How to Clean Rusty Tools

How to Clean Rusty Tools

If you always put garden tools away dirty or leave them out in wet weather, odds are they’ll rust. Once rust has got on metal surfaces, it can be hard to remove. However, eliminating rust is crucial if you want your tools to keep their effectiveness.

Muscle Technique

These are some great ways to clean the rust off your tools.

If you don’t mind putting muscle into the project, getting rid of rust can be done by some good old-fashioned scrubbing. There are many tools that will aid with this method of rust removal. Sandpaper can scratch outer rust away. Or, you can use a drill with a sanding attachment. Belt sanders are helpful for flat objects such as spades and the backs of shovels. Other tools are wire brushes to remove big chunks of rust and steel wool with WD-40 to scrape away tinier rust particles.

Kitchen Techniques

If you desire less scrubbing, you can attempt one of the rust removal techniques that involve standard kitchen supplies. Try 1 tbsp. of lemon juice with enough regular salt to make a thick paste. Dab the mixture onto the rusted area and rub with a dry cloth. The lemon and salt should go through any surface rust. If you have steel tools, you can mix one-part molasses to nine parts water.

Naval Jelly

Naval jelly is a product created specifically for rust removal that works excellently on items with heavy rust. It is brushed onto the rusted surface, the rust breaks up, and then the metal can be rinsed clean.

Stop Future Rust

Once the rust has been eliminated from a tool, try to stop it from recurring. Tools should be hung, instead of being left on surfaces that can get damp, like basement floors or sheds. Coating the metal with some sort of wax is an easy way of stopping future rust. People use an assortment of wax types, like butcher’s wax and motor oil to keep their tools well-coated.

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