Kicking off our Knife Maintenance Month series is the simplest, yet most often overlooked, topic of knife care: cleaning. There are two general schools of thought when it comes to keeping your knives clean. There are those who advocate little more than soap and water, and those that think cleaning means nothing less than scouring every part with solvents after disassembly. One thing both sides can agree on, though, is that a dirty blade is more likely to corrode, its lock is more likely to fail, and the action won’t perform the way it was meant to.

Shopping list of knife cleaning supplies:
▢ Dish soap [grocery store]
▢ Isopropyl alcohol (also commonly called Isopropanol or rubbing alcohol) [pharmacy]
▢ Degreaser solvent [hardware store]
▢ Can of compressed air [hardware store, stationary store]
▢ Toothpicks [pharmacy, grocery store]
▢ Cotton swabs [pharmacy]
▢ Disposable lint-free cloth or paper towel [pharmacy, grocery store]

First, let’s state the obvious. Never clean a knife by putting it in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent is abrasive, which will scour the edge dull, while the high-pressure water jets of the dishwasher cycle will batter it. Also avoid using any kind of metal abrasive pads, and if you’re drying a knife with a cotton towel or handkerchief make sure that it’s totally clean and free of debris. Is scratching a blade the end of the world? No, but when you’ve spent hard earned money on a knife you want it to stay looking great – which also helps retain its value.

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