OTF Knife Care: Cleaning and Maintenance Guide

Out the Front (OTF) automatic knives take a lot of beating. Even when they are not in use, owners tend to habitually fire and retract the knives, because let’s be honest, it’s fun. Owners of OTF knives also carry them everywhere as part of their Every-Day-Carry (EDC) items. As a result, personal knives tend to be used for a slew of reasons, such as cutting cheese, steak, or carving up a sharp wooden stick.


With all that use and habitual playing, dust, gunk and other materials get lodged into the spring mechanism. If the knife begins to misfire, or it doesn’t feel quite like it used to, then it is time to clean it. If you're unsure, It is always best to get your OTF knife serviced by a professional. However, if you're feeling up to it, cleaning and maintaining your Tekto knife is achievable at home with these easy-to-follow instructions.

Step #1: Tools required to clean your OTF knife

Before starting, make sure all of the necessary tools are available. You will need a lubricant (preferably WD-40), a clear and soft rag to clean out the dirt, and a precision screwdriver to unscrew the screws to disassemble the knife. 

Step #2: Discharge your blade

Next, discharge the blade against something like a large book, cardboard, or wooden cutting board. This renders the spring mechanism non-functional, therefore making the the blade loose and safer to handle moving forward. 

Step #3: Open up the knife

Unscrew the screws using your precision screwdriver and remove the top plate. We'd recommend keeping the screws (loose) in their holes to avoid misplacing them. Also, opt for a manual screwdriver rather than a power tool to avoid wearing them down. 

Step #4: Disassemble the parts

Remove the inside components. Carefully withdraw the spring and the metal plate setting them aside. Remove the blade. The blade should be already loose from discharging, but you still need to hold the rear-hinge back to remove the blade from the bottom casing carefully. 

Step #5: Clean all components 

Take your rag and remove all lint, crumbs, and gunk from the casing. Use a lint-free cloth that won’t leave fibers behind. Make sure also to clean the blade and all other parts that have been removed.

Step #6: Lubricate the inner handle

Lightly spray the inside of the bottom casing with rust-free WD-40 and wipe away any excess with the same rag.  

Step #7: Reassemble your knife

Reassemble your Tekto knife. Start first with the blade, this time holding back the front hinge, and sliding the blade half down the bottom casing. Do not slide it all the way down.

Next, comes the spring. To reattach the spring, locate the long-lip and apply it to the flat side of the metal plate. Take the shorter lip, and slide it into the groove until it snaps into place. Now your spring mechanism is ready. Put the metal plate back into the bottom casing and slide it back and forth making sure it correctly installed.

Add the thumbpiece, then place the top plate back in place. But before retightening the screws, make sure the thumbpiece works. Hand tighten the screws.


You have successfully cleaned and serviced your knife and it's now ready for action. Please be careful when handling any OTF blades and obey all federal and local laws