Remove Rust From Tools
It happens to the best of us. We go to the garden shed for our tool box to fix something in the house and are shocked to find that many of the bits and pieces in the box are rusty. Sure, you can go ahead and continue with your DIY maintenance and repairs, but the rust is horribly distracting and messy. What’s more, if you don’t take care of the rust fast, you’ll be throwing a whole box of tools away.
To keep your tools in tip-top shape and save money by not having to replace them, here are our top tips to remove rust from tools.
To keep rust from covering your essential tools, it’s good to know how it forms in the first place. Most metal hand tools are made from corrosive metals and for the most part, this isn’t a problem. However, improper tool care or leaving them in a tool shed full of moisture is a sure-fire recipe for rusty tools. The iron in the tools reacts to oxygen and moisture and oxidation takes place. There you have it, rust.
Evaluate Your Tools
If you find all your tools have become rusty, you probably want to de-rust them and fast. Before you start reviving your tools, examine the extent of the rust damage. If the corrosion has gone too far, your tools may be rendered useless. The last thing you want to do is spend an afternoon de-rusting tools that have corroded to almost nothing. If you find you need to replace any of the rusty tools, look at buying good quality tools that are less prone to rusting.
Prepare Your Workspace
Removing rust from tools isn’t much fun so you want to make the process as simple as possible. By bringing all of your rusty tools, cleaning implements and cloths and placing them strategically around your workspace, the process will go a lot faster and a lot smoother. Make sure you also lay down some newspaper for your cleaned tools to dry on.
Clean Your Tools
Sometimes when we’re working in the garden or outdoors in general, tools get dirty. Yes, we all know we should clean the dirt off our tools before putting them away, but quite often we either forget or promise to clean them later … and then don’t. This is all too common with garden tools as the dirt is full of acids and moisture. Spend a few minutes after gardening next to the hose and get rid of the dirt before you put your garden tools away. Before you start with the rust removal, make sure your tools have been thoroughly cleaned. It will make the job of removing rust so much easier and, you’ll be able to see just how much rust has corroded your tools.
Choose Your Rust Cleaner
There are a number of great products on the market that effectively remove rust from tools, but you can also make your own with a few simple ingredients. You can use something acidic like vinegar or lemon juice to dissolve the rust. Simply pour vinegar in a bucket or jar and soak the rusted part of your tools overnight. The following day, the vinegar or commercial rust cleaner will have dissolved most of the rust but there will still be some traces left. Using a scourer, rub the rest of the rust off. Make sure you get it all off.
You can also make a paste of baking soda. Rub this paste generously over your tools and set them down for a few hours. You should then be able to remove the baking soda paste with a good deal, if not all of the rust.
Protection Is Next
Once you’ve removed all the rust from your tools, it’s important to dry them completely. You can dry them off quickly using paper towels, but if you want to be sure they dry thoroughly, leave them on a sheet of newspaper overnight. Once dried, you want to protect them so they won’t rust again anytime soon. Use a rust inhibitor and apply liberally over all the metal parts of your tools. The rust inhibitor will add a layer of protection to your tools that will slow down the oxidation process. Apply it liberally and let it dry on your tools. You should also lubricate any moving parts so that the tool will work efficiently again.
Store Them Properly
There’s not much point in removing rust from your tools if you’re just going to toss them back in your tool box and forget about them again. While you can’t completely prevent your tools from rusting, you can slow the process down. If you must return your tools to a box, make sure the tools and the box are completely dry. The box should be airtight so that no moisture gets into them. Check your garden shed as well. Many home handymen like to hang their tools on the wall, which is great in a nice, airy shed. But if that same shed is constantly damp, your tools are going to get rusty again and again.
Lubricate After Each Use
Prevention is better than cure so lubricate your tools after each use. Most lubricants are oil-based and will stop moisture from coming into contact with the metal of your tools. You can choose from a lubricant in a bottle that you can rub onto your tools or a spray that can be quickly applied over the entire surface of your tools.
Check Your Tools Often
The best way to keep your tools rust-free is to check on them often. Don’t wait for your tools to become encrusted with rust before you take action. Instead, check on them as often as possible, especially during the rainy seasons. If your tools get wet while you’re using them, wipe them dry and make sure they are completely dry before you store them again.
Keep your tools clean and rust-free and you’ll have them at your service for a lifetime.