Cleaning multitools

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TheWaker43
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Cleaning multitools

Post by TheWaker43 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:42 am

How do you guys clean your multitools? I have a Leatherman Wave and a PS4. I use both pretty much daily at work. And after a few days they both get gritty from dirt or what not. I have been using a gun cleaning tooth brush and a bit of oil every weekend. Just wondering if anyone else had any suggestions.

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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by Action.Jackson » Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:15 am

That sounds good. I would use the oil really sparingly though since it is going to attract dirt and grime. You might want to look into a dry lube that wouldnt do that as much but I dont have any experience with those, maybe somebody else can chime in about that. Nice thing with the oil is its going to protect it from rust, however the wave should be pretty rust resistant already.

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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by Jim_in_Calgary » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:06 am

I have considered this for my skanky leatherman and thought I might boil it since I believe it is stainless.

Is there any reason why this would damage the tool? I had my watch battery replaced at a jewelry shop and they dipped the stainless bracelet in an ultrasonic cleaner to get rid of what they called "watch cheese", and I had to admit it looked better afterwards.

I though boiling might be a poor-man's version of this.

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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by BullOnParade » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:19 am

I work in a machine shop, my wave is kept in the leather pouch on my hip. It manages to get magnetized and attract small metal chips regularly. About once a month, I blow it out with compressed air, demagnetize it, and call it good. A detailed strip and oil once a year wouldn't be a bad idea, but as stated above, oil will attract more lint/dust/dirt.

As far as boiling, it shouldn't harm it, im not sure about nylon washers inside the assembly though. Displace the water with compressed air afterwords. But you won't reach the level of cleaned by an ultrasonic cleaner. You can pick up an ultrasonic cleaner by Hornady or other firearm manufacturers for around $100, this would probably be overkill unless you're skinning game with the blade, then there may be a risk of blood inside the handles being missed in cleaning.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by hutchb25 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:26 am

I find that hot soapy water (use Dawn!) is pretty much the best thing for my Leatherman Wave. I've also used Hoppes on it before with a toothbrush if I remember right, to get sap off my saw after I'd cut down a small tree with it. They stand up really well to heavy cleaning which is part of what makes them great.

I haven't ever lubricated mine and it opens just fine still.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by JayceSlayn » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:10 pm

My Leatherman gets a cursory cleaning with Q-tips and a little gun oil once in a while, but usually I'm OK with some amount of lint in the inner crannies and all. I think I'll try the soapy water idea sometime soon though, since I would like it to be a little cleaner if it's easy enough to do without disassembling the whole thing.

Has anyone tried WD-40 post-rinsing to displace the water and add lubrication? WD-40 doesn't entirely dry out, so it might not be as ideal as a dry lubricant, but the rust-protection/lubrication properties might be nice.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by slannesh » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:40 pm

I use a Wave as my EDC and have for several years, only needed to clean it out a couple of times but what I usually do is just hit it with a toothbrush and hot soapy water, half open everything on it then hit it with some canned air to get the water out of the nooks and crannies then very lightly oil the joints. It's worked for me for 5+ years now.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by bltjr1951 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:51 pm

WD40 would attract lint/dust big time.
Plus get all over your pocket or belt case.
When I worked on telephone switches, I used watch oil on some stuff.
It would spread every where if too much.
I would strip a piece of 22ga solid wire and dip in oil to get a drop to form on wire.
Then I would put drop where needed. Just right amount.

Sometimes the drop of oil from gun oil can would be too much.
The wire dip would work there also.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by JayceSlayn » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:59 pm

bltjr1951 wrote:I would strip a piece of 22ga solid wire and dip in oil to get a drop to form on wire.
Then I would put drop where needed. Just right amount.
That's a good idea. I guess I was trying to think of an efficient way to ensure the tool was dry after cleaning, and WD-40 might do that, but you would be left with a mess afterwards. I guess I'll try the air or compressed air dry and then do a precision gun oil touch up after that.

These tools have so many awesome features, why don't we coat them in Teflon to make them self-cleaning too? :P
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by Confucius » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:09 pm

JayceSlayn wrote:
bltjr1951 wrote:I would strip a piece of 22ga solid wire and dip in oil to get a drop to form on wire.
Then I would put drop where needed. Just right amount.
That's a good idea. I guess I was trying to think of an efficient way to ensure the tool was dry after cleaning, and WD-40 might do that, but you would be left with a mess afterwards. I guess I'll try the air or compressed air dry and then do a precision gun oil touch up after that.

These tools have so many awesome features, why don't we coat them in Teflon to make them self-cleaning too? :P
If you want to displace water, alcohol does the job quite nicely...

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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by JayceSlayn » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:50 pm

Confucius wrote:If you want to displace water, alcohol does the job quite nicely...
That would work for this too, I guess. :P

To be strictly technical: rinsing with alcohols would still leave the possibility of some water on the surface afterwards, unless you withdrew it from the alcohol liquid into alcohol vapor like a Marangoni drying process...The palpable effect of alcohol drying parts relies on a high concentration of alcohol to essentially dehydrate the surface using the miscibility of water in alcohol and the concentration gradient. Later when the alcohol evaporates, it could possibly still leave a miniscule fraction of water left behind. Have to admit: that would only become apparent if you're trying to do something like manufacture semiconductors though, which I had the pleasure to work on for about two years. Haha. Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like a smartass, that's just how my enginerd mind works I guess. And of course the fact that I'm going to put my grimy fingers all over it as soon as its clean, and that breathing on it would put more water back on than the alcohol dry left. :roll:

WD-40 had to go through 40 formulas for a reason though, since if you worry about absolute dryness (and lasting dryness, I guess), it isn't easy. Really interesting story behind it all. But since we're going to try to displace the water with a penetrating oil afterwards anyway, it probably doesn't matter too much how dry it is.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by ninja-elbow » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:20 pm

Blow it dry with air (can or compressed). I've never greased/oiled any of mine and I have some that are, though not as used anymore, over a decade old.

The little guy I carry in my pocket all day everyday gets a can of A1R once a month or so squirted into it. Then I either strop it or give it a good hone.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by Pondo_Sinatra » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:17 am

I have an original Leatherman and a Gerber multi-tool that I'll brush out using an old toothbrush and a liberal application of WD-40 followed by blowing out with compressed air.

For oiling, I re-purposed an empty Hoppe's oil bottle (the one with the skinny steel tip on it) and refilled it with Kano Microil. I also use that same oil for a lot of "precision" lubrication duties around the house, and also as a gun oil. I only use a few drops on the hinges and pivot points, and wipe off any excess.

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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by crypto » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:00 am

I clean mine either in a $30 Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner, or with a gun cleaning brush and a spray can of brake cleaner.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by Salty » Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:35 am

I clean mine with loamy soil, 550 inner core, a needle and the occasional boil. No lubes. Once you use lubricant, you will never get it clean again.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by Jim_in_Calgary » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:12 pm

crypto wrote:I clean mine either in a $30 Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner, or with a gun cleaning brush and a spray can of brake cleaner.

I've seen that one a few times at HF. Do you think it's a good unit?

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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by LittleQuick » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:21 pm

I clean mine with WD-40, actually I disassemble a lot of my knives and multitools and soak them in WD-40. My chickadees father soaked my leatherman in Kerosine for a day and that was kind of cool.

The lint doesn't really bother me, shits gonna get dirty. Big deal. WD-40 works great in my opinion. It's cheap, I can use it on other shit. I like to put it on door hinges that creak.


I think I will test out the best way to clean the tools. Sounds like a fun project.

Although I've never done it, some kind of gun cleaner would be nice. Compressed air. The dish soap for stainless steel sounds like a good idea right now. Might as well try them all out.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by squinty » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:11 am

Toothbrush and BreakFree CLP OR toothbrush and DuPont teflon/silicone spray. Blow excess lube out with canned air, and wipe the outside handle scales with alcohol so the lube doesn't make the tool slippery in your hand. I never had to disassemble my Wave to clean it, (carried it 15 years, finally replaced it with a Charge tti) though I did have to use hot water and simple green once to get ballistic gelatin off one blade. Mostly, I just had to get dust (drywall, sawdust) and pocket lint out of the crevices.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by crypto » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:53 am

Jim_in_Calgary wrote:
crypto wrote:I clean mine either in a $30 Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner, or with a gun cleaning brush and a spray can of brake cleaner.

I've seen that one a few times at HF. Do you think it's a good unit?
No its a piece of shit. I bought two of them and one broke. And even when working its not nearly powerful enough to do what I got it for, which was clean AR bolts and carriers.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by squinty » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:32 am

crypto wrote:
Jim_in_Calgary wrote:
crypto wrote:I clean mine either in a $30 Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner, or with a gun cleaning brush and a spray can of brake cleaner.

I've seen that one a few times at HF. Do you think it's a good unit?
No its a piece of shit. I bought two of them and one broke. And even when working its not nearly powerful enough to do what I got it for, which was clean AR bolts and carriers.
But overkill for a multi-tool?
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by crypto » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:40 am

Its powerful enough to clean tarnish off jewelry, and crud off the inside of a multi-tool.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by northernxposure » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:33 am

Like Crypto -

Ultrasonic cleaner, followed by sterilizer, followed by Teflon dry lube on diss/assm. Do recommend gas sterilizer over steam.

Unlike Crypto -

Our ultrasonics are made to clean and clear stainless and tools, and cost a bit more than the one at HF.

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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by GSHX2 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:09 pm

I open mine up and run it through the dishwasher without soap, usually at the same time I am cleaning some gun parts. Hey, that is how a single guy does things!

Wipe it down with paper towels afterward and use some dry film spray lubricant that I have handy, usually a silicone base.

Gets cleaned about 3-4 times a year.
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Re: Cleaning multitools

Post by SRO1911 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:27 pm

I never deliberately clean mine, but I do have a bad habit of washing my jeans with my Gerber in the pocket. Comes out shiny.

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