives soaked in water. One of the best practices that you can do would be to take care of your kitchen knives. Once you’re done using the knife, wash it, dry it, and then put it away. It’ll take just 15 seconds, and you’ll save a lot of time and money in the future. You should also look to avoid the dishwasher, as the exposure to moisture can cause the knife to rust. It can even dull the kitchen knife, as other items in the dishwasher can knock the blade of the knife. However, accidents happen, and your kitchen knives can rust if you’re not careful. Here are some of the tips to help you prevent rusting in kitchen knives.

  • Don’t wash your kitchen knives in the dishwasher. The heat in the dishwasher can cause the metal to expand and contract. This will result in stress points that can potentially end up getting rusted.
  • Wash the kitchen knives with dish soap after every use and then dry them off. The oxygen molecules in water can bond to iron, making it the most common source of rust.
  • Avoid using saltwater. If you’re going to be working in a saltwater environment, prefer using titanium or ceramic kitchen knives.
  • Don’t soak your knives in water or leave them in water overnight. The water will hasten the rusting process while also reducing the lifespan of the kitchen knives.

How to remove rust from kitchen knives?

There are many proven methods that you can use for removing rust from your kitchen knives. These methods will help remove any last bit of rust and keep your knife shining. Here are some of those methods.

Use white vinegar

Vinegar is among the must-have kitchen items. It’s known for being a natural cleansing agent with antiseptic properties. White vinegar contains around 5-6% of acetic acid, making it a weak acid. The acetic acid properties will help you get rid of rust in your knives in a simple and straightforward way.

You’ll only have to soak and leave the knife in white vinegar for 30-45 minutes. Then, use a scrubbing pad or steel wool for removing the rust. This will be even more helpful if the rust has been accumulating for a while.

If you’re dealing with a newly rusted kitchen knife, use a piece of cloth or towel to wipe after soaking. You shouldn’t be using apple cider vinegar, as it’ll likely leave rust stains on your kitchen knives.

Use lemon juice

Most people know lemon is useful if you have a cold or apply it to cut fruits to avoid oxidation. It is also a great alternative for removing rust from your kitchen knives. The natural citric acid present in lemon juice will be of great help in getting rid of any rust. 

how to remove rust from kitchen knives - removing rust from knife using lemon

Simply take a small lemon, slice it in half, and then squeeze and press it along the rusted metal. If the rusted area is small, remove the rust with a scrubbing pad. If the area is large, you’ll need to leave the lemon juice on for 30 minutes. Then, clean it. In case the rusting is heavy, carefully use a piece of steel wool for cleaning the area and get rid of any rust.

Use baking soda

Baking soda is another great alternative to get rid of rust from your kitchen knives. All you’ll have to do is create the baking soda paste. You’ll need to pour a decent amount of baking into a bowl and then add water. Keep stirring the mixture until it becomes a paste.

Apply the baking soda paste to a clean toothbrush and then liberally spread it across the knife’s blade. You should then scrub with the toothbrush if the rust isn’t too severe.

For badly rusted knives, you will have to use a bit more abrasion for removing the rust. Steel wool is a common recommendation, although it may mess up the blade if scrubbed too hard. Another alternative that you can go for would be a slightly abrasive sponge.

Be careful that you don’t scrub too hard, as you’ll end up scratching the blade or ruining the finish. Finally, clean the blade with a piece of cloth for removing the excessive baking soda. For extra measure, you can apply it afterward to ensure that it is lubricated and protected from rust in the future. 

Using citric acid

Another proven way of removing rust from your kitchen knife would be to use citric acid. This is a very common kitchen product that you can find in supermarkets or health food stores. It is very effective in removing rust from kitchen knives.

The entire process of removing rust from kitchen knives is fairly straightforward. Add 2-3 tablespoons of citric acid into a bowl of hot water. Then, submerge your knife and leave it overnight. The next day, you’ll have to scrub off the freshly dissolved rust.

One potential disadvantage of using citric acid is that it removes rust with paint or other coatings on the knife. However, if the knife is just stainless steel with rust, it’ll be a great way of removing rust.

Metal Glo for removing rust

Metal Glo is a commonly used chemical solution that will help you get rid of stubborn rust on kitchen knives. This is a carefully formulated solution totally safe for knives, cookware, silverware, and even jewelry.

When using Metal Glo or any chemical solution on kitchen knives, rub it along the grain pattern so that you don’t scratch the metal. Apply the thick paste evenly to the metallic part of your knife. This will help you remove rust from the knives.

How to remove rust from kitchen knives naturally?

If you don’t have any of these materials lying around in your house, there are a couple of alternatives too. There are a few natural methods that you can use for removing rust from kitchen knives.

Use the potato method

Certain food items will act as decent sources to remove rust, potato is one of them. Using potatoes is one of the best natural ways to remove rust from kitchen knives

Potato is remarkably effective when you’re looking to remove rust due to the presence of oxalic acid. You should simply stick your kitchen knife into the potato for a couple of hours. This way, you’ll give oxalic acid enough time to remove any dust from the kitchen knives. Once you removed the knife from the potato, wipe it with oil and the rust will be gone. To prevent any rusting in the future, apply oil to the knives, especially when you’re storing them over long periods.

how to remove rust from kitchen knives - removing rust from knife using potato

Another point worth noting is that the potato method will be great if the rusting isn’t that extreme. With rust that has been left for a bit, consider more effective methods than using potatoes. You can combine it with dish soap for more effective cleaning.

Onion method

An onion is another great alternative that will help you get rid of kitchen knives naturally. If you’re sawing back and forth into an onion, you’ll notice that the rust has started coming off by itself. The sulfonic acids present in onions will be the key ingredient to help keep your blade clean while removing rust.

Important tips to keep in mind when removing rust on your kitchen knives

Prevention is the best method

If you can prevent your kitchen knives from getting rusted in the first place, it’ll be the best approach. You’ll need to maintain your kitchen knives. Any necessary preventive measures, and you’ll be good to go. For instance, it’ll help if you apply mineral oil to your knives from time to time. Mineral oil keeps potential rust at bay even when you have to store your knives for a long time.

The type of knife blade matters

Before you choose the method to remove rust, ensure that you understand the type of material used for the blade. For instance, using dish soap with the potato method while scrubbing with steel wool will offer exceptional results. This method might work for one type of a knife, while not having the same results for other types. Products like baking soda, vinegar, etc. will be safe and gentle on most blades.

how to remove rust from kitchen knives - types of knives

Protect the blades

Before selecting the cleaning products for your knife, ensure that you understand the implications they could have on the blade. If you succeed in removing rust, but you end up scratching the blades, it’ll render them unusable.

Look for methods that’ll help you clean the knife while also protecting the knife blade. Vinegar will be a great option thanks to its antiseptic properties.

Some rusty spots might be irreversible

While there are many methods that you can use to get rid of rust, sometimes rust might be permanent. If your kitchen knife has high rust levels, it’ll be hard to get rid of rusty spots. Purchasing a new knife might be the only solution.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know all about rusting in kitchen knives, how to remove rust from kitchen knives, tips to prevent rusting, and more. Rust is the reddish flaky substance that gets deposited on the metal portion of your kitchen knife. Rusting normally occurs when a knife comes in contact with water or moisture. Use any of the techniques mentioned above to remove rust in case it gets deposited on your kitchen knives.

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