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How to clean a Swiss army knife

swiss army knife cleaning

Welcome to another blog post on your favorite knife blog and vendor. If you have a Swiss Army Knife or you are looking forward to getting one, you need to know how to clean and maintain your SAK regularly so that your knife can last a very long time and remain optimally functional. Because over time, your favorite SAK that serves you daily wears out, accumulating some dirt, grime and debris. 

Proper regular cleaning and maintenance of your Swiss Army Knife also helps in preventing wear and tear parts of the knife and the blade especially.

Some benefits of keeping your SAK cleaned and maintained include:

  • Your blade stay top notch
  • Your blade works perfectly fine
  • Automatic extension of the lifespan of your knife
  • Your knife is always neat to look on.
  • Your pocket doesn’t get soiled when you carry a neat SAK about.
  • A cleaned SAK makes for smooth and easy operation
  • Your knife remains sharp and ready for use
  • A cleaned SAK is resistant to corrosion.

Cleaning an SAK is a relatively simple task, and today’s blog post, we’ll take you by the hand and walk your through a step by step process to get your Swiss Army knife cleaned and maintained for top notch efficiency.

Before diving into the steps for cleaning your SAK, let’s take note of some things you mustn’t do with regards to cleaning your Swiss Army Knife.

  • Do not put your SAK into a Dishwasher or use Bleach to clean your SAK.

The detergent used in dishwasher can make your knife cease up, and it’s also harmful for the casing.

  • Bleach is really a harsh substance to apply the knife blade, as it could scratch the knife blade and the hinges, and this might cause jamming and prevent you knife from working smoothly.
  • Do not use Rust remover and Sandpaper, Rust remover is not designed for a tool like the SAK, so it’s advisable not to use it on your Swiss Army Knife. Sandpaper will leave scratches on your SAK so should be avoided as well.
  • Do not use WD-40 for lubrication of you Swiss Army Knife. It is too thick and could make your implement seize.


Material for cleaning your SAK

The following materials should be in place:

  • Mild detergent or mild soap
  • Water
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush or toothpick
  • Oil 
  • Polishing paste  
  • Soft cloth or Cotton swab

swiss army knife cleaning

Ready to clean your Swiss army knife now?

Let’s Go:

  • If there’s an electric component on your knife, take off the battery, since the electronic components of the SAK are not waterproof.
  • Also, remove any USB component of your knife if any.

Step 1: Take off all Removable Parts and Tools of the Knife

These include ballpoint pen, toothpicks, screwdrivers, tweezers etc. These separately tools should be cleaned in warm soapy water. Ensure they are completely dried before reinstalling them.

how to clean swiss army knife

Step 2: Submerge The Knife in a Bowl of Water or Warm Running Water.

For knives without electronic component, they be emerged entirely, swirl gently, open each implement, take a sponge or scouring pad and gently scrub away the dirt. The tooth of the knife can also be used to take off stubborn dirt.

Ensure thorough rinsing of the knife afterwards; make sure no soap sticks to the knife. Dry your knife.

If you notice any stubborn marks on the tool, apply a solvent to the area, some amount of rubbing alcohol would do the job. Do not allow the solvent go beyond the metal parts of the knife, as it can have damaging effect on the plastic handles of the SAK.

Clean swiss army knife

Step 3: Dry your SAK and Its Implements

Thorough dry all the component part and the knife using a towel, leave no debris behind. Also, ensure water is not left in the hard to reach areas.

Step 4: Cleaning and Polishing of the SAK Handle and Implements. 

Polishing helps to keep everything smooth and prevents rusting.  You can make use of Flitz polish.

Polishing also restores the glow and shine of your Swiss Army Knife, whilst also removing marks. Use a microfiber cloth or soft rag while polishing.

Step 5: Lubricate Your Swiss Army Knife.

Oil all components as this makes for smooth operation and functioning and also help in rust prevention.

Be sure to lay a piece of paper and have a rag or towel handy. Add a drop of oil to the moving parts and the hinge as well, where the tools are connected.

Move the parts back and forth to ensure smoothness and even distribution of the oil.

After applying, the oil and confirming that every part is moving smoothly, keep resting for 30 minutes to 1 hour, with a soft rag, wipe again to remove he excess oil left.

oil swiss army knife

Step 6: Replace All Worn-out and Missing Accessories

Small accessories and parts such as the tweezers, scissor springs and toothpicks can easily wear out or get missing. These parts can be easily gotten from Swiss Knife Shops and associated shops, replacing these parts and accessories gets a SAK back to full functionality.

For those who may wish to add a few more functions to their Swiss Army Knife, like tweezers, toothpicks and other mini-tools, this is now possible, as long as your version of SAK can accommodate one or more of such additional tools.

Steps 7: Sharpening of the Swiss Army Knife Blades

Have followed all listed protocols, the final step is to get your blade back to its factory fresh sharpness state. This is no difficult task take a look at our blog post on How to Sharpen a Swiss Army Knife.

Victorinox Knife Sharpener Small



  • At What Time Intervals Should I Clean My Swiss Army Knife?

How often you clean your SAK would depend on your usage. It is recommended to clean your knife weekly if you use it very frequently. If you use your knife less frequently, you can clean it once monthly or once in two months, depending on your judgement. On a general note, when your knife begins to look dirty or sticky to touch, it’s time to get it cleaned.

  • What’s the Proper Way to Store My Swiss Army Knife?

In order to prevent damage to the SAK blade and implements, get it stored in a cool and dry place, a drawer or protective sheath would do. If you think you’ll be storing your knife for a long period, apply some oil to the components. This will help to prevent corrosion or rust.

  • Is A Dishwasher Good For Cleaning My SAK?

Dishwasher is not good for cleaning your Swiss Army Knife Blade, because Dishwasher are made of high heat and harsh detergents. Dishwashers can cause damage to your blade and other components.

Make use of mild soap or very mild detergent when cleaning your SAK.

  • Do I Really Need To Wipe Excess Oil of My Knife?

Yes, you should wipe the excess oil of your knife after you lubricate it. Excess oil will naturally attract grimes and dirt, making it more difficult to clean your knife and could potentially make your knife rust. Excess oil can also cause some form of hazard, since it makes the knife slippery to handle.

  • What is the Benefit of Oiling My Swiss Army Knife?

Oiling your SAK generally keeps in a good, smooth and functional condition. You should periodically oil the moving parts of the knife to keep them moving without resistance. A little amount of lightweight oil for this task will be sufficient and give the desired functional results.

  • Which Oil is preferred for my Swiss Army Knife?

In choosing an ideal oil for your Swiss Army Knife, consider one that is age-resistant, neutral to smell, highly viscous, good corrosion protection abilities, safe for food.

  • What If My Knife Falls Into Water?

If this happens, get a soft towel immediately, dismantle all components of the knife, dry clean the knife and components thoroughly, if the water gets into a difficult to reach part like the handle, you can make use of a hairdryer to get it dry. After drying do a little oiling and polishing.


Concluding words

The need and benefits of proper cleaning and a maintenance culture for your Swiss Army Knife cannot be over emphasized, as it comes with encouraging benefits.

Cleaning and Maintenance are the essential recipe to keep your SAK optimally functional, looking sleek and great, while also extending its lifespan.

An SAK that is well maintained is always a useful and reliable everyday tool.

See you on the next one.



knife enthusiast

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