How To Polish a Knife with Household Items: Step by Step Guide

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A rusty and unpolished knife can be a big hassle to work with. It is more dangerous to work with a blunt and rusted knife than a sharp one.

So, polishing the knives and keeping them rust-free and sharp is essential for ease in your kitchen. By the end of this article, you will be able to use household items to polish your knives.

Polishing a knife can be tricky and will need some work. But with the right tools and a bit of patience, you will be able to do it in no time. In this article, we have compiled a step-by-step guide on how you can polish a knife with household items.

Things you Need to Polish The Knife

You don’t need expensive tools to polish your knives. Things used in everyday house chores can also be used to polish a rusted knife. These household tools can make your kitchen knives shine like a mirror.

Below is a list of things you will need to polish your knife:

  • Baking soda 
  • A clean cloth 
  • A toothbrush

Once you have all these things we can start polishing some knives.

3 Steps to Polishing a Knife with Household Items

Polishing a knife means fine-tuning its edge to make it razor-sharp and giving it a gleaming shine. Some people consider it to be the elimination of nicks and flaws. In any case, the goal is to get a razor-sharp edge.

Here are 3 steps that you can follow to polish a knife with everyday household items.

Step 01 - Removing Rust

Rusting can happen to any knife even if you clean the knife from time to time. But if taken care of in time the knife can be saved from permanent damage. Here are steps on removing rust from a knife.

Baking soda mixed with water to make a paste is one of the best methods to scrub away rust. 

Apply the baking soda-water paste on the knife and scrub it with a toothbrush or a dish scrubber. You can also use a metal dish scrubber but be careful with it. If you aren’t cautious, you can actually damage the blade with it.

If the rust is too stubborn then you might have to keep the paste on for a few hours. Soaking the rust is proven to work faster.

You can also use toothpaste that has baking soda in them. Baking soda is very helpful against metal rusting.

Using vinegar for rusted knives is also a good solution. Just soak the knife in a bowl of vinegar for a few hours. After that, scrub it with a clean cloth or a dish scrubber. Be very careful or you may hurt yourself. 

Safety Tip: You should wear a pair of gloves before scrubbing the knife. 

Step 02 - Cleaning All The Dirt

You might also need to clean some surface dirt before you start scrubbing away the rust. It is essential to first remove any accumulated dirt so that the rust may be easily removed. Instead of water, we recommend using a light cleaning solution because water trapped inside the knife might cause it to corrode.

Then you can start scrubbing away.

Now that you have scrubbed the rust away, there might be some residue on and around the knife. So the dirt should be cleaned before you start polishing.

Cleaning the residue is much easier than removing the rust. You just need a clean cloth and a cleaning brush. You can also use compressed air to blow away the dirt.

Step 03 - Polishing the Knife

Now that you have removed all the rust, and cleaned the residue, it’s time to give your knife the final polish. Polishing a knife can be bothersome but it’s way easier than rust removal. Here are some tips to polish a knife.

You can use a nylon strap for polishing and it will work as well as a whetstone polish. You can find nylon straps on backpacks.  Move the knife away from the cutting edge by rubbing it against the nylon strap.

If you don’t have a whetstone you can also use smooth stone that you can find around your house. You would use it exactly like a whetstone

Sandpaper isn't a daily item, but it's so cheap and versatile that it's a good thing to have on hand. Sandpapers are a useful item to polish knives. Depending on the grit you can get polish from good to best.

Believe it or not, you can even use a leather belt to polish your knives. You might have a spare belt lying around the house and it is a quick and easy item for polishing knives. Many professionals use leather belts for polishing knives.

5 Tips to Keep Your Knife Sharp

It is very important to keep your knives sharp because most of the time injuries happen from a dull knife rather than a sharp one. Sharpening a knife properly depends on the tools and proper technique.

And, once you sharpen your knife you want to maintain that sharpness.

Here are 5 tips to keep your knife sharp:

  • Using the knife frequently

It is essential that a knife should be used frequently rather than keeping it in storage for a long time. A knife sitting in storage for a long time will collect dirt and get affected by humidity. It will eventually become rusty and dull.

  • Cutting on the Right Surface

The cutting surface you use has a direct impact on the state of your blades. Hard or metal surfaces, such as stainless steel, granite, and aluminum, should be avoided. Cutting on wood, plastic, or polyethylene, on the other hand, is usually fine. 

As long as you use a cutting board made of the appropriate materials, you should be fine.

  • Cleaning Your Knives

Throwing a knife in the dishwasher is the worst thing you can do to it. The blade and handle of your knife can be severely damaged by heat, detergent, and a barrage of water. Washing them properly helps them keep their sharp edge for much longer.

Hand-wash your knife using a sponge or dishcloth soaked in soap. Keep your fingers away from the sharpened edge and wipe away from the base to the tip.

  • Keeping the Knives Dry

To avoid rusting on the blades, dry your knives right after cleaning them. Putting damp knives away, especially in a block, can lead to mold and germs growing in the storage container.

While germs and mold are not always detrimental to the blade, they can be harmful to your health if you use your knives for cooking.

  • Storing Knives Properly

While some knives fold to make storage easier, others must be stored in a precise way to keep their edge. Keep your knife separate from other culinary utensils, hiking equipment, and carpentry tools.

Your unfoldable knives need more than just a drawer to themselves; they need their own block to safeguard their edge.

Frequently Asked Question

Question: What is the best polishing compound for knives?

Answer: The most prevalent polishing compound is white rouge. It's a general-purpose compound that can be used on carbon steel, plastic, brass, fiberglass, and other materials.

Question: What can I use to shine my knife?

Answer: You can use water and sandpaper to shine your knife. 

Question: Can sandpapers be used to polish a knife?

Answer: Yes, sandpapers can be used to polish a knife. 

Question: Can you use olive oil on knives?

Answer: Any oil will do, from clove oil to olive oil. We recommend using canola or maize oil instead of olive oil because olive oil can go rancid over time, but any food-safe oil will suffice.

Question: Can Coke remove rust?

Answer: If you have any rust stains or tools that are covered in rust, Coca-Cola or Pepsi will help you get rid of them. Submerge the rusted object in Coke for an hour or overnight, then scrub the rust away.


We appreciate your time with us if you have read that far. We really enjoyed this article being curated. Knives are essential tools of the kitchen and keeping them rust-free is important to work safely. 

We are happy that we could show some ways in which you can polish your knives without the help of any professional tools.

We hope that we were able to give you some idea on how to polish a knife with household items.

Kristy Warren

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