Rust prevention on kitchen knives.....


Well-Known Member
I'm sure this topic has been discussed somewhere, but I can't find it if it has.

I have a selection of high-carbon kitchen knives that have been in the family for a long time. You know, the type of knives that were made way before the various stainless steels became all the rage in the kitchen.

Was talking to someone the other day about maintenance.
She had never heard of a knife in the kitchen that wasn't stainless!
As you might guess, the subject eventually turns to rust prevention.
(But get some bleach on that stainless knife and see how "stainless" it really is!)

For kitchen use, my preferred method is to use a food-grade mineral oil, same as on my butcher blocks and cutting boards.
I also believe that having a highly polished blade helps in warding off the rust demons.
Naturally, the usual "clean ASAP after use, keep away from chemicals", etc.

I was wondering what methods others are using for care of their "carbon steel" knives.

Ernie Swanson

The couple old carbon kitchen blades I have, have a nice patina on them and I just wash, dry and let be.

When I remake our entire kitchen collection(someday) we will probably use a food grade oil of some sorts.

Joel Vaughan

New Member
I use camellia oil. It's what is used traditionally on Japanese swords and cutlery. The benefit is that it's organic and doesn't go rancid like other oils. Mineral oil is good too though. I just oil the edge, not the whole knife.

To prevent rust on the rest of the blade, I allow a natural patina to develop. Another option is to force a patina. Do a search for "forced patinas" and you will get an idea of how that works.


Well-Known Member
Thank you for the responses.

Joel, you gave me the idea on using the search function. I should of thought about that before asking the question!
Just goes to show you how much I know my way around the computer.
Anyways, did the search and came up with this:

Regarding patinas, I believed I have incorrectly communicated in regards to "highly polished". (Although I still prefer that for aesthetics.)
Perhaps I should have stated that, IME, the smoother the surface, the fewer problems I have incurred with maintenance.



Well-Known Member
Camelia oil is the best , or as the japanese call it choji oil , I would also get me a uchiko powder ball , it is a very light abrasive and will clean grime and contamiments from blade , then apply thin coat of oil . I use both of those on all my carbon steel kitchen knives . I also use on just about every blade I make .