How do you clean your swiss army knife?

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oldtimer

Full Member
I have carried a swiss army knife in my pocket since I was a little boy. Although I would always use the right knife for the job by choice, and my choice would never be a folder. because of our irritating knife laws the SAK is the one that is always at hand and so gets the most use. The main problem I have with it is that because of the many moving parts, it is hard to clean properly. My current SAK is a Wenger E17 , which includes scissors that have to be clean to work as they should. The folding mechanism needs to be lightly oiled to function efficiently but this attracts dust and pocket detritus.

I once saw a recommendation to boil a SAK to clean it but have ruined two good knives doing this by distorting the scales. Last night, I cleaned my knife in my usual way which is to open all the blades, soak in hot water with a bit of washing up liquid in it, then scrub with an old toothbrush. This sort of works but doesn't get all the dirt out and is a bit tedious. I got to thinking that there must be a better way especially for cleaning it in the field.

So, how do you clean your SAK?
 

The Frightful

Full Member
Apr 21, 2020
283
42
Essex
I have carried a swiss army knife in my pocket since I was a little boy. Although I would always use the right knife for the job by choice, and my choice would never be a folder. because of our irritating knife laws the SAK is the one that is always at hand and so gets the most use. The main problem I have with it is that because of the many moving parts, it is hard to clean properly. My current SAK is a Wenger E17 , which includes scissors that have to be clean to work as they should. The folding mechanism needs to be lightly oiled to function efficiently but this attracts dust and pocket detritus.

I once saw a recommendation to boil a SAK to clean it but have ruined two good knives doing this by distorting the scales. Last night, I cleaned my knife in my usual way which is to open all the blades, soak in hot water with a bit of washing up liquid in it, then scrub with an old toothbrush. This sort of works but doesn't get all the dirt out and is a bit tedious. I got to thinking that there must be a better way especially for cleaning it in the field.

So, how do you clean your SAK?
I work in construction and carry swiss champ in a pocket and an explorer on my keys. They get pretty dusty and gritty but all i do is open all blades, blow out the majority and wipe out the rest with kitchen roll snd of cotton buds. Clean each blade as it goes back including the hinge. Because of the type of exposure to dust and debris i never oil them for obvious reasons
 
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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,581
674
Canada
Quick squirt from the air compressor at the garage will help ... along as everything else mentioned.

I soak them up in neat detergent and then run under very hot water opening and closing the blades a bit.
 
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MartiniDave

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 29, 2003
2,310
91
58
Cambridgeshire
I have and use several, to clean I just open all the tools/baldes at once then swirl it in some soapy water, dry with a tea towel then close it all up again and back into use. Any blades that seem a bit stiffer than they should be get opened and closed a few times in the warm soapy water, as recommended by Victorinox. I don't really us oil on them.

Dave.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,090
788
Berlin
I clean it in the kitchen. I open all tools carefully and use a nail brush or dish brush and wash up detergent.
Afterwards I oil it and suck a rest of oil into toilet paper.


A Victorinox knife is never spoiled. Good dealers replace the scales in the shop. A knife with a broken blade they would send to Switzerland and you would have to pay approximately 10€ to get your knife back with a new blade.

Here you really get what you pay for.

Because Wenger was bought by Victorinox I think you can expect the same service for old Wenger knifes too. The production of them continues under the name of Victorinox.
 
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bobnewboy

Settler
Jul 2, 2014
981
406
North West Somerset
I usually give the blade a strop, then open all of the tools and blast it with 3-in-1 spray. Leave it for 10 mins, and then wipe the tools/blades with a clean cloth. It is then ready to go back in my pocket for the next of its 1001 uses.
 
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Oliver G

Forager
Sep 15, 2012
234
118
Melbourne, Derbyshire
The little nylon brushes you got in the SA80 cleaning kit are great for getting bits of dust from underneath the hinge pins of the knife. if the brushes have been well used then the oil holds onto the nylon and pulls dust and debris out, once it's all cleaned then a drop or two of oil on the hinged, open and close everything and job done.
 

TinkyPete

Full Member
Sep 4, 2009
1,899
111
uk mainly in the Midlands though
A quick blow to get the light stuff off it, then go in with a spare tooth pick I keep for just this task, and cotton buds too. Then a quick spray with WD40, G98 oil spray or even some 3 in 1 oil. The wipe down with a clean rag. I make I manipulate all the blades/ tools to make sure they work properly. Sharpening blades and tools as necessary beforehand and stropping as necessary means that some of my SAKs I have got have lasted for over 40 years (I got my first when I was 7 as a cub scout :) )

Like the idea of using the SA80 cleaning brushes ( I have quite a few, and can easily get more as required) (Oliver G) There is also a sponge on a stick thingy which I may use to wipe stuff down with (time to dig out my weapon cleaning kit)
 
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Oliver G

Forager
Sep 15, 2012
234
118
Melbourne, Derbyshire
A quick blow to get the light stuff off it, then go in with a spare tooth pick I keep for just this task, and cotton buds too. Then a quick spray with WD40, G98 oil spray or even some 3 in 1 oil. The wipe down with a clean rag. I make I manipulate all the blades/ tools to make sure they work properly. Sharpening blades and tools as necessary beforehand and stropping as necessary means that some of my SAKs I have got have lasted for over 40 years (I got my first when I was 7 as a cub scout :) )

Like the idea of using the SA80 cleaning brushes ( I have quite a few, and can easily get more as required) (Oliver G) There is also a sponge on a stick thingy which I may use to wipe stuff down with (time to dig out my weapon cleaning kit)

The newer nylon brushed don't work so well, they ones with the grey bristles about 0.5mm diameter, the older ones with the beige bristles work best for me, generally it a wipe in the knife and then a wipe on the leg to transfer the dust somewhere else.

The little sponges on lollipop sticks I found were very useful for stabbing holes in the sponges and not much else, hopefully they have had a redesign.
 

Silverclaws2

Tenderfoot
Dec 30, 2019
99
48
53
Devon
I was given a SAK in 1977, a 'Champion' model of which I still have, carry and use, for it to be direly in need of rebuilding, to be contemplating purchasing a current 'Ranger' model and replacing what parts need to be replaced given how worn or broken they are ( can't quite remember how I snapped the tin opener off !), but I have washed the thing many times in the forty years I have owned it, to reveal ;

Open all the tools out, brush out dust and fluff and anything else it's picked up - paintbrush being useful for this, then dunk it in warm soapy water and brush whilst it's under said soapy water. Drag out, shake water off and dry, have used a hair dryer before, but in general I just leave it to dry out somewhere. When dry I use 3 in 1 or Singer sewing machine oil to oil the pivots and plates, let oil soak in for a while then wipe off excess then close the tools to then open one by one to work the oil into the hinge and between the back spring plates. When the tools close with a satisfying 'snap' I consider job done in that regard. The tools themselves I individually polish with Autosol. To also experience wiping the thing for a few occasions after to remove leaked excess oil.

I also in my maintenance sharpen what needs sharpening and I did use to use 'Brasso' for polishing the scales when they were still useful, but they too are passed it.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,651
McBride, BC
MartiniDave (#11) likes to do what Victorinox recommends. A novel approach.

When I think of it, my SAK is in my pocket Take it out, open all the fixtures
and into a sink of hot soapy water meant to wash pots and pans.
Bit of a soak, a bit of a scrub with a bottle brush, a bit of a HOT rinse and set out to dry.

With the exception of 4 of my 5 cleavers, my kitchen knives are each one piece with no seams to collect crud.
 
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