How to Remove Rust from Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife?

Eileen Martin
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Making a Liquid Solution

The best way to remove rust from the blade is using a liquid solution. This is because the solution helps to spread evenly across the entire blade.

Here is how you can clean out rust from a stainless steel knife in three easy steps.

Step 1. Apply liquid solution to the affected area. To make a solution, mix one part vinegar with 3 parts water.

Step 2. Soak a clean cloth in the solution. Wipe the area thoroughly to remove the rust.

Step 3. Once the rust is completely gone, wipe off the excess solution from the stainless steel blade.

Repeat the process until no more rust is visible.

Bathe Your Kitchen Knives in It

Chlorine bleach will remove rust from stainless steel kitchen knife or any other stainless steel surface. In order to complete the task, you have to simply soak a cotton rag with bleach, wrap it around the knife’s blade and leave it overnight. The next morning you can check how the surface looks and if there’s progress, repeat the step.

Note ‗ always keep the bleach completely soaked into the rag and try to keep it away from anything it may potentially damage, or both yourself and your knives.

Also, the bleach will swiftly break down the paint on the handle of the knife so you might need to repaint it after removing the rust.

Quick Cleaning the Rust with Mild Detergent

Taking a little more time than with the bleach, you can clean the rust off your knife with a mild detergent. The trick lies in the usage of a little bit of elbow grease.

Simply immerse a rag in a mild detergent, wrap it around the knife’s blade and keep rubbing it, making sure you get the rust off. The method also works fine for cast iron as the rust tends to stick against the metal. After your knife is completely clean, you should wash and rinse it very well. Afterwards, you should wipe it off with a rag to dry it.

Scrubbing the Rust Off

Whenever you are dealing with removing rust, it's important to know that a little bit of rust removal goes a long way.

In this case, the goal is to remove the rust as well as a couple of millimeters of a heavy pitting layer.

The first step is to remove loose rust with sandpaper. Just like using a sanding block on a piece of wood, you will be doing the same thing with sandpaper on your ironware. You simply rub the ironware with sandpaper to remove rust.

This will leave you with rusted and pitted ironware. If your goal is to obtain a "sand blasted" effect then you stop here. But if you want to remove the rust and heavy pitting, continue on.

Balancing PH and Removing Dampness

A well-balanced PH is not only important for your health, but it is also crucial for any metal items, especially steel. Under normal circumstances, your stainless steel knife shouldn’t rust. The easiest way to prevent surface rust from developing is to keep your knife dry.

Before you start cleaning you will need to remove the knife from the hand.

Make sure the knife is dry and free of oil before you start rubbing it with the steel wool. Don’t use the steel wool when the knife is wet or oily.

If you don’t want to rub the knife with a steel wool, you can also use wet and dry sandpaper or Scotch-brite. Remove the surface rust and wipe the knife dry.

Once your knife is dry again, you will need to clean the surface thoroughly and balance the PH of the blade.

This is simply done by rubbing the knife with a lemon and avoid putting lemon directly on the blade. If you have a stainless steel specific sponge (available in most knife maintenance kits), you can scrub it with the sponge.

Once again, use a lemon and rub it on the sponge. The lemon removes any remaining rust on the knife. If you use any cleaning chemicals like baking soda or vinegar, apply it to the sponge and then rub it on the knife.

There are various chemicals that can remove rust from stainless steel but most of these chemicals are harmful to the health.

Here we are going to share a technique that is not only simple but hardly takes any time. The process involves rubbing rust off with salt. Sounds very easy and simple, right?

However, the process needs to be properly followed. It is not just ordinary salt that you have to use but you have to use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.

Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt comes with coarse grains and that is what helps to remove rust from stainless steel.

Step 1:

Prepare the cleaning area, preferably a table. Spread some paper towel on the table. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the knife. Then dissolve the Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt in the water.

Step 2:

Make sure to put on the relevant protective gear. Also, dismantle the knife to its components such as the blade and handle.

Step 3:

Keep the other small parts aside since you will need them after the knife is rust free.

Step 4:

Pour the salt water into the sink and then drop the knife into the water.

Step 5:

Leave the knife in the salt water for about half an hour.

Step 6:

Turn the knife around in the salt water every now and then.


At the start, I mentioned that it wasn’t the stainless part in the knife that protects it from rusting, but the chromium. So in my opinion, the best way of removing rust from a stainless steel knife would be using a stainless steel brush and stainless steel polish and not the regular steel brush and steel polish.

In my humble opinion, if you are going to use vinegar, you should consider using warm vinegar mixed with salt. Not only this will remove the rust, but it will also protect the knife from acquiring new rust.

The biggest downside of using vinegar to remove rust is that it leaves a white residue which takes a lot of scrubbing, and even with nylon scrubbing pads, it is difficult to remove and you can end up abrading the steel.

Since vinegar and salt is water soluble, it will be easy to clean and will not be a sort of abrasive which you will have to worry about removing scratches.

The best part of using this method is that the result is almost instantaneous and there is no need to keep rubbing on the surface for even 5 seconds.