The Best Knife Oil for 2020 and How to Use it

Keeping your knives clean and in good condition is extremely important if you want to get the most out of them. For me, oiling my knives is crucial to maintaining them and cannot be overlooked. It can be difficult to know where to start with so many options and so much information out there. 

I’ve put together a buyer’s guide to get you up to date with everything there is to know in the world of proper knife maintenance. This guide will (hopefully) answer all the questions you might have about knife oil and review some of the most popular options available. 

Also, I’ve included several of the best products in the market along with their pros and cons. That way, you can compare them and pick the right option for your collection. 

Why Should You Oil Your Knives?

Modern knives are made from high-quality steel, but this won’t prevent them from eventually corroding with time. Needless to say, rusting is bad news when dealing with food and will reduce the effectiveness of your knife. 

Long term exposure to rough and coarse materials or saltwater can permanently damage your knives. The best way to combat this and keep your knives in optimal condition is to regularly oil them.

Best Knife Oils

Without further ado, here are my favorite knife oils out on the market.


Yoshihiro TSOIL 100% Pure Tsubaki Japanese Knife Maintenance Oil

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Yoshihiro have a completely safe food-grade purity in their camellia oil. The product comes with a complimentary sabitori rust eraser, which removes rust build-up from the blade and a cloth for easy application of oil. 

The bottle contains 3.4 oz. and only a couple of drops are required per use. It is easy to dispense a single drop at a time with the squeezable bottle preventing wasted oil. The viscosity is thick enough to sit on the blade but allows for easy spreading.

Pros 

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars reviews on Amazon
  • Squeezable bottle aids application
  • Complimentary rust eraser and cloth
  • Easy spreading

Cons

  • Rust eraser is fairly small
  • More affordable alternatives are available

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KUROBARA 100% Pure Tsubaki Japanese Knife Maintenance Camellia Oil

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The Kurobara knife oil comes in 3.5oz and 8.6oz bottles. The 8.6oz bottle is fitted with a spray nozzle for a quicker and easier application process. The camellia oil is bottled in Japan but comes with fully translated English instructions. 

This oil can be applied to any metal part of the knife including screws and grip. Kurobara knife oil is odorless and non-drying.  

Pros 

  • 4.6 out of 5 stars review on Amazon 
  • Maintains knives in excellent condition
  • Comes in two different sizes
  • Spray cap offers easier application
  • Odorless and non-drying

Cons

  • There are more affordable alternatives

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Citadel Black 100% Natural Food Grade Knife and Blade Maintenance Oil 

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Citadel Black’s knife maintenance oil is made with 100% food-safe ingredients. This product is made with a blend of white mineral oil and camellia seed oil. It is specially formulated to maintain both steel and carbon steel kitchen cutlery and protect against rust and wear. 

This oil is low in viscosity, allowing for an even spread that does not solidify or gum up. Citadel Black is manufactured in the United States.

Pros

  • Completely odorless
  • Spreads well due to low viscosity

Cons

  • Expensive compared to many alternative oils
  • 4 out of 5 stars review on Amazon is lower than some competitors

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Thirteen Chefs Knife and Honing Oil

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This product is food-safe certified and contains no harmful or toxic ingredients. Thirteen Chefs knife oil preserves blades by stopping rust from forming through oxidization. 

It creates a strong barrier, protecting against humidity and water damage. This oil can be used on high carbon steel knives and is recommended to be used on Japanese knives including Mercer, Global, and Shun. 

The oil is completely odorless and taste-free and comes with no allergy risks making this perfect for chefs. Thirteen Chefs oil is produced in the United States.

Pros

  • 4.7 out of 5 stars reviews on Amazon
  • Odorless and flavor-free
  • No allergy concerns
  • Inexpensive compared to some oils

Cons

  • Other mineral oils available at a lower cost

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Ultra Pro Food Grade Mineral Oil 

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UltraSource offer a white mineral oil that is non-toxic and non-drying. Their knife oil is colorless, odorless and flavorless, making it perfect for use in kitchens. Its rich consistency makes it an excellent lubricant that can resist moisture.

Pros

  • 4.6/5 stars reviews on Amazon
  • Odorless, colorless and flavorless
  • Non-toxic and non-drying

Cons

  • Cheaper alternatives available

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Sentry Tuf Glide Dry Film Rust Inhibitor

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This oil is available as a single bottle in two, three and four-packs. Tuf Glide does not attract dirt, dust or debris keeping your knife clean and ready to use. The oil doesn’t thicken in cold temperatures or thin in the heat. 

This product uses nanotechnology, leaving a protective film over the applied metal surface.

Pros

  • 4.4 out of 5 stars reviews on Amazon
  • High-quality protective seal
  • Doesn’t change in viscosity depending on temperature

Cons

  • Comparatively small bottles
  • Expensive compared to similar products

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KPL Knife Pivot Lube Knife Oil

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Knife Pivot Lube is specifically designed to oil the pivot and locking mechanism found in modern folding knives. Its high-quality wicking properties mean it penetrated low tolerance, metal-on-metal, and ceramic-on-metal interfaces.

In other words, this will help your knife’s mechanism work as smoothly as possible and reduce resistance caused by rust or wear. KPL uses a synthetic formula that keeps grit, dirt, and contaminants from interfering with the mechanism. This prevents wear and friction from long term use.

Pros

  • 4.7 out of 5 stars review on Amazon
  • Perfect for use on folding knives
  • Excellent quality
  • Keeps out contaminants

Cons

  • High-end price for small quantity

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How Do I Oil my Knives?

Step 1 – Cleaning

An old toothbrush and some soapy water work excellently for cleaning my knives. I then make sure to rinse off my knives in warm water to make sure no soap is left on them. Once this is done, I air-dry my knives for at least fifteen minutes before moving on to the lubricant.

Step 2 – Choosing Your Lubricant

At this stage, it’s time to consider exactly what type of lubricant to use. Knife oils come in a variety of viscosities from very runny to thick, treacle-like liquids. 

You’ll want different oils for different applications, and it is important to consider what you want from your knife. If you are oiling the mechanism of a folding knife you may want a different oil than if you were oiling the blade of a kitchen knife.

You’ll also need to consider price points. Some knife oils don’t come cheap so if, like me, you like to keep your wallet strings tight, it’s best to shop around and see what’s the best bang for your buck. 

For a more detailed look at some of the options available read my picks above.

how to oil a knife

Step 3 – Apply Your Lubricant

Once you have selected and purchased your knife oil of choice, it is time to move on to the final phase. It’s important not to go overboard when applying the lubricant. 

Just a couple of drops will go a long way when oiling knives. The aim is to use just enough lubricant to evenly spread across the blade of your knife. 

You can use a cloth or a cotton ear bud to apply the oil, whichever you find easier. As always when handling knives, take extra care not to injure yourself when applying the oil. Remember to wipe off any excess oil after the application is complete.

What Oil Should I Use on Wooden Knife Handles?

Wooden knife handles are susceptible to rotting and splintering if not properly cared for. Wooden handles come in two different types – stabilized and non-stabilized.

Stabilized wooden knife handles have pores, holes and extra space filled with resin, making the wood water-resistant and less likely to warp or lose form. Non-stabilized knives can swell and sometimes even crack with exposure to excessive water. The upside is that non-stabilized wooden knife handles usually retain a more natural look and feel than the stabilized version. 

A mineral oil will protect both types of wooden handles and keep them looking and feeling new for longer.

How Often Should I Oil My Knives?

How often you oil your knives is completely up to you. Some people oil them after every use, some do it weekly, some only yearly and some never oil their knives. Personally, I recommend oiling your knives at least after every second use for best results. 

Oiling your knife may cost more in the short term but it will increase the longevity of your knives and keep them in top condition. Trust me, oiling your knives regularly is well worth the effort.

What is Food Grade Knife Oil?

This is the type of oil that is safe to use on kitchen knives as it is able to interact with food without causing any issues. Food grade knife oil is non-toxic, odorless, colorless and flavorless. When searching for knife oil for kitchenware, it is essential that you make sure it is food grade knife oil. 

The Bottom Line

It’s simple really. Keeping your knives well-oiled is paramount to their longevity and high performance. This is not something you can cut corners on, and investment in oils will pay off in the long term. As for which oils to use that is dependent on your personal preferences, requirements and, of course, budget. 

The higher price brackets don’t necessarily equate to a better product and they might not be the sort of oils you need. Shop around and decide what it is that will suit your needs and how much you’re willing to spend to get that. 

The bottom line is that whatever oil you choose to go with, you will be doing your knives a world of good. Keep them in better condition by oiling them with a suitable product once in a while at the very least. 

Thanks for reading our list of the best oils. We hope it will help you choose the ideal oil for your high-quality knife set or collection. 

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