How to Clean A Sharpening Stone: 8 Crucial Tactics!
Sharpening stones come in five different forms. Some are ceramic, some are oil stones, others are diamonds stones, synthetic and water stones.
You can easily acquire a sharpening stone at any hardware store. While they are essential for keeping your knives sharp and effective, they also need maintenance so that they can serve you better and longer.
One of the maintenance routines you should give your sharpening stone is cleaning. You should clean your sharpening stones periodically.
If you notice that your sharpening stone has some glittering grey streaks, it is time to clean it.
Grey streaks are accumulated debris and flecks of metals from your regular knife sharpening exercise.
How to clean a sharpening stone?
Before starting your sharpening stones cleaning, you need to assemble the following items:
- A towel
- Honing oil
- An old toothbrush or a scotch brite
- Steel wool
- Warm and soapy water
- Clean running water
- Paper towel
1. Place the sharpening stone on a towel
First, you need to pace a towel under the sharpening stone. The towel will help you to catch any particles that fall from the stone during the cleaning up.
This will keep your cleaning or kitchen surface clean.
2. Pour the honing oil over the sharpening stone
To start the cleaning process, pour some amount of honing oil all over the sharpening stone. Make sure to cover every inch of the stone.
Honing oil helps to lubricate the sharpening tone and reduce friction during the cleaning process. Excess friction may destroy the stone.
The oil also helps to float the metallic flecks from the pores of the stone and keep them from embedding.
Rub the stone in circular or horizontal motions in order to spread the oil all over it.
Once you have spread the oil all over the stone, use the old toothbrush or the scotch brite to scrub the stone in circular motions.
This is to get rid of the debris from the stone. You can also use a rag to scrub the stone.
As you scrub the stone, you will notice flecks rising up from the stone’s pores. Wipe the fleck off with a rag.
If your stone is too dirty, use the steel wool to get rid of the excess debris.
Wash the stone in under lukewarm water and repeat the process until you are satisfied.
Once you are satisfied with your stone and you can no longer see any debris, rinse the stone under clean running water.
Running water is preferred for rinsing the stone as it washes off any particles and soap from the stone effectively.
If you use standing water, such as water in a basin, the stone may pick up or retain some particles.
Drying is also an important step in the cleaning process.
Pat the rinsed stone with a paper towel or a clean rag. Make sure to dry the stone completely to avoid growth of mold an unpleasant smells.
You can also leave the stone out in the open air to evaporate any remaining water.
Alternative ways of cleaning a sharpening stone
Depending on the type of stone you have, you may need to explore other methods of cleaning. Here are four alternative methods you can choose from.
1. Use WD-40
You can use the WD-40 oil spray in place of the honing oil. WD-40 is a popular lubricant that penetrates tough surfaces. It is also used to remove dust from surfaces.
Wd-40 is effective in cleaning sharpening stones as it removes heavy debris and grime.
Spray the lubricant all over the tone. Make sure the stone is coated with the spray entirely. Let the spray rest for a few minutes to allow it to soak and float the unwanted particles from the stone.
Once you are done coating the stone with WD40, follow the steps explained above to clean your sharpening stone.
Make sure to rinse your stone very well as this product may leave a stinky smell.Use WD-40 in a ventilated place or open air.
2. Use the Bar Keepers Friend
The Bar Keeper friend is another product you can use to clean your stone. You can use this product in place of the honing oil.
Dust the product all over the stone, then use a damp cloth to spread the dust through the stone. You can also mix the dust with water in a small bowl into a thick paste.
Use the old toothbrush or a rag to apply the paste all over the stone.
When you have your stone covered with the dust, use the steps 3-5 above to clean and dry your happening stone.
This method is very effective for stones that have accumulated a high amount of dirt or fleck particles.
3. Use warm soapy water
This is an ideal cleaning method for stones that do not require aggressive scrubbing. Such as the ceramic and diamond stones.
There are two ways to use soapy water to clean your sharpening stones. In the first method, place some hot water in a bowl or basin, put in some drop of detergent in it and mix.
Place the stone inside the water; let it sit for some time while scrubbing it with a soft brush or rag. When it is clean rinse the soapy water off and pat dry the stone.
Alternatively, use a dishwashing detergent such as dawn as a cleaning agent in place of the honing oil in our step guide above.
Then follow our procedure and you ceramic stone will be squeaky clean.
This method works well with stones that are not too loaded with debris and dirt.
Cleaning an Oil Sharpening Stone
If an oil sharpening stone has not been used in a very long while, the oil and grime will hold very fast on the surface.
The methods described above will not suffice to get such a sharpening stone clean. Indeed, for a very grimy oil sharpening stone, the only way to remove the encrusted layers of oily grime is to boil it in water.
This is the most effective way of getting rid of the accumulated layers of grime, oil, and filings. You should boil the stone for no more than 10 minutes. Five minutes or less is often sufficient.
This is because long exposure to extreme heat can be detrimental to the molecular structure of the ceramicware material.
After you have boiled the sharpening stone, pick it with a pair of tongs or pincers and place it n a bowl of lukewarm soapy water. This so as to ensure that the sharpening stone grows cold enough to handle by hand.
Do not use cold water as this will only cause the now loose layers of oily grime to hold back fast on the surface.
After 15 minutes in the soapy water, take it out and brush the surface thoroughly using a stiff brush and sink cleaner. If it doesn't get sufficiently clean, you can repeat the procedure (from boiling to cooling and scrubbing) once or twice.
Once done, hold the sharpening stone under a jet of cold running water to rinse off any material that is left on the surface.
The metallic flecks that fall off from the knives during the sharpening process collect in their pores.
Accumulation of this dirt and flecks will eventually render your stone ineffective. Clean your stone effectively using our step-by-step guide and you will use it to sharpen your knives effectively for long.