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How to Clean a Dirty Pocketknife

Q. Dear Gear Guy, I got a pocketknife from my grandfather, and it’s all dirty and rusty. Can you tell me how to clean it, please?
— Rusty Jared, Philadelphia, Pa.

A. Rusty, I love it when Scouts decide to repair old camping gear rather than just throwing it out. I checked in with my friends over at Gerber Legendary Blades to find out exactly how to best fix your knife.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Soft sponge (or a toothbrush)
  • Soft cloths
  • Nylon pad
  • Household lubricant (WD-40)
  • Household oil (3-in-1)

CLEAN IT: While wearing your rubber gloves, wet a soft cloth with warm water and wipe down both sides of the blade.

Next, scrub the blade with a soapy sponge. To clean serrated blades, use an old toothbrush rather than a sponge. If there’s junk stuck on the blade, pour dish detergent right on the spot and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing again. Rinse the blade with warm water and dry with a clean cloth.

REMOVE THE RUST: Spray the blade with a lubricant like WD-40. Be sure to spray all the rusty areas and then let it sit for one minute.

Now scrub the blade with a nylon pad. Rinse the blade. Repeat with the WD-40 for any stubborn rust spots, letting the lubricant soak in for about five minutes before scrubbing.

Once you’ve removed the rust, wash your blade with warm, soapy water. Finally, dry it off and add a few drops of household oil (3-in-1) to the blade.

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14 Comments on How to Clean a Dirty Pocketknife

  1. Use penetrating oil to loosen the blades and then you can use a very fine steel wool or 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to get the rust off the blades. Keep the blade lightly oiled to keep from rusting in the future.

  2. I wonder if it works

  3. wow it worked for me

  4. you can use naval jelly to clean the blade but it is a very powerful chemical so you have to be careful when using it but its very effective

  5. use baking soda on a scouring pad then oil.

  6. Awesome Spy!!! // January 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm // Reply

    thats alot of things used just to clean a knife! 🙂

  7. Thanks for the advice!!!

  8. It didn’t work

  9. godlover11202 // January 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm // Reply

    I have a knife… When it gets rusty:Ill use this!

  10. i have a macheta to use it on!

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