How To Clean a Hunting Knife

knife-huntingYou just got back from a hunt for a huge buck. It went great and you got your kill. The hunt took days and the tracking was fierce.

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You made it back home and you’re cleaning up your gear. You see your Reaper Buck Knife and there is WAY more blood on there than you remember. It is your go-to knife and you definitely wiped it down in the field.

The Buck Knife is totally dirty and you’re going to have to clean that bad boy up. Some people, aka hunters, say crazy things, like to use the dishwasher but do NOT put your knife in the dishwasher.

Keep Your Knife Sharp

You should keep your knife sharp and in good condition. It won’t necessarily make the knife easier to clean if it is sharp but regular maintenance is always a good thing. Normally, after you sharpen your hunting knife you will clean off the metal dust and oil up the metal parts of the blade.

Cleaning a Moderately Dirty Hunting Knife

Keep it simple and use some warm water and soap. I use a mild, natural all-purpose camping soap. I use great care in NOT getting my knives all wet. Rust is treatable if it happens but it is always better to prevent the rust.

Dry the knife immediately with a soft cloth. Then, use an oil to add a thin layer of protection. Firearms oil can be used – again use a very light coat. You can also use mineral oil if you are in a pinch…and some people prefer it.

Cleaning a Very Dirty Hunting Knife

Metal Brite is a polishing agent and it does a great job on hunting and Buck style knives. The Buck website even recommends Metal Brite. It does a number of things –

  • Removes rust
  • Removes oxidation
  • Removes discoloration

Stay away from any cleaner or cleanser with chlorine. If you must sanitize, you can use a very low dilution of bleach, then wash it off with soap right after you finish up.

Here is a great video about cleaning a hunting blade.


If you want some recommendations on the best, USA made hunting knives, check out this article.