Spring Cleaning with Leatherman: Tips for Maintaining Your Tools

As spring blossoms, outdoor enthusiasts eagerly prepare to embrace the season's adventures. Whether you're a camper, hiker, fisher, or DIY enthusiast, your trusty Leatherman multi-tool has likely been a loyal companion on many journeys. To ensure your Leatherman tool is ready for action, it's crucial to engage in some spring cleaning and maintenance.

In this guide, we'll provide you with step-by-step instructions and product recommendations to help you maintain your Leatherman tools and ensure they're in top shape for your upcoming outdoor activities.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin cleaning and maintaining your Leatherman tool, gather the necessary supplies. You'll need:

  • A soft, lint-free cloth
  • A toothbrush
  • A small bowl of warm, soapy water
  • Lubricant (optional)

Step 2: Cleaning the Exterior

Start by wiping down the exterior of your Leatherman tool with a soft, lint-free cloth. This will remove surface dirt and grime. For crevices and hard-to-reach areas, use a toothbrush to gently scrub away any debris. Be cautious not to use abrasive materials that could scratch the tool's surface.

Step 3: Cleaning the Blades and Tools

Cleaning can be done with a low viscosity oil (e.g. WD-40, Liquid Wrench, CRC 3-36), which helps force out moisture trapped in the joints. To clean the blades and individual tools, dip a cotton swab in a mild solution of detergent and water, then carefully clean each component. Pay special attention to the pivot points and any areas where dirt may accumulate. For stubborn gunk, you can use a toothbrush to gently scrub.

If your Leatherman has been exposed to salt water or marine environments, rinse in freshwater, dry, and lubricate it with a light oil.

Step 4: Lubrication (Optional)

If your Leatherman multi-tool has moving parts that feel stiff, a PTFE / Teflon-based lubricant can help. Apply a small amount to pivot points and joints, then work the tool to distribute the lubricant evenly. Be sure to wipe away any excess lubricant.

Step 5: Sharpening (Optional)

If your Leatherman tool has a blade that has become dull over time, it's a good idea to sharpen it.

Leatherman products feature knife blades that may be straight-edged, serrated, or both. Sharpening methods vary depending on the type of knife in your Leatherman product. (Read more about blade sharpening)

Step 6: Test and Inspect

Before you stow your Leatherman tool away for your next adventure, test each component to ensure it functions smoothly. Pay attention to any unusual sounds or resistance, as this may indicate an issue that requires further maintenance or repair.

Step 7: Storage

Proper storage is key to maintaining your Leatherman tool's condition. Store it in a cool, dry place, ideally in a leather or nylon sheath to protect it from dust and moisture. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or prolonged exposure to moisture.


By following these steps and incorporating regular maintenance into your routine, your Leatherman tool will remain a reliable companion for all your springtime adventures. Remember that proper care can extend the life of your tool, ensuring it's ready to assist you whenever you need it most. So, gear up, embrace the beauty of spring, and let your well-maintained Leatherman tool be your trusted sidekick on your outdoor escapades.

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