Say Goodbye to Kitchen Knife Rust: How To Remove Rust At Home – HEPHAIS
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Say Goodbye to Kitchen Knife Rust: How To Remove Rust At Home

30 Jul 2023

Encountering a rusty kitchen knife can be an unpleasant surprise, whether it's due to leaving it exposed to rain, submerged in water, or forgotten in under the sink for an extended period. While rust on knives was once seen as a testament to their longevity, it is now known to be not only unsightly but also hazardous and renders the knife useless. But fear not, there are plenty of tried and true methods to remove rust from your beloved kitchen knives

Understanding Knife Rust

Rust, scientifically known as iron oxide, appears as the reddish-orange flaky substance that develops on metal surfaces when iron and oxygen react with moisture. Even the presence of moisture in the air can trigger the rusting process on kitchen knives, as they contain iron in their steel blades. Some may believe that stainless steel blades are entirely immune to rust, but they still contain at least 10.5% chromium, which provides an additional layer of protection, making them "stain-less" rather than "stain-free."

Effective Kitchen Knife Rust Removal Methods

To restore knives to their pristine condition and ensure a sharp and safe blade, various rust removal techniques can be employed. For heavily rusted kitchen knives, a combination of methods may be necessary.

an infographic about removing kitchen knife rust

The Baking Soda Method

Ideal for light rust stains or thin metal knives. 
Begin by thoroughly cleaning the knife to remove any dirt, avoiding water, as moisture contributes to rust formation. Create a thick paste by mixing water and baking soda, then apply it to cover all rusted areas. Allow the paste to sit for about an hour before using a toothbrush to scrub away the rust. For more severe cases, steel wool or a mildly abrasive sponge can be used, but caution is advised not to damage the knife. Afterward, rinse off the paste, dry the knife, and apply a protective coating of mineral oil, such as camellia oil.

Vinegar Method

White vinegar's acetic acid content makes it effective against rust. Soak the rusted knife in white vinegar for no more than five minutes to prevent damage. If some rust remains, follow up with the baking soda method, then clean the knife with water and dry it.

Lemon and Salt

Combining the acidity of lemons with the abrasiveness of salt can help tackle small rust spots on kitchen knives. Cover the affected areas with salt and add lemon juice on top. Allow it to sit for approximately two hours before scrubbing the rust with lemon rind. For tougher spots, a slightly abrasive wire brush or steel wool can be used. Rinse the knife with water and dry it thoroughly.

The Potato Method

Surprisingly, potatoes contain oxalic acid, which is effective at rust removal. Simply insert the rusted kitchen knife into a potato and let it sit for a few hours. Afterward, wipe down the blade with oil to remove any remaining rust.

Consider Replacing the Knife

If a knife is severely damaged by rust and difficult to salvage, it may be time to consider getting a new one. Premium quality knives from reputable brands, with manufacturer warranties, are available to ensure they serve you for many years. Here at Hephais we pride ourselves on making top quality chef knives that are affordable and can be used in the kitchen, check out our range of kitchen knives

Rust Prevention

Rust prevention is essential to prolonging the life and performance of your kitchen knives. After successfully removing rust, take proactive measures to prevent its recurrence. Ensure your knives are thoroughly dried after each use, as moisture is a significant contributor to rust formation. Store your knives in a dry environment, and consider using knife guards or magnetic strips to keep them from coming into contact with other metal surfaces. Regularly apply a thin layer of food-grade mineral oil or a specialized knife lubricant to create a protective barrier against moisture and oxidation. By incorporating these simple yet effective rust prevention practices into your knife maintenance routine, you can enjoy rust-free and gleaming blades for years to come. If you're interested in learning about sharpening and honing knives, check out our article on Sharpening vs Honing


Rust on knives can be a frustrating issue, but with the appropriate techniques and preventive measures, you can keep your kitchen knives rust-free and in excellent condition for extended periods.

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