Knife owners, regardless of what kind of knives they own, know the importance of taking care of their knives. They believe in looking after these tools to make them last for a lifetime. Why? This is because they have experienced what a dull or unclean knife can do to them. Indeed, both are detrimental.
For instance, a knife may stop functioning well due to the pocket lint accumulated in the locking or pivot parts. This can also make it harder to open and close the blade apart from slowing down the functionality of cutting. In the case of a straight blade, the latter is a more prominent issue. The unwanted accumulation can even result in premature wear or accidental injury.
Thus, it is essential to care for your knives and preserve them regularly. Just like other tools, knives require good care and maintenance so that they can continue performing well for more years than expected. This applies to all types of knives.
When it comes to maintenance, many owners do not wash their knives. This is because they believe that water will dull the edges. Still, they cannot evade the fact that knives in use attract germs and residues, which impede the work of blades in the long run. So, if washing is undesirable, how do they clean their knives?
Well, this is where the best knife oil or the best knife lube will come to your rescue. Lubrication (lube) is essential even for those knives that are regularly or rarely washed with soap and water. Just as the human body needs both bathing and massaging, a knife needs washing and lubrication too.
You should use the best oil for knives regularly to ensure that the edge and moving parts function seamlessly. Let’s learn more about these lubricants in this post.
Overview Of Knife Oil
A knife oil, also known as knife lube, is a type of oil formulated for maintaining the edge and/or handle of a knife. Different types of such oils are available. A few are formulated for use on the blade, while others are specialized for moving components found in folding knives. Each oil has some unique properties due to which different reasons exist for selecting and using a knife oil.
Why It Is Essential to Use the Best Knife Lube?
Today, knives are made using high-quality steel that is reasonably resistant to rust and corrosion. However, no steel is durable enough to stay rust- or corrosion-free throughout its lifespan. Thus, eventually, a steel edge will corrode over time.
Obviously, rusting is undesirable while handling food. It is also responsible for decreasing the effectiveness of a frequently used knife. Moreover, sustained or prolonged exposure of a knife to harsh elements or saltwater is likely to cause irreversible damage to knives. An ideal way to prevent this damage and sustain the optimal working condition is to lubricate knives regularly.
Following are the four motivational reasons why you should grease your knife:
- Keeping Corrosion at Bay: Rust or corrosion is the worst foe of any knife. This is sadly common if you live near a shore or use your knife frequently in saltwater. To lessen the probability of corrosion hitting a knife, it is wise to a knife oil. A few oils for knives allow removing small rusty marks from the blade.
- Lubricating Parts: If you have a folding knife, its moving parts will need lubrication regularly to continue moving smoothly as well as keep dirt and grime away from impeding the precise functionality of these parts. For example, oiling the pivot will retain the smooth functionality of the opening mechanism. Another benefit you get is decreased pace of wear and tear when the parts strike against each other.
- Shielding the Blade: Applying oil to the blade can defend it from harsh elements such as acids, water, and moisture. It can also boost an even patina. Doing so at the time of sharpening can give you a sharper and stronger edge too.
- Cleaning: This is possible by using one of the few oils meant for cleaning the different parts including the blade. Not all knife oils are formulated for this purpose.
5 Best Knife Lubricants in 2021
Yoshihiro Japanese Knife Maintenance Oil
Consider this food-grade oil to lubricate any knife made up of high-carbon steel. The 3.4-ounce bottle contains pure Tsubaki oil (TSOIL) that is edible. Also known as the Japanese tea seed oil and camellia oil, Tsubaki was used for cooking and beauty purposes before entering into the field of knife oils.
The oil is derived from camellia oil, which is among the best knife oils for kitchen knives. It is widely used for lubricating Japanese knives. The product is viscous, meaning it will remain for long on the blade. At the same time, you can easily spread it evenly on the blade.
The TSOIL oil is versatile, as it not only cleans and conditions but also keeps rust and corrosion at bay. Although the Tsubaki oil is edible, this Japanese product is made specifically for cleaning high-carbon steel knives. Thus, it is safe to use such a lubricated knife on food. However, the oil is not meant for dressing salads, as it is not formulated for cooking.
A few oil drops are enough to shield your knife against rust, corrosion, or discoloration. Once lubricated, your knife is likely to work quicker than before.
This oil also comes with a cleaning cloth and a rust eraser. While the former ensures easy oiling, the latter is used to rub along the blade to remove stubborn stains of rust. A nozzle on the bottle’s lid allows measuring the amount of oil to apply with minimal wastage. It also facilitates spot lubrication.
- Cleaning and conditioning
- Good thickness
- Scentless and stainless
- Squeezable bottle
- A lint-free cloth and rust eraser included
- A bit pricey for its quantity
Nano-Oil – NanoLube Anti Friction Concentrate
Consider this 10-weight nano oil if you are looking for the best knife lube that ensures great folding knife performance. It is a versatile knife, as it fulfills more than one purpose. First, it renders a good coat of guard from moisture for keeping the risk of rust away and increasing the knife’s lifespan.
Second, it oils so well that the parts then move easily as well as smoothly with diminished wear and tear. Third, the product alleviates friction without triggering any friction. Lastly, the Nano bearings stick to the magnetic gaps to keep dirt and dust away from your knife while lubricating the tightest spots.
You are guaranteed ease of use with convenience due to the lube structure encompassing a stainless-steel needle working as a dropper or an applicator. It is small enough to put oil even onto the smallest parts of a knife. The filled oil inside is light enough to spread quickly across the blade. There is no risk of knife dismantling or over usage of the oil.
Just one or two drops are required for lubrication due to which the small container tends to last for a long period. If you end up putting more drops, that portion of your knife is likely to attract dirt. Luckily, it is easily removable by just opening and closing the knife a couple of times.
This oil lubricates several types of knives, including those with compression locks, AXIS locks, and Tri-Ad mechanisms. Although the price is high, the oil is long-lasting and versatile enough to justify its price.
- Multipurpose lube
- Ease of use
- Even spread
- Speed and functionality booster for knives
- Moisture impeder
- Gumming up if stored for a long period
- Somewhat pricey
Sentry Solutions Tuf Glide Dry Film Rust Inhibitor
This dry lube as a robust lubricant instead of a thin liquid formula cleans, lubricates, and guards your folding knife in just one or two rubs. The rendered layer on the blade then does not attract dust or debris.
After removing dirt gathered on your knife, it leaves a fine film over a metallic surface to keep dust away, as the oil is formulated using nanotechnology. This means that your knife will work smoothly in any environment and temperature.
This Sentry product is an effective rust inhibitor. This means it keeps corrosion and oxidation at bay while making the moving parts of your knife more flexible.
Dry lube is lighter than a wet one, which means this Sentry product will last for a long time. There is an applicator in the form of a lean metallic structure with a clip at the tip to minimize wastage and get into the little gaps in the joints of your knife. Unlike droppers or sprays, you use only how much is required.
The oil sustains its consistency even when it is too hot or cold outside. Thus, it does not become thicker when it is winter nor thinner when it is summer. Thus, you can use it in any weather.
One more commendable feature of this product is its availability in two forms namely, a pen applicator and a needle applicator. The latter is desirable for folding knives, while the former is ideal for larger tools including knives.
- Dry formula
- Versatile in functionality
- Protected, non-sticky outcome
- No dirt or dust attraction unlike most other oils
- No fingerprints left
- No change in viscosity in different temperatures
- A strong odor
This one could be the best knife lubricant for the pivots of folding knives and balisongs. Although made for lubricating any delicate tools, firearms, and reels, the oil works well on the folding parts of a knife. It features mineral oil to lubricate the different tools.
It contains a thin and long needle that makes it easier to apply the filled high-quality oil even to the smallest or hard-to-reach parts without taking them apart.
This is because the needle as an applicator facilitates the use of oil in small gaps. It allows an exact amount of oil to be released from the container. This prevents you from applying too little or too much oil, which is commendable. Further, adding to your usage convenience is a small size and compact pen-like design.
The oil is thick enough to remain in small areas and pivots without any leakage. The applicator puts a small oily drop at the exact place. With this lubricant, you seriously need no help from anywhere else. You will be servicing your knife independently.
The pen-like colorless container is transparent enough for you to comprehend the oil level and consider rebuying another one.
- Very compact
- Good viscosity
- No greasy feel
- Easy to use
- Not food-grade
Lansky Nathan’s Natural Honing Oil
With the term ‘natural’ in the name, Lansky’s honing oil featuring the petroleum base may astonish you. The term refers to its targeted objects namely Lansky sharpeners and Arkansas stones. You may say that this honing oil is not truly a knife oil, as it is not meant for applying onto the blade directly.
However, as it is specifically made to grease sharpening surfaces such as whetstones, it is also, therefore, fit for use with knives. Lansky honing oil is good at sharpening the blade and sharpening stones. The honing solution cleans the surface and releases any deposits from its pores.
Rubbing the blade against this stone transfers the rust impeders of the lubricant to the blade while rendering a more sharpened look. This is how the honing oil from Lansky shields the knife’s blade from oxidation as well as corrosion while cleaning it.
You may even directly apply a small drop to each blade side. In just 10 minutes, that blade of your knife is likely to work better than before.
This oil is more suitable for traveling knives including pocket knives. This no-petroleum product is made for U.S. customers, as it does not ship outside the country.
- Less odor
- Suitable for Arkansas stones and Lansky sharpeners
- Not for diamond sharpeners or knives
Types of Knife Oils
Different types of knife oils exist. Some are meant for folding knives, while a few are only meant for folding knives. Different lubricants are as follows:
- Wet Petroleum-rich: For folding knives, the wet petroleum-based oils are perhaps the most widely used ones. They are the same as those used for oiling sewing machines and guns.
- Dry Teflon-based: These dry lubes are ideal for knives that are vulnerable to pocket lint. This is because they attract less of it. These oils work by drying on the applied surface and leave a shielding coat. Such oils are available via tubes or aerosol cans for spraying.
- Food-safe Mineral: These oils are ideal for knives used daily or regularly for preparing food. They are usually applied to the blades. You can even use a cooking or vegetable oil but food-safe mineral oil is a safer option. The former oils are known to form and accumulate a sticky deposit, which is objectionable. Food-safe mineral oils are available in local pharmacies. These oils are without fragrance, non-toxic, murky, and flavorless.
The oil that you use to care for a kitchen knife differs from the one used for maintaining knives utilized as tools. It is essential to select a food-grade oil for this knife, as oils of other grades are unsuitable. On the other hand, oils for folding knives are applied to the moving components. So, here the purpose is lubrication or cleaning.
Steps to Oil a Knife using the Best Knife Lubricant
It is easy to lubricate a knife regardless of its type, length, and other characteristics. You just need to perform the following three steps:
- Select Your Oil or Lubricant: You start by selecting the right type of knife lubricant to use. These oils or lubricants differ significantly in terms of vividness, which can range from thick to runny. You should choose an oil along with its viscosity as per the application and knife’s purpose. This is important if you are going to rinse your knife and dry it amidst air before lubricating it. A light, runny oil is fine for a folding knife, as it becomes easy to jiggle the moving parts as well as wipe the surplus. On the contrary, thicker oil is required for a carbon-heavy knife to defend the blade from humidity. A glossy patina is what a steel knife needs. Do also consider the price, as some oils for knives are just not cheap.
- Cleaning: You then clean your knife using soapy water and an old toothbrush. Only these two things suffice to clean any knife. Once done, soak the knife in warm water to remove any soapy residue. Now, just leave the knife to dry on your clean kitchen platform for 20 minutes before lubricating it.
- Lubricating: Now, it is the time to perform the last step. A couple of drops are sufficient for oiling any knife. This is because the objective is to use sufficient lubricant to spread across the blade evenly. So, do not overapply the oil. To apply the oil drops, you can use a cotton bud or a clean cloth. While applying the drops, ensure that you do not harm yourself. So, take all safety measures. In the end, wipe off any surplus oil.
How many times should I use the knife oil for lubrication?
While this is an important question to ask when it comes to taking care of your knives, the answer is dependent entirely on you. Some people lubricate their knives every time after using them. A few prefer doing so every week, month, and/or year.
For kitchen knife care, it is recommended to lubricate the blades every few weeks. If it is a folding knife, cleaning and oiling it every six months is recommended. You may have to lubricate more often if the moving parts are not functioning well due to the accumulated dirt.
Can I apply a single knife oil to both pivots and blades?
This is a commonly asked question by those who have knives for kitchens and knives as tools for DIY tasks and are using a single knife oil. Some knife oils are indeed versatile enough to be used for any knife. However, not all oils are so. It is highly recommended to use food-grade oils for kitchen knives.
Is knife lubrication a costly affair?
It may seem costly at present. However, each penny of yours contributes towards expanding the lifespan of your knife and retaining them in optimal condition.
Which knife oil is suitable for lubricating wooden knife handles?
A wooden handle of a knife is vulnerable to decay and fragmentation if proper care is not taken. Your knife may have a stabilized or a non-stabilized handle. While a stabilized one is resistant to water and less susceptible to deformation due to holes and resin-rich spots, a non-stabilized one is vulnerable to cracking when exposed to excessive water. For both these handles, mineral oil is the best knife oil. It defends them and retains their new look and feel.
Keeping a knife in a good condition and well-protected from corrosion is essential to make its functioning foolproof and increasing its lifespan. Oiling it is one of the indispensable ways to do so. For this, you need the right knife oil or lube as per the type of knife.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.