How to clean rust from your tools (and keep it from coming back)

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Photo: Alexei Logvinovich (Shutterstock)

Whether you inherited them from your parents or grandparents, or acquired them for a good price at a yard sale or flea market, you may have rusty tools lying around your house, basement or garage right now. And maybe one day you’ll need a wrench or a hammer or a garden trowel, grab one of those rust-covered tools and realize it’s time to put them back together. working condition.

Fortunately, there are several methods to do this, as well as ways to keep rust at bay. Here’s what you need to know.

How to remove rust from tools

There are several ways to remove rust, some of which require more elbow grease than others. (Of course, it also depends on how much rust your tools have accumulated over time.) Here are some options.

Wash and sand

First wash the tools in a warm water bath with dish soap, making sure to wipe everything grease and dirt. Rinse and dry tools thoroughly. Then, depending on the extent of the rust, use a scouring pad, steel wool, sandpaper, or wire brush to remove as much of the rust as possible.

give him a bath

Again, start by washing your tools in hot soapy water to remove grease and dirt and debris. Next, get a bucket or basin large enough to hold your tools. Put the tools in the bucket, then pour enough a of these liquids on them until they are completely submerged.

  • White vinegar: Let the tools soak all night or as long as 24 hours. You may need to use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove the last remaining rust, but it should come off fairly easily.
  • Citric acid: For every gallon of hot water in the bucket, add 1/3 cup citric acid. Mix the solution well, then add the tools and make sure they are completely covered. Some tools will be ready in a few hours; others will have to soak overnight.
  • oxalic acid: For each gallon of water, add three tablespoons of oxalic acid. Add and overwhelm tools. Check them after 20 minutes. Leave them a little longer if they are not there yet.

Once the tools are finished with their acid baths, rinse them with clean water and dry them thoroughly.

How to prevent new rust from forming

Once your tools are rust-free (or nearly rust-free), check that they are completely dry. Then spray or wipe on a small amount of all-purpose oil, such as WD-40, mineral oil, boiled linseed oil, to seal the tool. For extra protection, spray on a coat of lacquer or transparent varnish.

In the future, be sure to store your tools somewhere as dry as possible. Aand keep it clean: dust attracts moisture.


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