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How to Remove Rust from Stainless Steel Knives

How to Remove Rust from Stainless Steel Knives

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Just because you handed over a small fortune for a set of high-quality stainless steel knives sooner or later rust spots will appear, even the best kitchen knives will rust if they are not looked after and maintained correctly.

One of the top reasons why rust starts to appear on kitchen knives is down to how you clean them. For example, most of the best kitchen knives should never be placed in a dishwasher or left soaking in the kitchen sink for extended periods of time and you should never put kitchen knives away if they are not fully dry. Following just these few simple steps should almost eliminate any rust spots from forming on your kitchen knives.

However, if you have found rust on your stainless-steel knives don’t worry, in most cases if you catch the rust early it can be removed at home easily and quickly with common items found in your kitchen cupboards or cheap cleaning products you can find online or at your home depot store.

Before we continue lets cover exactly what rust is and how rust appears on stainless steel knives.

How Does Rust Get on Your Stainless Steel Kitchen Knives?

One of the most common causes of rust on your kitchen knives is prolonged exposure to water. Rust is basically the end-result of oxidation of iron. So any metal that contains iron, including steel will be prone to rust.

Tip: coarse heavy metal scouring pads used for cleaning can scratch your kitchen knives which in-turn will make them rust.

The iron found in the metal bonds with oxygen atoms present in water which in-turn forms a layer of iron oxide or better known as rust. So leaving your kitchen knives soaking in water is just asking for trouble. If your kitchen knives have any deep abrasions or scratches this is also a perfect breeding ground for rust, so make sure they are fully dry before putting them away.

Best Way to Remove Rust from Your Knives

My top tips for removing rust from your kitchen knives. Try some of these and let me know how you get on.


Yes you heard me right; the humble potato is a great natural rust remover. The oxalic acid found in the potato helps to remove rust. Simply place the blade of your rusty knife inside of a whole potato and then leave it overnight or for 8 to 12 hours. Once you remove the knife the rust spots should be easy to wipe or gently scrub away.

Lemon Juice

Acid found in fresh natural lemon juice helps to loosen the rust on knives making easy for you to then wipe or gently scrub off. Simply fill up a glass with fresh lemon juice and place your rusty knives inside the solution for roughly 5 to 10 minutes or longer depending on the severity of the rust.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is found in almost every home across the globe and its uses in the house are really underestimated. When it comes to removing rust from knives simply mix enough baking soda with water to form a sticky paste and apply liberally to your rusty blade. Then using a non-abrasive kitchen scouring pad gently rub in circular motions on the affected areas.

Bar Keepers Friend

This is an amazing product that can be used to clean almost any metal surface. For minor rust spots you can sprinkle some of the powder directly onto the knife blade and then take a damp cloth and rub the rust areas. For hard to remove rust you can mix the powder with water to make a sticky paste and apply to the rust spots and leave it for 20 to 30 minutes and then wipe away.

Depending on how tough the rust is to remove you can repeat this as many times as necessary to completely remove the rust from you knives.


This is a great non-toxic household item that does an excellent job of removing rust from stainless steel. Apple cider vinegar is the best to use for removing rust, simply pour some vinegar into a glass and place in your rusty knives to soak overnight or for 8 to 12 hours and then wipe or gently scrub away the rust.

Best Way to Remove Rust from Your Kitchen Knives

Wrapping up

If you knives are really full of rust it’s probably time to shop around for some new kitchen knives. Even though there are some more extreme ways to remove rust from knives it will involve sending them out to a specialist where they can grind away the rust or even use electrolysis, which can be costly.

The best way to stop rust ruining your best kitchen knives is to prevent it even forming. Always hand wash your knives and hand dry them. Never place them in a dishwasher, even if the manufacturer says you can. And never leave them soaking in the kitchen sink for long periods of time, it’s perfectly fine to do so if you have stubborn food then won’t come off the knife but just make sure you don’t leave them to long.