how to remove rust from damascus steel knife

How To Remove Rust From Damascus Steel Knife

(Last Updated On: November 2, 2021)

While there are different types of steel and various forging methods, nothing compares to the charm of a Damascus steel knife.

Not only does this blade carry with it a rich history, but it also has a beautiful and unique pattern.

Its durability also does not disappoint, especially compared to other types of steel.

That said, not even the best knife in the world is immune to wear and tear.

Fortunately, you’ll find different approaches to learning how to remove rust from Damascus steel knife.

How to Care For a Damascus Steel Knife

Before we talk about removing rust from Damascus knife, it would be best to learn how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

There are three main steps in caring for your Damascus steel knife: clean, polish, and sharpen.

Aside from that, you will also need to learn how to get rust off Damascus steel—something that we’ll share with you in a bit.

Step 1: Clean a Damascus Steel Knife

Damascus steel or not, it’s very important that you clean your knife after every use.

Use a soapy dish sponge or similar non-abrasive cleaning materials for this, but stay away from steel wool or rougher tools.

An abrasive cleaning material can potentially damage the etched oxidation on your knife blade.

After washing with soap, rinse the knife thoroughly under running water and dry it using a soft, clean cloth.

Avoid letting your knife wait to get washed in the sink for an extended amount of time.

Damascus blades, even stainless-steel ones, are highly corrosive compared to other knives.

That’s mainly due to the high-carbon steel used to create the astonishing patterns that turn each Damascus knife into a work of art.

Instead, wash it immediately after coming in contact with moisture, especially from acidic ingredients like certain fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Our fingers are particularly acidic as well, so avoid holding the knife blade directly if you have no intention of cleaning it right after.

Washing a Damascus blade in a dishwasher increases the risk of rust, so we highly recommend handwashing instead.

Step 2: Polish a Damascus Blade

Protect the beautiful pattern on your Damascus blade by applying mineral oil regularly.

Avoid using oils that can go rancid, such as olive oil or others commonly used for cooking.

For this, you’ll want to use a polishing cloth specifically designed for the task to avoid potential chipping or fading.

Do this step on a regular basis, especially if you use your blade often.

Step 3: Sharpen a Damascus Knife

You can use either a whetstone or a sharpener to sharpen your blade.

If you’re going to use a whetstone, don’t forget to apply the right lubricant before doing so to prevent damaging your knife.

For a tabletop sharpener, it’s best to start from the coarsest level, gradually moving on to the finer ones.

The angle that you hold your knife matters, too.

Watching sharpening demos and tutorials online can help you determine the right degree to hold your knife against your chosen sharpening tool.

Finally, don’t forget to count the strokes. This way, you can sharpen both sides evenly for an excellent edge.

Does Damascus Steel Rust?

As mentioned, this type of blade is highly corrosive because of the Damascus steel-making process and materials.

Following the care tips we listed will help prevent rusting.

You can also learn how to keep Damascus steel from rusting, which includes these preventive measures:

  • Make sure that your blade is completely dry before storing it.
  • Store your knife in a dry environment. 
  • Keep it away from tools or ingredients that generate moisture.
  • Minimize corrosion by spot cleaning any rusty spots using mild rust removers. Simply apply a small amount on a Q-tip for more precision and control.
tips on how to remove rust from damascus steel knife

How To Remove Rust From Damascus Steel Knife

Sadly, even the best efforts of preventive maintenance can fail at times.

Some also live in incredibly humid environments, which can make blade maintenance more challenging.

Here are some methods on how to remove rust from Damascus steel knife so that you can bring it back to its former glory.

Lemon Juice

It is not smart to expose your knife to acidic foods, but did you know that mild acidity can help remove rust from Damascus knife?

One of the easiest ways to remove rust from your knife is just to let it sit in a tall glass of lemon juice.

The acidity of lemon juice is enough to gently peel away the rust on the surface without affecting the delicate pattern beneath.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Don’t have lemons to spare? Perhaps this next method in removing rust from Damascus steel is a better option for you.

We don’t recommend white vinegar, though, as it may prove too harsh.

Instead, you will want to use apple cider vinegar (also sometimes known as apple juice vinegar).

Like the previous hack, simply fill a container with vinegar and let your knife sit in it for a while until the rust loosens up.

Baking Soda Paste

Then, there’s also the baking soda method. It’s one of the most popular methods on how to clean rust off Damascus steel.

First, you will need to make a baking soda paste.

You can do this by mixing baking soda powder and water until you achieve a toothpaste-like consistency.

Apply this paste to the rusty parts of your blade using an ordinary toothbrush.

Just be careful when you’re scrubbing the rust off, as applying too much pressure can ruin the beautiful patina of your knife.

Removing Rust From Damascus Knife

We know how intimidating owning a hand-forged Damascus steel knife can be with its beautiful pattern and delicate sheen.

Even so, you’ll be surprised that it only requires basic maintenance to ensure longevity.

For instance, just remembering to wash it immediately after it has been in contact with food can go a long way.

Make sure you use a gentle yet effective cleaning solution and non-abrasive cleaning materials.

Also, storing it properly will keep the durability and artistic touches of your knife intact.

If it does develop corrosion, you can follow the steps on how to remove rust from Damascus steel knife we shared earlier.


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