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How to Remove Rust From a Carbon Steel Knife?

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Lauren Beck

Being a passionate cook and lover of carbon steel knives, dealing with rust can be quite disappointing.

But don’t worry, my friends! I have some easy methods to help you eliminate that annoying rust and bring your favorite knife back to life. 

Prepare to say goodbye to rust and hello to a shiny, rust-free blade in no time!

5 Ways to Remove Rust From a Carbon Steel Knife:

  1. Use vinegar: Soak a cloth or paper towel in white vinegar and wrap it around the rusty areas of the knife. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight. The acidity of the vinegar will help dissolve the rust. Scrub gently with a soft brush or sponge, then rinse and dry thoroughly.
  2. Baking soda paste: Create a paste by combining baking soda with a small quantity of water. Spread the paste onto the rusty areas and allow it to sit for a few hours, giving it time to work magic. Scrub gently with a soft brush or sponge, then rinse and dry the knife completely.
  3. Lemon juice and salt: Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the rusted areas and sprinkle a generous amount of salt over them. Let it sit for a few hours. Use a scrub brush or sponge to remove the rust gently, then rinse and dry the knife thoroughly.
  4. Potato and dish soap: Cut a potato in half and dip the cut side into dish soap. Rub the soapy potato over the rusted areas of the knife, applying gentle pressure. The oxalic acid in the potato, combined with the cleaning properties of the soap, will help remove the rust. Rinse and dry the knife completely.
  5. Commercial rust remover: If the rust is stubborn and the previous methods don’t yield satisfactory results, you can try a commercial rust remover specifically designed for knives. Follow the instructions provided with the product and ensure thorough rinsing and drying afterwards.

What Causes Carbon Steel Knives to Rust?

Carbon steel knives rust due to the high carbon content in their composition. 

Exposure to moisture, humidity, acids from certain foods, and improper storage can all contribute to the formation of rust on the blade.

How Fast Does Carbon Steel Knife Rust?

Close Up Image of Carbon Steel Knife

The speed at which a carbon steel knife rusts depends on various factors, including the environment, usage, and maintenance. 

If not properly cared for, rust can form within a few hours or days of exposure to moisture or corrosive substances.

Does Rust Cause Harm to a Carbon Steel Knife Blade?

Yes, rust can be detrimental to the performance and longevity of a carbon steel knife. It affects the appearance and can cause pitting and weaken the blade. 

Regular rust removal and proper maintenance are essential to keep your knife in optimal condition.

How to Keep Your Carbon Steel Knives From Rusting?

Prevention is key when it comes to keeping your carbon steel knives rust-free [1]:

  • Dry the knife immediately after each use, especially if it comes into contact with water or acidic foods.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to moisture and humidity. Store the knife in a dry place.
  • Apply a thin coat of food-grade mineral or knife oil to the blade to create a protective barrier against rust.
  • Consider using a knife block or a blade guard to protect the knife when storing it.


In my years of culinary exploration, I’ve come across my fair share of rusty carbon steel knives. But fret not, my fellow kitchen enthusiasts! With these simple and effective methods, you can bid farewell to rust and restore your beloved knives to their former glory. 

Whether using vinegar, baking soda paste, lemon juice, salt, potato and dish soap, or even a commercial rust remover, you can revive your knives and keep them in tip-top shape. 

So roll up your sleeves, follow these techniques, and watch the rust disappear, leaving you with a gleaming and ready-to-use blade. Happy cooking!


Lauren Beck
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