Properly oiling your knives might be the most important thing you can do to maintain them. Oil doesn’t just keep mechanisms operating smoothly, it also helps prevent corrosion.

There are many options for how to best take care of your knives, but the right prescription for you depends on what kind of knife you have and what you plan on using it for.

NOTE: If your knives are used to cut food or dress game, it’s important to use a food-safe oil to keep petroleum distillates from contaminating your food. One good option is mineral oil, which is safe, cheap, and available at any drugstore.

Fixed Blades
Even though fixed blades don’t have any moving parts, keeping them oiled can be just as important. If you have knives made from carbon or tool steels like 1095, M4, O1, or D2, you already know how quickly a non-stainless steel can color or corrode. Some manufacturers will coat carbon steel blades to prevent them from rusting, but as that coating wears down you’ll have to protect it like you would a naked carbon steel blade. Just a microscopic layer of oil on bare steel is enough to repel moisture and protect it – simply wipe your blade down with oil, then wipe it dry. It won’t feel oily, but it’s there.

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