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Last Updated: August 30, 2019
For many people, when it comes to cleaning your knife it often comes down to what is available at the time. Whether you are using Q-tips and WD-40, soap and a dish towel, or perhaps the shirt on your back and some spit, knife nuts are opportunistic creatures when it comes to blade maintenance. Who would have thought that an improved option could ever exist? Latham of Rusty’s Rags recently approached me with his solution, a kit specially formulated for the care and maintenance of the edged implements we all know and love. I took him up on his offer to try them out and offer some opinions.
The ‘Ultimate Knife Care Kit’ by Rusty’s Rags
Firearms enthusiasts may be no stranger to Rusty’s Rags. In fact, the original application for these cleaning products was guns and their accessories. These days Rusty’s offers several different kits, including packages specifically designed for pistols and long guns. Everything in each kit is handmade in America. Of course, being BladeReviews.com I’m looking at their ‘Ultimate Knife Care Kit.’
At the heart of every kit is a piece of Australian Merino sheepskin. This sheepskin comes impregnated with their special blend of silicone oil. This oil is indeed a “secret blend of herbs and spices” passed down through the family. The mix of oil and wool is where the magic happens.
Included in every Knife Care Kit is the oil impregnated sheepskin, a soft flannel towel (in safety orange – nice), a pair of nitrile gloves, a small bottle of extra silicone oil, and some instructions. Everything comes nicely packaged in thick zip lock bags. The sheepskin comes rather “wet” so multiple bags is necessary to keep the oil from getting everywhere. The entire kit is about the size of my outstretched palm, and could easily be tucked away in a jacket pocket or gear bag.
Using the Kit
Using the kit is very simple. First you could don the gloves (totally optional, I didn’t). Then remove the sheepskin from the bag and rub your dirty knife down. You want to be careful to avoid getting the rag (more importantly, the silicone oil) in contact with your pivot. It could react with the lubricant used on your pivot and begin to gum it up. Of course, if this happens all you would need to do is take down the knife, clean off all the oil, and re-lubricate the pivot – it’s not like your knife is going to melt or anything. And for the record I never had an issue getting the silicon oil on the pivot.
After thoroughly wiping down your knife with the rag you will want to switch to the flannel and begin polishing and soaking up any excess oil. Finally, you will want to put everything away and go wash your hands (assuming you didn’t use any gloves like me).
My first choice for the full treatment was my beloved Spyderco Sage 1. While I don’t make a habit of digging this blade around in the dirt, it does get a ton of carry time and was loaded down with grime in the liners and gunk on the blade.
I was really pleased with how well this knife polished up. The leather-backed sheepskin offers enough rigidity to make it easy to slip this rag in between the liners and clean out those hard to reach places. I find that regular rags and paper towels have a hard time getting at all of the dust and dirt that accumulates inside modern skeletonized liners. Rusty’s Rags gets into these tight spaces without an issue. Needless to say stuff like G10 and jimping were no match for the sheepskin and oil; everything cleaned up very easily.
The finished knife is not sticky, and I didn’t see any lint or dust getting drawn to it (unlike WD-40 which is a dust magnet). The silicon oil is completely odorless. It leaves a nice shine and helps to prevent rust. My only issue with the kit was that the included flannel rag started fraying almost immediately. Oddly enough none of it got on the knife, but it did leave some nice orange specks my shirt.
Of course I couldn’t stop after one knife, and began thoroughly cleaning every blade within reach. Over the past few weeks I’ve used this kit on a dozen different knives and found the process to be fun and relaxing (almost therapeutic 😉 ). The pre-loaded rag was good for about a dozen or so cleanings, then I added a drop or two of oil per new knife. I would recommend opting for an extra bottle of the silicon oil. $5 buys enough oil to clean hundreds and hundreds of knives.
I’ve used this kit on everything from a $15 Ka-Bar to a $400 Umnumzaan. What do I think? I think it works, and it works well. Two big thumbs up for the Rusty’s Rags knife cleaning kit.
Rusty’s Rags Review – Final Thoughts
Rusty’s Rags offers a great solution to a common problem. This is a significant upgrade to my previous cleaning methods, which literally involved grabbing whatever was handy and using that to clean my knives.
The sheepskin and silicon oil combo has definite advantages – not only with cleaning, but with protecting as well. Paper towels and rags don’t get as deep as the sheepskin. More conventional cleaning oils attract dust, and cleaning with soap and water can invite rust. The combination of the sheepskin and silicon oil works much better than any of my old cleaning techniques.
So it should come as no surprised that I feel like this is a very worthy investment for anyone’s knife collection. In fact, I am so pleased with these kits that I will put my money where my mouth is, and order some more to use as gifts and future contest prizes.
Disclaimer: Rusty’s Rags provided me with with several of these kits, free of charge, for review and evaluation. All thoughts are my own.