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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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11 Comments on How to Clean a Dirty Pocketknife

  1. Pulsator125 // March 27, 2013 at 8:08 am // Reply

    My grandfather gave me a pocketknife too. Can I get the scratches out of it?

  2. lebronjames145 // February 2, 2013 at 8:47 am // Reply

    This is pretty useful for camping.

  3. There’s a difference between rust and corrosion. If corroded too badly, the knife may be beyond repair. If it just has surface rust, extra-fine wet-n-dry sandpaper will work. CLR does a good job of removing rust.

  4. Cool! Ill definetly ue this when mine gets rusty

  5. billy bob joe // January 26, 2013 at 10:26 pm // Reply

    just use soap, water, and a rag

  6. super man vs his home :P // January 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm // Reply

    wow this is cool

  7. Nice info to know

  8. Wow hope this works

  9. You can get clr and dip the knife in it

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