I have an old Swiss Army Knife on which I can only open one blade; the rest are locked in place. How should I clean this, and is there anything else I should do to refurbish it, like oiling, after I clean it?

This knife has been part of my daily carry for over a decade, and I carry it when I exercise, so I'm sure the innards are packed with some combination of pocket grunge, old candy and sweat.

The one blade I can still pull out works great, but the other blades are nice too.

2 Answers 2


When mine gets too bad I use WD40 to free it up, then clean with soapy water and a brush. Mine also goes through the dishwasher sometimes, with the blades partially open. If it gets gummed up with sugary stuff (your candy, or cutting up fruit) a good soak in hot water will free up the blades.

After cleaning it is a good time to sharpen it. If the hinges are still stiff, a drop of light oil (3 in 1 or bike chain oil) at each hinge should do the trick. Work the oil in by opening and closing all the blades a couple of times before assuming you didn't use enough, then wipe any excess off before putting it in your pocket. You could wrap it in a tissue the first day you carry it in your pocket, in case oil escapes when warmed by body heat - I used to carry one when I wore a suit.

  • 3
    Thanks, that did the trick. I soaked it overnight in hot soapy water, brushed it out this morning while working the blades, rinsed liberally, then blew it dry with compressed air. I finished with a touch of bike chain oil (which you probably knew I'd have around here) at each pivot. Much better now. :)
    – compton
    May 17, 2017 at 12:57

The producer offers a page of care instructions on their website (here) (PDF). The gist is:

  • don't use a dishwasher, that might be too aggressive
  • open and close the blade multiple times in warm water
  • dry thoroughly
  • put some oil on the friction points (where the blades rotate), open and close multiple times

@chris-h's answer is also spot on. I, too, use a dishwasher (the producer discourages it). I saw some oxidation of the aluminium parts between the blades after that.

  • 2
    Can you please include the relevant information from those instructions in your answer. Victorinox is not like to disappear any time soon, but even without link rot it is nice to have the information readily available.
    – imsodin
    May 17, 2017 at 7:57
  • 4
    @imsodin Victorinox is unlikely to disappear but you can bet the link will break the next time they redesign their website. Link rot is still a worry even with organizations you expect to stay around for a long time. May 17, 2017 at 14:48
  • 1
    as you see, I added a short comprehension of the paper
    – knitti
    May 17, 2017 at 14:56
  • 1
    Gosh! I wish I could keep my pocketknives for more than a few years. They seem to wander away, or drop into deep crevices after a year or two. Alas, when someone borrows my knife, I have a compulsion to bird dog them until they return it.
    – wallyk
    May 17, 2017 at 15:26
  • 3
    bird dog.. had to look that up; bird dog (North American) verb 1. search out or pursue with dogged determination
    – Molomby
    May 17, 2017 at 22:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.