No one wants a rusty knife.
Aside from ruining your knife’s shiny look, rust makes the edges dull. With rusty and blunt knives, you will find it hard to cut a twig when hiking. Or see it challenging to chop meat with your rusty cleaver.
However, knives rust no matter how we prevent rust buildup from happening. Yet, we can practice some steps on how to keep knives from rusting to keep them shiny and sharp.
Let us dive into the following points to understand why rust appears and how we could delay it.
- 1 What Causes Knives to Rust
- 2 6 Steps to a Stain-Free Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel Knives
- 3 4 House Hacks for Rust-Free Kitchen Knives
- 4 The Final Cut
What Causes Knives to Rust
In terms of science, rust is iron oxide – the red-orange flakes you see in metals. It forms in objects containing iron, oxygen, and moisture. Since iron is one main component of a knife, it makes it rust-prone.
The rusting starts when it couples with moisture and air. Every time we wash knives with soap and tap water or slice and dice wet meat, we hasten their rusting.
Rust occurs when you keep your knives wet, particularly when blood-stained after slicing fish or a chunk of meat. When you leave your knife in the rain or a humid environment for hours, expect a layer of rust to form in your cutting tools.
Also, inserting your knives into a damp sheath increases the rate of rusting. Keeping your knives in a set of already rusty blades also breeds rust. In the simplest sense, almost everything we do with our knives causes them to rust.
6 Steps to a Stain-Free Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel Knives
Let us be honest. No knives will last more than the earth’s age.
While faulty knife use and maintenance affect a knife, rusting is still the biggest culprit in wearing its quality. Yet, the types of knives still play a significant role in their lifespan, durability, and vulnerability to rust.
Among the different types of knives, carbon steel and stainless steel are the best and most common.
Between the two, which is more prone to rusting? And which is resistant enough against rust damage?
High-carbon steel knives are more vulnerable to rust. To slow down their rust formation, you can sharpen them regularly to stay stain-free and sharp. On the other hand, your stainless steel knives have a lesser chance of rusting. They have an average of 10% chromium coating and components that protect them. Yet, they are not totally stain-free. They are just stain-resistant as they still have iron as a component. In short, a stainless steel knife can still rust when exposed to moisture and air.
Do you really want to know how to keep knives from rusting? If your answer is yes, follow these seven proven and preventative steps against knife staining.
Keep your knives always clean and dry
Use a dry table napkin or cloth to clean your knife after washing or using it. Wipe any moisture on the knife’s cutting edge, heel, or handle. Normally, the rivets are the parts where rusting begins.
So, if you really want your blade to have a longer lifespan, wipe the clips and screws properly so rust will not build up.
Dry out your knives before putting them into racks or sheaths.
Do not clean your knives in the dishwasher.
Using a dishwasher affects the quality of a knife. It is better to clean your knives through handwashing as the dishwasher uses high-acid soap that is usually abrasive.
In this way, a dishwasher damages the coating of stainless steel knives while directly harms carbon steel blades. In addition, the heat and humidity in the dishwasher increase the rust formation of your knives, especially in the handle.
If you use a dishwasher, be certain that you do not let your knives sit in there after washing. Wipe them dry before storing them. If you do not have the minutes to empty the dishwasher right after washing, allow them to air-dry by pulling the shelves out while the dishwasher is still warm.
Do knife maintenance checkups
Check and test your blade always. The portions where rust starts are the parts where the first compacted rust will show up. In this manner, it is a must to remove the stains as soon as possible.
Look if there are rust spots that appear in the handles, tip, and heels. For a pocket knife, look into the grip and fold.
For kitchen knives, observe the edge’s color if it turned brownish or yellow.
If you notice some rust forming in the different parts of your knife, clean it immediately with a clean cloth. Oil the rivets, screws, and tang to optimize cleaning.
Create a patina on your knife
A patina is a brown or green thin layer that forms when oxidation happens. Patinas create a natural finished seal that counters corrosion and rust damage in the future.
A patina can be natural or forced. It means that you can make a patina coating through a patina-making process.
To create a patina coating, you will need the following:
• a clean and dry towel
• rubbing alcohol
• white vinegar
• container ( a kitchen pan will do)
• hydrogen peroxide
• steel knife
For the process, follow these steps:
1. Boil the white vinegar. While waiting, clean your knife by washing it in the kitchen sink with a low-acid soap. After that, wipe it with a dry cloth or towel that has been soaked in rubbing alcohol. This process removes the dirt and stain which may be present on the blade.
2. After boiling, pour the white vinegar into the container. Add a pinch of salt. Then, soak the knife in the vinegar. Let the blade sit in the vinegar solution for about 30 minutes.
3. After that, add hydrogen peroxide and another pinch of salt to the first vinegar solution. Let the blade sit for about 20 minutes.
4. Allow your knife to dry for hours after soaking. You may apply a coat of acrylic finish or a film of beeswax to prepare for the patina formation. It is also for a more aesthetic appeal.
5. After some time, a patina film will appear. Let it dry for more hours for optimal results.
Sharpen your knives
We sharpen tools to improve their cutting power. On the other hand, sharpening can help scrap dirt and stains that may start rust buildup in a blade.
For this purpose, a reliable honing machine or a high-quality whetstone is necessary. When honing, be sure that you do not limit sharpening to the edges but also include the tip, heel, and even the swedges.
Clean your knife rack or sheath.
We usually keep our knives in the sink after slicing food, leaving traces of stains ad morsels. To ensure that you are storing your knife in a humidity-free environment, you could purchase a dehumidifier. For a simple way to make rust out of sight, you can
4 House Hacks for Rust-Free Kitchen Knives
Rust can be a real nuisance to our kitchen knives. While we use a ton of knives, kitchen knives are the most exposed to rust. They cut fruits, veggies, fish, and meat, exposing them to stain composition.
In addition, rust deposits form even if we wash the blades and wipe the wet swedge and groove.
Fortunately, there are house hacks that can help you make your kitchen knife spotless and stain-free.
Let us slice our way into the following methods and select which best fit to clean our kitchen knives.
The Lemon Juice Method
Soak the knife in a pan with pure lemon juice. Let the knife blade sit for half an hour. After that, clean the blade with a dry towel or cloth.
For best results, rub both sides of the knife with a lemon rind after the first drying.
Dry it again with a clean cloth or towel. You may scrape the rust that starts to loosen.
If the rust does not wear off, you can soak the blade again in the lemon juice solution and do the entire drying process.
The Baking Soda Approach
Create a paste out of a bit of water and baking soda. Stir the paste properly until it thickens. Apply the paste on the knife. Spread the paste to the handles, tip, and rivets. Let the paste sit on the blade for 10 minutes.
After that, remove the paste using an abrasive sponge. Wipe the blade firmly with a piece of towel or cloth.
The Potato and Onion Tandem
Potatoes have oxalic acid that is ideal for rust prevention. On the other hand, onions prevent rust because of their sulfenic acid. To remove the stain of a kitchen knife, stick it to a rotation for two hours or even overnight. Using a knife to slice onions is also a good way of rust prevention.
The Abrasive Sponge Cleaner
An abrasive sponge is useful in scraping the rust in your knife. Although you can directly remove the rust deposits that have compacted in the knife blade, use this method gently as a rust-filled knife is more brittle than a stain-free one. You can maximize using an abrasive sponge by soaking first your knife in a vinegar solution before rusting off.
The Final Cut
Knives are signature instruments at home and work. Because of frequent use and exposure to different elements such as water and oxygen, oxidation happens.
This process triggers iron oxide or rust production. Effective ways such as having a forced patina or regular knife maintenance prevent rust buildup.
There are also rust removal practices at home that can help get rid of rust less expensively. Collectively, all these features and steps help in making your knife clean, shiny, and rust-free.
For a reliable knife sharpener that can assist in rust removal and improve your blade’s cutting performance, contact an NYC Knife Sharpening service today.