How to maintain a samurai katana sword?


A real Japanese samurai sword is a work of art, it must be cleaned immediately if the blade is touched. In order to preserve the wonderful qualities of your katana, you must learn how to maintain it.

If you really want to get into the traditions of the katana you should purchase a katana maintenance kit, but for general purposes this will work. You may need two pieces of nugui-kami (wiping paper), oiling cloth, choji oil (sword oil), and an uchiko ball (cleaning powder). However, most of these materials can be substituted with more common materials. Basically, for a quick clean, you need some paper towels and some mineral oil. If you are doing a full cleaning, then between the wiping step and the oiling step you need to make use of the uchiko ball.

First, remove the katana from its scabbard. The blade is very sharp and may cause serious injury. Make sure that the blade edge is never in a position where it could injure yourself or others. Never clean or oil the blade with the edge towards you and avoid touching the edge at all times.

To clean your blade, wipe any debris and residue from the blade with the the wiping cloth. Hold the tsuka (handle) in your left hand with the edge pointed away from yourself. When you do this however, you are going to keep your thumb pressed against the back of the blade. By keeping your thumb pressed against the back of the blade as you swipe down to the point you will prevent your hand from slipping and getting cut. Do this one, maybe two, times. If your katana has bo-hi (blood grooves), make sure you wipe them by pinching the wiping cloth between your fingers.

If doing the full cleaning, have the uchiko ball ready. Use the uchiko ball (cleaning powder) on the blade once the choji oil has been removed. Take the uchiko ball and tap the blade with it so that some of the powder comes out. Do this every few inches or so. Once this has been done, repeat the wiping process again. Once the powder has been removed, stop. After the powdering, the blade is at its most pristine. If you were going to go and show it off, now would be the time.


Oil the blade using the oiled cloth. This is the same process as the previous step. The blade only needs to be wiped once. The entire surface of the blade needs to be covered. Try not to get too much oil on or under the habaki (blade collar).

Lastly, put the katana back in the saya reversing the process used to remove it. The katana should be put on dry place. Caution: Never draw or sheath the Katana with edge towards you. Never allow children to handle the Katana.