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How to Clean and Care for a Pocket Knife

GiantMouse ACE Grand Red Canvas

The GiantMouse Guide to Basic Knife Maintenance

So you found the perfect knife. Congratulations! If you’re anything like us, you flipped that sucker open right out of the box and haven’t put it down since. Maybe you’ve taken it on a few adventures already, a camping trip or two to test your new toy. Or maybe it’s been put to work, earning its keep on the job, in shop or field. Whatever the case, after you’ve logged a few miles with your blade, the day will come when it has lost that new knife shine.

Fear not, friend! Your tool may be dirty, but it’s still got it where it counts. A well-made knife should be good to go even with some gunk. In fact, we think a little wear and tear only adds character. But should you find yourself faced with gummy joints or sticking locks, there are several tricks you can try to put the spring back in your folder. No need to go overboard or complicate things. All it takes is a few simple steps to get that baby good as new.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Blade

For day-to-day maintenance, most knives don’t need much. This part is pretty self-explanatory, but if the blade gets messy after use, just wipe it down with a clean rag. Or handkerchief, or t-shirt, pant leg… whatever’s handy. It’s an instinctual move for most knife owners, and does the trick just fine. If you have access to water, a quick rinse of the blade never hurts, especially after cutting food. But make sure you dry everything well enough after.

If you notice something stuck in the pivot or between the scales, say a piece of dirt or some pocket lint, minor extraction may be required. A toothpick is usually your best bet here, or a pair of tweezers, if available. Most detritus should come loose with a little jab and shake. But there will be times when serious crud gets into the pivot and bearings and you need to perform a more thorough cleansing.

Best Ways to Clean a Dirty Knife

First and foremost, we recommend that you DO NOT take your knife apart for cleaning. Unless, for some reason, this is absolutely necessary. But even in those rare cases, we suggest contacting customer support before trying to correct the issue yourself.

With that out of the way, let’s look at some simple tips you can use to preserve a knife’s function and beauty. Here are five easy steps we stand by to refresh a grubby blade:

STEP 1 - Hit your knife with some compressed air. Just the regular canned air, nothing fancy. Give it a good once over, making sure to blast every nook and cranny. This should blow out dirt and knock loose any debris, taking care of everyday grit and grime. Sometimes that’s all the knife needs. You’d be surprised: A thorough spray can go a long way.

Compressed air on pocket knife

STEP 2 - We turn to tried-and-true WD-40, man’s real best friend. Simply spray a cloth or paper towel, unfold your blade, and rub everything down inside and out. Then close the knife and clean around the lock area best you can. Make sure to give extra love to the stop pin, where most knives tend to collect gunk.

Cleaning a pocket knife

STEP 3 - Grab a Q-Tip for some deep scrubbing. Wipe in and around the lock face, hunting down stubborn dirt and excess oil. Pay extra attention here: You don’t want oil buildup, which will cause lock stick. So get in there good, swab the decks, poke down the canals. Then slightly disengage the lock, so you can clean the detent ball.

Cleaning a pocket knife

STEP 4 - KPL (Knife Pivot Lube). We swear by it. Just a tiny drop on the detent ball to lube things up and keep your folder flicking smoothly. Next, close the knife and apply a small dab into the bearings on each side of the blade. Work that in for a minute by repeatedly opening and closing the blade, then rub off any excess with a clean cotton swab.

Oiling knife ball bearing

STEP 5 - Finally, work the knife a bit, slowly open and close to make sure everything’s functioning as intended. Give it some flips with the finger tab, or spidey-flick it a few times to test the function. Wipe down the blade and all mechanisms with a dry cloth or paper towel. Don’t worry too much about oil on the scales, it will evaporate over time or simply add to the patina.

And that’s it! Quick and easy. With proper care, your GiantMouse knife should prove a faithful companion for years to come. If you run into anything out of the ordinary, never hesitate to contact customer support for assistance. Hell, you can even reach out to Jens, Jesper, or Jim directly (find us and many other helpful knife nuts on our Facebook fan page: The Shank Sharpers Union). We stand by our blades, and promise that with minimal maintenance, they’ll be ready for action whenever and wherever duty calls.

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