Are Swiss Army Knives Waterproof? (What to Do if it Gets Wet)

Swiss army knives are great preparedness and survival tools that are useful in almost every type of situation. If you have one yourself, you probably keep it on hand for everyday use or exciting outdoor adventures, but you might be wondering how waterproof these knives really are.

On average, Swiss Army Knives are constructed using stainless steel. While this doesn’t guarantee that all components of the knife are completely waterproof, stainless steel provides the knife with enhanced strength and corrosion resistance.

Whether you’re knee-deep in the water while fishing or spending your days at the beach, you should be able to rely on your Swiss Army knife if the situation arises. Below we will go over how your knife will hold up in the water and share a few tips on keeping it in top shape for a lifetime of use.

Can My Swiss Army Knife Get Wet?

In short, a Swiss Army knife can get wet. However, it is best not to let it sit in water for long periods of time and make sure you are cleaning and drying it off after you are done using it. Also, bear in mind that how waterproof your knife depends on which style you have.

Are the Electronic Components Waterproof?

Victorinox Swiss Army knives come in a variety of sizes and styles, with some of those including electronic components. These components are NOT waterproof. If you have a model (such as the Midnite Manager) with a USB stick or LED light, getting your knife wet or submerging it in water could damage these components.

If liquid happens to get into the housing for the LED light, remove the batteries from the knife and let it dry completely. The contacts for the light have a protective coating, so it will not be damaged. However, the USB does not have any form of protection, so you should be sure to avoid getting it wet.

Swiss Army Knives

Synthetic vs. Natural Materials in Swiss Army Knives

The materials your knife is made from can also impact how waterproof it is. While Victorinox uses stainless steel for the blades, the outside handle material is usually made from natural wood or synthetic materials.

While there are pros and cons for each material, it is recommended that you stick with synthetic if you plan on using your knife frequently or expect it to be exposed to extreme conditions. Synthetic materials tend to be more resilient and will last longer than wood.

Do Swiss Army Knives Rust?

If you frequently put your Swiss Army knife to use, you will eventually see some typical wear and tear, which sometimes includes rust. But if the knife is stainless steel, how did the rust get there?

Victorinox guarantees that all Swiss Army knives are made from high alloyed steel. This is a rust-resistant but not rust-proof metal, meaning corrosion and rust can occur over time if not properly cared for.

Stainless steel, like all steel, contains iron. When iron mixes with water and air, eventually, rust starts to form. The good news is that these knives are built to last. There are countless stories of users accidentally leaving their knife in water overnight or putting it use in salty ocean water with no problems at all.

Plus, if any rust does accumulate, it can easily be removed from the knife with everyday household items, and you can prevent it from forming with consistent proper care.

How to Maintain a Swiss Army Knife

Swiss Army knives are a staple for anyone and everyone, survivalists and just regular people alike. This is mainly because of their versatility and incredible durability. With proper care and maintenance, you can make your knife last for generations.

While a Swiss Army Knife is a fairly tough tool, over time, dust and corrosion get into the hinges, and general use can dull the blade. If left alone, this can reduce the life expectancy of the knife and make it not as effective as it used to be.

Cleaning Your Swiss Army Knife

Before getting started, make sure to remove the battery and USB stick if you have a model with electronic components. You’ll also want to remove any removable pieces such as the needle, tweezers, or toothpick.

Next, submerge the knife in warm water and carefully open and close the blades until they move easily. This should loosen up any dust or dirt caught in the hinges. If your knife is really messy, you can use a rag or toothpick to scrape off any stubborn grime.

Once you are done, be sure to wipe it down with a dry washcloth, then let it sit in a warm place for any leftover moisture to evaporate.

Can I Wash My Swiss Army Knife in the Dishwasher?

It’s not a good idea to wash your Swiss Army Knife in the dishwasher. The temperatures and detergents used in the dishwasher are aggressive and can cause damage to the knife components and casing. If you expect to have your knife in use for a long time, it’s best to avoid the dishwasher.

Should I Oil My Swiss Army Knife?

Once your knife is dry, it’s a good idea to apply oil to make sure everything moves smoothly and protects it from rust.

With the blade shut, apply several drops to where each tool connects to the body of the knife and in between the blades. Then, open and close each tool and blade a few times to drive the oil into the hinges. After that, let the knife sit for about thirty minutes before wiping it down with a rag.

If you’re wondering what kind of oil to use, Victorinox does make its own, which is a good place to start.


If you have a Swiss Army Knife, chances are it’s one of your most frequently used tools. Rain or shine, you expect to be able to pull it out when you need it. While your Victorinox knife may not be considered “waterproof,” it is built to withstand frequent use and extreme conditions. So, unless you’ve got a USB attached, you shouldn’t have to worry about taking on fishing trips, boat rides, or anywhere else that water might be a factor.