When it comes to protecting the chef’s knives we love, the number one enemy is rust. Few things will more swiftly damage the tools we use in the kitchen every single day. In this post, we’ll discuss how to keep kitchen knives from rusting. 

We’ll cover what causes rust, how to prevent it, and a few other things that are worth keeping in mind. 

Moisture (and Oxygen) 

Rust is what happens when iron comes into contact with both water and oxygen over a prolonged period of time. It’s a process of corrosion. Rust doesn’t just ‘build up’ on the surface of a metal; it slowly corrodes it away. 

With kitchen knives, it’s the iron particles in your steel blade that are susceptible to rust. Your knives should be kept dry at all times and stored in an environment with low humidity. 


Salt doesn’t directly cause rust but it can certainly speed up the rusting process. This is because it acts as an electrolyte which causes iron to lose more of its electrons more quickly. The result is rust that builds up at an alarming rate. 

Keep your knives in a low-salinity environment. 


Cleaning Method

Never clean your knives in the dishwasher, even if they’re advertised as ‘dishwasher friendly.’ The humidity, temperatures, and detergents used in most dishwashers can all wreak havoc on your precious knives.  


If you regularly put your knives away before they’ve been properly dried, rust is never far away. Follow these tips when storing your knives:

  • Dry your knives completely before putting them away
  • Store somewhere that’s low humidity and low-salinity 
  • Cover your blade and don’t store it loose among other kitchen tools 
  • Keep the storage space itself clean and dry 

Our Rust Busting Tips in a Nutshell 

Read through this quick recap to be sure: 

  • Moisture is the enemy – keep your knives dry 
  • Never use the dishwasher to clean your knives 
  • Store your knives in a low-humidity and low-salinity environment 
  • Apply a food-safe maintenance oil from time to time to protect your knives from rust  

Preventing Rust on Chef’s Knives – Final Thoughts  

If your knives are kept clean and dry, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about rust. Applying a maintenance oil can help take your protection to the next level. 

Already too late for your knives? Click here to learn how to remove rust from a knife’s blade. 

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