How to Treat a Carbon Blade With Vinegar


Knives that are not stainless steel are usually carbon-based, requiring more regular oiling and maintenance. Though easier to sharpen, these knives are more prone to corrosion and will develop a natural patina or grayish color over time. Many people force this patina immediately with soaks in acidic liquids like mustard water or white vinegar to instantly give their carbon knives a uniformly antique look, instead of letting time and the elements decide how and where the patina will develop.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Clean rag
  • Dish detergent
  • Soft brush or long cotton swab
  • Tall glass
  • Cooking pot
  • Pour enough white vinegar to nearly fill the glass into a pot.

  • Simmer the vinegar, adding mustard, citrus shavings or any other acidic material that might further oxidize the steel.

  • Place your sharpened blade into the glass and gently pour the vinegar into the glass. Fill the glass just up to the hilt of the knife.

  • Use a long cotton swab or brush to rub oxidation off the knife and stir the vinegar frequently. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes.

  • Use a clean rag, running water and dish soap to clean any soot that remains from its vinegar bath.

  • Dry the blade and observe whether you want a deeper patina. If so, you can repeat this process several times or even wrap a rag soaked in vinegar around your blade and leave it that way for up to an hour.

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