You take care of your knives and sharpen them as needed with a sharpening stone, but have you ever taken the time to take care of your sharpening stone? Fact of the matter is, this nifty little tool needs cleaning and caring for, too, and here are some of the things to remember for cleaning your sharpening stone:
- Clean it after every use. It’s very important that you clean your sharpening stone every time you use it; otherwise, debris from the knife could build up on the stone’s surface, block its pores, and cause your sharpening stone to be less effective.
- Know which oil to use to clean the stone. Some manufacturers of sharpening stones have recommended brands of cleaners, so it’s best that you check this out first before you purchase a particular brand of oil to clean your stone. A generic cleaner that you could use, however, is honing oil, which is available at many knife and knife accessory stores (you could also buy honing oil online at sites such as knifecenter.com and of course, amazon.com). There are two general types of honing oil: water-based and petroleum-based. If you have a diamond stone, it’s best to use the water-based kind; natural sharpening stones are best with petroleum-based honing oils. Do know that once you’ve started using either water-based or petroleum-based, you have to stick with that type of oil for the entire life of the stone.
- Know how to clean your sharpening stone with a water-based honing oil. First, clean your sharpening stone with warm water and soap. Rinse it with warm water. Afterwards, scrub the stone with a small amount of honing oil, using small, circular motions from one end of the stone going down the other end. Use an old toothbrush or a scrubbing sponge for this purpose.
- Know how to clean your sharpening stone with a petroleum-based honing oil. Apply a small amount of honing oil and rub it from one end of the stone to the other with small, circular motions, using an old toothbrush or sponge. Whenever you see some metallic flecks rising up from the surface of the stone, wipe them away with a rag or a paper towel. After you’ve applied the honing oil, rinse the stone under running water, and then dry it off with a towel.
- Protect your hands. While scrubbing the honing oil onto the stone, make sure that you wear gloves to protect your hands; otherwise, the small metallic particles on the stone’s surface might scratch or cause injury to your hands.
- Be careful how you store your sharpening stone. It’s best that you keep your sharpening stone inside a box with a lid to keep dust from settling into the stone’s pores. Be careful also to avoid dropping your stone; otherwise it might chip, crack or break.
Remember, taking the time to clean your sharpening stone after every use will certainly result in sharper knives. And the best thing is, this entire process should take less than ten minutes to do. Good luck, and hope this helped!