It is typically advisable to prepare a damp cloth with a bit of detergent. After each use, wipe the blade with the damp cloth, then rinse it with water, and finally, dry it with a clean cloth. This routine minimizes the likelihood of rust formation.
If you anticipate not using the knife for an extended period, it's a good practice to apply a light coating of oil to the blade to prevent rust. In humid regions like the southern United States, it's especially recommended to apply a thin layer of specialized knife protection oil or alternatives like olive oil or castor oil. This acts as a barrier against moisture, ensuring that your tool remains rust-free during prolonged storage.
When dealing with high carbon steel knives, it's best to avoid cutting fruits, as fruit juices can cause rapid chemical reactions with metal. This is particularly true for carbon steel, where substances like lemon juice can lead to surface oxidation and rust formation in as little as 2-3 minutes. Therefore, it's not advisable to use carbon steel knives for cutting fruits or other juicy ingredients.