10 Steps to Oil Your Multi-Tool

10 Steps to Oil Your Multi-Tool

Published: Feb 22, 2021

Carrying a multi-tool conveys that you want to be prepared to resolve problems when they occur. Part of being prepared involves having the foresight to concede future problems before you face them. After that, make the vital changes or preparations to crack those problems easier.

When it comes to tools you carry, it's necessary to keep them properly maintained and ready to use when you need them. This signifies keeping your multi-tool in tip-top shape.

Clean and dry your multi-tool first, then oil each attachment individually, and keep the handle-free from oil. Use some lubricants and ensure not to use toxic lubes when you plan to use your tool for food prep. Oil your multi-tool every time you clean it, lubricate it every 2-3 months when unused, and before you store them.

To do so, we'll be telling you what the most effective lubricants for your multi-tool are. Topics to ponder include the step-by-step ways to apply oil to your tool and how often to oil it.

Click here to see a list of our favorite multi-tools.

What type of oil to use on your multi-tool

Once you're sure that every part of your multi-tool is completely clean and dry, it's time to oil it. This tool has various moving parts that need to be kept well lubricated to work smoothly when you called upon them.

You can plan to use 3-in-1 oil, mineral oil, WD-40, and dry lubricants for your multi-tool. Remember that if you plan to use your multi-tool for any type of food preparation, skip WD-40, and other types of toxic lubricants. 

  • 3-in-1 oil 

Old school quality works well on tools that are not used for food preparation. 

  • Mineral oil

An edible oil that's a good option to clean tools, such as knives, and that will be used for preparation.

  • WD-40

The best all-purpose lubricant, although it is dangerous for your health when you ingest it. Therefore, don't apply it to any tool you plan to use for food preparation.

  • Dry lubricants

These include polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon), graphite, calcium fluoride, and boron nitride. These should not be used on tools that will be used for food prep, like a foldable knife.

Top tips:

Avoid using vegetable oil and motor oil.

Bike stores commercialize various types of dry lubricants. Firearm stores are also a good place to find quality lube.

If you don't mind paying more for a quality knife lube, consider brands like FirePower FP-10 or Sentry Solutions Tuf-Glide. Both are highly recommended.

How to apply oil to your multi-tool

Before actually applying oil onto your multi-tool, there are steps to consider to make it completely clean and dry. Once the tool is ready, start applying the oil. You can use a toothpick to oil the pivot. Open and close each attachment to individually oil them, and make sure that the handle is free from oil.

These are the basic steps to apply oil to your tool.

Step 1: Remove lint and gunk

Firstly, extract all bits of gunk and make it dry by poking out the lint. Compressed air-like cleaning for computer keyboards is also good for removing lint from within the knife.

Step 2: Wash the tool with soapy water

Remove any stickiness on it. Use a sponge or any soft bristle to wash, and never use abrasive material. Individually clean the tool by opening and closing each tool.

Step 3: Soak into hot water

Use hot water, but NOT boiling water to dissolve sap, dirt, and other sticky residues on your tool.

Step 4: Put rubbing alcohol

For strong areas, put small drops of rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip and rub off the dirt. You can then rinse the spot.

Step 5: Dry it completely

Even a little bit of moisture can lead to corrosion or destroy the handle of your multi-tool, especially if it's a wooden handle.

Step 6: Remove any rust

To remove the rust, put a bit of rust remover on a Q-tip, then rub it onto the affected part.

Metal Glo and Rust Eraser are specially made to remove rust on multi-tools and knives, but you can also use WD-40.

Step 7: Start applying oil

Once your tool has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, carefully apply the oil to the pivot mechanism—and not merely close to it.

Step 8: Get toothpicks

If it's difficult to do it using the lubricant's own method, grab sharp toothpicks, moisten them with lubricant, and deliver it into the pivot.

Step 9: Make sure to apply oil to each included tool

Once you've already applied the lubricant individually by opening and closing the tool, move on to the next attachment.

Step 10: Free the handle from oil

Avoid getting oil on the handle. It will make it slippery for a long time.


Key to remember:

Overloading oils in your multi-tool will attract dust and debris that will have detrimental effects instead of benefits. In most cases, a few drops will be enough.


How often to oil your multi-tool

Lubricate your multi-tool depending on how hard you drive it. Certainly, oil it every time you clean it. If you stay near the coast where the salt content in the air is high, you need to oil your tool regularly to avoid corrosion. Also, ensure that you clean and lubricate your multi-tool before storing it.

  • It depends on how hard you drive it

Lubricate your multi-tool depending on how hard you drive it.

  • Lubricate it after cleaning it

Always oil your multi-tool after cleaning it. Although, you can also apply a drop or two in between cleaning to keep everything running smoothly.

  • Oil it every 2-3 months when unused

When not using a tool, lubricate it every 2-3 months.

  • Regularly oil it if you stay near the coast

You will need to oil your multi-tool more often if you live near the coast because it is expectedly humid and the salt content in the air is high. Doing so will prevent corrosion.

  • Oil your multi-tool before storing it

Make sure to clean and lubricate your multi-tool before storing it away for any length of time.

Click here to see a list of our favorite multi-tools.


Today's multi-tools are impressive devices that offer you loads of capabilities in terms of emergency and for everyday life. But despite how usefully they are, they must be properly maintained.

We hope that the tips we shared above will keep your tool in the best working condition and always there when you need it.

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

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