The Wine Cork Hack For Polishing Rusty Kitchen Knives

a pile of wine corks
a pile of wine corks - Lisovskaya/Getty Images

Every kitchen, no matter how basic, should have at least one or two kitchen knives. A good knife is indispensable for basic tasks like chopping, dicing, and breaking down ingredients, making it a cornerstone of meal preparation. But while kitchen knives are known for their durability, they still need some maintenance and care to stay in prime condition. If your knives (especially carbon steel knives) have seen better days and are sporting some rust, no worries. There's a very simple hack that you can use to give them their shine back and all you need is a wine cork.

The secret to this hack lies in the natural softness and resilience of cork. It's gentle enough not to scratch the blade while being abrasive enough to scrub off stubborn food debris and flakes of rusty metal.

The method is simple: Begin by giving your knife a brief rinse under the tap, followed by a gentle scrub using the soft side of a kitchen sponge to eliminate any surface debris. Next, grab a wine cork and, using its flat end, glide it along the knife's length. If the residues are a bit too stubborn, you can use a mild detergent to give the cork some extra cleaning power. After you've removed all the dregs, wash the knife in warm, soapy water, rinse, and dry it. At this stage, your knife should gleam and be entirely free of rust.

Read more: 15 Best Knife Brands, Ranked

Why Does Cork Work So Well For Scrubbing Grit And Rust?

set of old wine works
set of old wine works - YRABOTA/Shutterstock

The reason why a wine cork is such an ideal scrubber for knives comes down to its texture: It's soft with a fine-grit. Due to its softness, unlike with scrubbing pads and steel wool, you can use a wine cork to scrub a knife blade without worrying about causing any scratches on the metal. In addition to their softness, wine corks boast a natural, bumpy texture composed of thousands of tiny air bubbles that give it a high friction coefficient. When you use a wine cork to clean a knife blade, these small bumps effectively latch onto food particles and rust flakes, gently abrading them off the blade's surface.

There is a caveat, though: Using a wine cork to scrub your knife takes more time and effort compared to using a scrubbing pad or steel wool. While these options can scratch the blade, they are much more effective at dealing with severe rust due to their higher abrasiveness. If your knife is expensive or has a very nice finish that you want to preserve, it'd make sense to go the extra mile. Otherwise, save yourself some time and trouble by going for a standard scrubbing pad or steel wool.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.