How to Treat a Carbon Blade With Vinegar

Knives that are not stainless steel are usually carbon-based, requiring more regular oiling and maintenance.

Stainless-steel blades won't need a forced patina. Carbon blades will.Stainless-steel blades won't need a forced patina. Carbon blades will.
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.

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.

Things You Will Need

  • White vinegar
  • Clean rag
  • Dish detergent
  • Soft brush or long cotton swab
  • Tall glass
  • Cooking pot

About the Author

Dan Harkins has been a full-time journalist since 1997. Prior to working in the alternative press, he served as a staff writer and editor for daily publications such as the "St. Petersburg Times" and "Elyria Chronicle-Telegram." Harkins holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Florida.