How to Clean a Katana

You’ve got a Katana, one of those impressive Japanese swords, and it’s needing a bit of cleaning. Well, it’s embarassing to go out and fight those samurai warriors with a dirty sword…people will talk. So, here are some tips on cleaning a Katana. Just remember that it’s very sharp, and be careful with your cleaning.

Cleaning Kit

Before you even have the Katana for very long, you should have a cleaning kit handy. The items in the kit should be, brass awl and hammer just to dismantle the Katana, rice paper, extra large uchiko (powder ball), a bottle of choji oil, and a plastic container for oiled cloth.

Simple Cleaning

Use the rice paper to clean off the oil from any previous maintenance. Keep that sharp edge away from you. You can even use a soft cloth for a rice paper substitute. Then, use the powder ball to dust it lightly. Tap it against the blade every couple of inches. Next, use the rice paper to rub over it again to do the polishing. Do it until the powder is gone. Now, apply just a few drops of oil on each side and use the rice paper again to spread it evenly.

Removing Stains and Rust

If you have any rusting or stains showing, try this. If there isn’t too much, just use a pencil eraser to see if it works. If not, use wet sandpaper to sand it. When finished, dry it and oil it again immediately. If the sandpaper doesn’t even work, then the blade is very corroded and probably has some pitting. If it’s not too bad, leave it alone. If it’s bad, you may need a replacement blade.


It is recommended to use a hybrid polish. You need to use finer and finer sandpaper as you go along. Start with 900 grit to 1500 grit. Wet sand it parallel on the MUNE on the sword. Only do this on the MUNE. Then just finish it with a light hand buffing and a compound.

That’s mainly it. That’s how to clean a Katana. Some good advice would be to clean that Katana often enough so the process will become shorter and easier. Don’t wait until it gets too bad. Just remember the simple cleaning process, the stain removal and the polishing.

Betsy Cline

Betsy Cline has been a professional house cleaner for 15 years and also a mother of 4 amazing kids (who make lots of messes). She is the founder of How to Clean It and loves to share tips and advice for cleaning up anything life throws at you.

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