How To Clean a Swiss Army Knife? Best Cleaning Guide

How To Clean a Swiss Army Knife? Best Cleaning Guide

The Swiss Army Knife is one of the best pocket tools that you can carry in your everyday life, and also they are very much useful during camping and survival.

Small and compact knives mostly come with limited features. However, a Swiss army knife is loaded with a lot of features.

No matter how good a Swiss Army Knife (SAK) is, it requires proper maintenance. In fact, periodic cleaning of the knife is a secret behind its long-lasting.

Therefore, below are some of the best ways how to clean a swiss army knife. Also, at the end of this article, I answered several FAQs that people most wanted to know about.

A Swiss Army Knife being a pocket knife gets used frequently, while the knife collects dirt, and also it becomes dull after some time.

Even though cleaning will take some effort, the process is quite simple. Cleaning the knife occasionally has helped to keep your knife looking brand new even after years. 

Related Post: Pocket knife storage ideas

How To Clean a Swiss Army Knife? 

Swiss Army Knives are manufactured with the highest grade of steel to match all the requirements. Tempering, annealing, and polishing the steel is quite a normal process of making the knife so that it achieves the required hardness and corrosion resistance.

You can just follow the steps below so that your knife can look brand new once again.

Step 1: Clean the SAK in Warm Water

how to clean swiss army knife

Using warm water is the best way of cleaning a Swiss Army Knife. I know you are thinking, why can’t I use a dishwasher?

Well, this question is quite common, but Victorinox mostly suggests using warm water for cleaning their tools because when you will clean multiple times, I think warm water is enough.

Take some sufficient water in a container and boil the water. The water must be warm enough so that you can drown the SAK and keep your fingers in the water with no discomfort.

You don’t have to hot boil the water, as you know that metal expands with boiling water. Hence, you must avoid the Swiss Army Knife getting boiling. Also, boiling water can damage the scales of the tool.


  • Make sure you avoid washing the Swiss Army Knife in the dishwasher, as it can cause damage to the tool. The temperature that is used in cleaning agents can cause serious damage to the SAK.
  •  Also, make sure if your Swiss Army Knife has some electronic parts that it’s always recommended to remove them before cleaning it with water.

Step 2: Clean the Swiss Army Knife

cleaning swiss army knife

Once you are ready with a bowl of warm water, the next step is to open the tool and submerge into the water and keep it for about 30 minutes.

Now take out the SAK from the water and keep the tool open, and clean the inside layers of the frame and the scales from both sides. For this, you can use a small paintbrush or an old toothbrush.

As the warm water loosens out the dust particles from the inside layers. Therefore, it becomes easier to clean out everything left behind.

While cleaning the Swiss Army Knife, make sure you dip it into the water till the layers and the scales are completely cleaned.

Open and close the main blades several times under the water, as this will help to get rid of the dirt inside the joints.

You can also take a toothpick and tweezers and clean them. Once you clean the blades, you can put them back into the water to ensure you clean them fully.


  • Well, if you are in a hurry you can even use a hairdryer so, that it gets dried quickly.

Step 3: Dry & Oil the Swiss Army Knife

Once the knife gets dried, you are almost done with the cleaning process, and in most cases, the SAK will look new.

However, if you find some tools in the Swiss Army Knife not opening or closing smoothly, this is the time you can fix it.

You can lubricate the Swiss Army Knife at the joints so that it functions like a brand-new one. Well, most of them ask about which lubricant agent to use.

Victorinox mostly recommended using a ‘Multi-Tool Oil‘  which is a Swiss Army Knife oil Victorinox itself was created for oiling their tools, and the best part is its food-safe oil.

Therefore, it would be a safe choice to use your Swiss Army Knife. 

The Victorinox oil helps in preventing rust, as well as remove the rust from the SAK. It also helps to get rid of oily and sticky substances from your multi-tools.

Another cheap and alternative way is to use coconut oil. Coconut oil is one of the best alternatives when it comes to lubricating your tools. I don’t know why people do not consider this option.

Well, coconut oil can prevent rust, yes I know Victorinox steel is prone to rust. However, it’s better to oil to prevent any further rusting.

How to apply? 

  • The steps are pretty simple, as you just have to put a little of the lubricating agent in the joints and hinges. Then you have to close and open the blades multiple times so that the oil works on its way.
  • Keep opening and closing the blades until seeing the hinges are working smoothly. Make sure you remove the excess oil by wiping it with a cloth.
  • Now, you are done with cleaning your Swiss Army Knife.

Step 4: Sharpening 

This is an optional step, and you can perform it if your blades are not sharp enough.

Sharpening with your hand is a better option than the machines as the machine can heat the blades, and watering the blades can reduce the overall quality and texture of the blade.

Hence, in order to sharpen your tool better use the manual knife sharpener. 

Dry Cleaning vs Wet Cleaning 

Well, both methods are effective in cleaning your knife. Dry cleaning includes brushing and cleaning with a cotton swab, and toothpicks.

Dry cleaning is also a good option, but it consumes a lot of time as in this method you don’t use water. 

The other method is wet cleaning. This is the method chosen by many people as it’s more effective when compared to dry cleaning, as the warm water can enter every corner of your knife and remove the dust easily. Also, it’s less time-consuming.

Things You Must Avoid Using 

Yes, Swiss Army Knives are pretty durable, but cleaning the tool with the wrong substance could damage the knife. These are some of the few things that you must avoid cleaning with.

1. Rubbing Alcohol & Other Chemicals

Many people will recommend using rubbing alcohol and even other chemicals such as Acetone to clean the knife. But this actually one of the worst ideas.

Swiss Army Knife scales are usually made from “Collider” and rubbing with Alcohol can soften and easily dissolve the Collider.

Also, make sure you avoid other chemicals as they might be harmful to your knife, and also the chemical might not be kitchen safe.

2. Putting SAK in a Dishwasher

A Swiss Army Knife is not dishwasher safe, and the high temperature inside the dishwasher can easily damage the plastic scales.

Also, many dishwasher detergents contain harsh chemicals, and they can easily damage the knife.

3. Avoid WD-40 Lubricant 

When you are lubricating your knife, it’s best to avoid using WD-40. The lubricant is good for many other jobs. However, this is not one of the best choices to use with multi-tools.

Over time, the WD-40 forms a glue-like substance, and it would be difficult to open the blades.


So, finally, we have covered all the steps on how to clean a knife, and I’m sure you would have got a detailed guide on Swiss army knife maintenance.

Everyone loves Swiss Army Knives because it is just an outstanding multi-tool that you get under a few bucks. The SAK is so handy, and you don’t realize how much you need one of these tools in your life.

Typically, you must clean your knife ever every week, if you are a heavy user. But if you use your Swiss Army Knife occasionally, then you can clean after 2 months.

FAQ: How To Clean a Pocket Knife

These are some of the most commonly asked questions that people are confused about. You can read this section if you have similar queries.

Q 1. What is a good starter Swiss Army knife?

I’d most probably go with the Victorinox Farmer because it is super sturdy and offers a classic-looking aluminum hull. Also, it’s extremely sharp and compact, and it comes at a very affordable price.

Q2. What Swiss army knife is the best for everyday carry?

Well, the best Swiss Army Knife for everyday use is the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife. This tool has everything from a nail file to tweezers that can help in your everyday life.

Q3. How can I sharpen my Victorinox ‘Swiss Army’ knife?

You can use a whetstone and a leather strop with fine sharpening compounds so that they work well. It might take more practice.

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