5 Actionable Tips to Keep Kitchen Knives From Rusting

Kitchen knives are essential for cooking, but they can end up more of a hassle than they’re worth if they aren’t properly cared for. Rust is one of the biggest problems that cause kitchen knives to lose their sharpness and need constant care.

Here are 5 actionable tips to keep your stainless steel and ceramic knives rust-free so you’ll never have to spend time dealing with this problem.

  1. Clean and dry your knife after each use
  2. Do not use the dishwasher
  3. Limit the use of acids
  4. Let your knife develop a patina
  5. Store your knife wiping with oil

Why Do Knives Rust?

Many people do not realize that the rusting process happens due to a chemical reaction between iron and water. The oxygen in water reacts with the iron and breaks apart, forming an ionic compound called iron hydroxide.

In order for this process to happen, there must be a source of water as well as iron. The two substances are mixed together and form something called “iron oxide.”

If you are wondering why steel blades rust, I must tell you that steel blades have iron as a secret element. So when the knives contact oxygen and water, they produce iron oxide together, which we know as rust.

Here the chemical equation is: Fe + O2→ Fe2O3

Why Do Stainless Steel Rust Resistant? 

Ever since the invention of stainless steel in the early 1900s, it has had a reputation for being strong and rust-resistant. Even today, many people believe that stainless steel stays shiny and new-looking for years without any care.

This is not always true though. Stainless steel does tend to be more resistant to corrosion than other metals like copper or aluminum, but that doesn’t mean it can’t ever rust.

Stainless steel is resistant to rust. The reason for this is that the alloy that makes up stainless steel has a high chromium content, which offers protection against rust. Stainless steel is an alloy that consists of iron, carbon, silicon, manganese, nickel, and chromium. The more chromium a knife contains, the more resistant it is to rust.

Is it safe to use rusty knives?

Some people believe that rusty knives are no longer an effective means of cutting. They feel it’s better to dispose of them than use them for cooking, but this might not be the best idea.

Rusty knives can still cut effectively, there are just some precautions that need to be taken. For example, if you’re using a rusty knife on something moist like an onion, it’s important to rinse off the vegetable with water before you chop it up.

What will happen if you use a rusty knife?

There are many dangers in using a rusty knife. If metal is left in contact with water for too long, the water will start to react with the metal and cause rust. If you use a rusty knife it can quickly spread to other surfaces if they are wet or damp, even if they are further away from the source of the rust.

The acid created by this process can cause several health hazards, including skin rashes, burns, and corrosion of metal objects near the water.

Keep Kitchen Knives From Rusting

How to Keep Your Kitchen Knives From Rusting?

You can keep a knife from rusting by doing a variety of things. Some of these methods may cause severe damage to the knife. When it starts to rust, it will spread quickly and badly. You can easily prevent or keep your kitchen knives from rusting. Just do as follows:

Clean and dry your knife after each use

The most important thing you can do to prevent your kitchen knives from rusting is to keep them clean. The type of knife you use does not matter. You should make this a habit after using the knife.  

Simply rinse your knife with water or soak it in water for better cleaning. I usually sink it, but that’s not mandatory. You can also wipe it up with a damp cloth.

If your living place doesn’t have that much airflow, keeping the knife to air dry is never a good option. It is wise not to leave your knife in a humid environment. Rusting will be accelerated. Furthermore, I recommend not letting your knife air dry or get wet. Just wipe it with a towel to clean it. 

Do not use the dishwasher

When cleaning off a kitchen knife, you should never use the dishwasher since most knives cannot withstand the humidity and heat of the dishwasher.

Yes, some types of knives can go through the process, but it is still safe to clean them manually.

In some cases, it may not be possible to avoid using the dishwasher to clean your kitchen knives. Thus, you can use it carefully without leaving your knife in the dishwasher for a very long time; just don’t leave it there for a long time. Remove the knives as quickly as you can.

Limit the use of acids

Carbon steel is very susceptible to acids. Often, you will not even realize it has reacted. As with carbon steel, stainless steel is also susceptible to acids but reacts somewhat more slowly.

Immediately after using your kitchen knife on something acidic, you should clean and dry it off. When your knife develops a patina, the acids become too weak to cause damage.

By rubbing the knives in a slurry or weak base of baking soda, you will reduce the reactivity considerably. If you can afford one, I strongly recommend using a stainless steel knife when working with acidic elements.

Let your knife develop a patina

Allowing your knife to develop a patina is another effective method. Patina is the layer of Iron Oxide formed by oxidation on Knife Blades, caused by contact with oxygen in the air. It forms because iron oxidizes when faced with oxygen molecules. 

The coating of a black/grey substance on the blade is most common and has the chemical formula Fe3O4. Patinas can also contain other oxides, sulfates, and carbonates. 

Store your knife wiping with oil

If you are going to be out for a long time or have a lot of knives, you can store them using oil. I always do this when I stay out for a long time. Wipe the blade with oil after putting a drop of oil on it.

It is recommended that you use Tsubaki oil. The cleaning process will be harder if you use vegetable oil since you will have to scrub for an hour.

Can Stainless Steel Knives Rust?

There are some people who claim that stainless steel knives do not rust. Unfortunately, they can also rust. rust. Stainless steel knives are stain-resistant, as the name suggests. They are not anti-rust, however.

Therefore, no matter what knife material we use, we should always be careful not to let our kitchen knives rust. However, stainless steel knives are less prone to rust than carbon steel knives since they contain chromium, which helps prevent corrosion.

Final Thoughts

Get the best performance out of your kitchen knife all year long by not allowing rust to form on it. For your knives to last for decades, you just need to put in some extra effort after cooking. 


Tina Jordan here. Cooking delicious dishes for my family has always been a passion for me. Kitchen and cooking go hand in hand. I have spent a lot of time in my kitchen (still do), so I have a very clear understanding of kitchen gadgets.

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