How to Remove Rust from Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife?


Rust! It’s that lone flaw that seems to mar our knives more than any other issues. Indeed, it can be exasperating. In the past, it has caused me to question whether my care and cleaning methods for my knives were sufficient. I was under the impression that the only viable solution for these unsightly blemishes was to keep them out of sight. So, whenever I had company, I made sure to carefully stash away my knives in a drawer or cabinet.

But eventually, I realized living like this is something nobody will appreciate. I must face it and get some solution. So, I did my research and talked to a few friends. I was sure that the fancy-pants dishwasher will do nothing.

One day I found something while sitting with my neighbor’s aunt. She told me a very easy method I can use to remove rust from a stainless-steel kitchen knife. It’s so easy that I should have found it years ago. Today, after trying it for almost one year, I finally thought to share.

Making a Liquid Solution

The first thing you need to know on how to remove rust from a stainless-steel knife is about the solution I use. Can you guess what the ingredient is? Vinegar! Yes, I know it’s always available and a simple liquid. You might be wondering how an ingredient so plain will ever clean such hard stains.

Well, it might look plain to you because vinegar is something to put in food. However, what you are missing is the fact that vinegar is actually acidic, it’s a scientific fact that citric acid or anything acidic is a great ingredient to remove rust effortlessly.

Now, let’s talk about the recipe you’ll be using to clean rust. First of all, get a huge container that will not react to materials, a plastic or glass container. Next, you need to fill it with distilled white vinegar. The amount should be one gallon. Now you need to take some salt from your kitchen, one tablespoon of salt will do, mix the combination well.

Make sure the salt dissolves completely. The salt will help to increase the potency of the vinegar, it will give it more power, so it can be more effective. For smaller knives, you can use half a gallon of vinegar mixed with a half tablespoon of salt.

Bathe Your Kitchen Knives in It

Now, to proceed with the next step on how to remove rust from kitchen knives, you’ll need to start being a bit careful. You’ll be dealing with acid even if it’s not so powerful. I would suggest wearing kitchen gloves. Get your rusty knives and place them inside the vinegar-salt solution. You need to be sure that the knives are soaked completely inside this solution.

They need to sit well in the liquid for half a day. If the rusting is too much, let them sit for a few days. You need to check once in a while during the soaking step. See how lose the rust is becoming eventually.

One thing I want to mention is that vinegar will react differently to various metals. If there’s any aluminum cover or layer, then it would remove it. So, be sure you don’t use the solution for any knife made with aluminum.

A better way will be to do a patch test on a small area. If there’s no problem you can notice, go for the whole process without any worry.

Scrubbing the Rust Off

Now, once again use a pair of gloves, a latex or rubber glove will be more effective. The rust will get loosened after soaking. You need to scrub it well using an abrasive item. For example, steel wool or brush with sharp edges will do well.

There are brass-bristled brushes also available to do this task. If there’s nothing available, then get an aluminum foil from your kitchen. Simply crumple it to make a homemade scrubber.

Balancing PH and Removing Dampness

Now, you would have to fill one more container. This time use about one gallon of water mixed with baking soda, and stir well so that the combinations dissolve perfectly. Get your rust-free knives and soak them inside this mixture and keep them inside for about ten minutes.

This formula will help to neutralize the acidic effect of vinegar. To finish the process, once again use an abrasive cleaner and scrub the knives well.  Using 0000 steel wool you can easily give a shine to the knives without harming the patina. The ending scrub will help to get rid of any leftover rust. Once you are done with this final scrub, gently wipe the knives.

Get some cotton pad and soak it with denatured alcohol. Rub the pad over your knives and get rid of any excessive dampness. To properly and effectively preserve the knives you need to apply some light machine oil, even gun oil will do good. Camellia oil is also a great shiner for stainless steel knives. These oils will help to prevent further rusting.

Note: After soaking in vinegar the knives might seem black at first, but eventually, after rinsing in water, they will return to their original color. Also, it’s a time lengthy process, so you need to be patient.



That’s it! Now you should have super clean kitchen knives free from rust. This is an idea you can try again and again without any problem. I do! It is surely a great and simple way to get rid of all those bad-looking rusts on knives. It will save you from both bad cutting and embarrassment when guests visit.

Good luck!

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