How To: Get Sand Out Of a Knife or Multi-Tool


Ever get sand in your knife or multi-tool? A little bit of sand can quickly turn your prized pocket knife into a serious headache. Every time you open it up you hear the telltale sound of sand scraping against metal. It sounds like crinkling sandpaper every time you touch it.

Just thinking of that sound makes my brain bleed. I scoured the web and tried out every solution I could find, but nothing seemed to work. Boiling it didn’t work(only do this with all-metal knives), lubricating it just made matters worse, nothing seemed to help get sand out of all those nooks and crannies.

It took forever, but I finally found a solution. Here’s how I got all the tiny grains of sand out of my pocket knife.

How to Get Sand Out of a Knife or Multi-Tool

Getting sand in a folding pocket knife can be a serious problem. It doesn’t take much sand to damage the folding/locking mechanism in your knife. A day at the beach or a quick hike through the desert will almost always result in a little bit of sand in your folding knife.

Wash The Knife in Soapy Water

Sometimes all it takes is a hot/warm water bath in soapy water to dislodge sand. Just work the soap and water into the knife and scrub it down. Fold, unfold and open up all the compartments to grind down the stubborn sand and dislodge it.

Afterwards blast your knife with a hairdryer and apply some lubricant. I like to use Ballistol (On Amazon), but any 3-in-1 oil should work. Look for oils that clean, lubricates and protects. Gun oils seem to work the best and they also prevent rust.

Getting Sand Out of a Folding Knife

After trying just about every cleaning method I can think of I finally found a few simple solutions.

  • Air Compressor: Blow the grit out of your knife using an air compressor. Just aim the air into the folding compartment and blast everything out. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies blowing out all the sand and gunk.
  • WaterPik Flosser: This is by far the best way to clean the sand out of a pocket knife. Unfortunately, most people don’t have access to a water flosser(On Amazon).
  • Compressed Air Can: A can of compressed air duster will usually do the trick if you don’t have an air compressor. Compressed air is typically used to clean out computer keyboards and electronics. Just head down to your local Walmart, computer store or On Amazon and pick up a can.

The water flosser (I have this one) seems to be the best cleaning method, but air compressors and duster should work. Just aim into the crack on the pocket knife and blow out all the sand and grit. Make sure you get down into the locking system and the folding mechanism.

Don’t Forget The Lube

Once you’ve got most of the sand out, you need to relubricate the knife. Pay special attention to the folding and locking mechanism. If sand gets down into the locking system it’s going to be hard to get out. Make sure it’s completely cleaned out and working smoothly before applying oil.

Lubricate the folding mechanism with a basic 3-1 oil. The oil needs to clean, lubricate and protect. I just use the same can of Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil Spray (On Amazon) that I use on my rifles. Any gun oil will work (Hoppes No 9, M-Pro 7, Break Free CLP), but the spray nozzle on Ballistol makes it much easier to use.

After applying a little bit of lube your knife should be sand-free and ready to go. If it still feels a little gritty repeat the cleaning and lubrication process.

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