7 Ways To Remove Rust From Tools

How to remove rust from tools

If you love your tools, you know how it feels when you see your tools with rust. Rust is one of the biggest threats that can deteriorate the strength and performance of your tools.

This usually happens when water or moisture comes in contact with your metal tools. Like a highly contagious disease, rust can spread all over the metal and can lead to lasting damage.

If you are able to protect your tools from rust, they can last a lifetime and can even be passed on to the next generation.

This guide from dailyhandtools will show you different ways to remove rust from your tools. Depending upon the amount of rust on your tools, you can use supplies you have at your home or go for commercial rust remover.

But before going into the solution, one must always know the reason behind it. So, let’s understand why rusts form.

Let’s get started……

Why Does Rust Form?

Rust forms when iron reacts with atmospheric moisture and oxygen to form a reddish-brown substance on the surface.

Ways To Remove Rust From Tools

Rust is easily removable. So, don’t throw away those rusty tools when you can easily restore them.

Method 1: Using Abrasives

If your tools have accumulated only a thin layer of rust on the upper surface, you can undoubtedly go for this method of rust removal.

This may need a bit of physical work, but you can easily deal with light to moderate rust problems.

Materials Required

  • Washing detergent
  • Steel wool/Scrubber pad
  • Clean Towel
  • Coarse Sandpaper
  • Fine Sandpaper
  • Steel brush wheel/ Aluminium foil
  • Abrasive polishing wheels

Step 1: Take a bucket of water, pour washing detergent into the water and soak your rusted tools for at least  2 hours.

Step 2: Scrub the tools with a steel wool/ scrubber pad to remove the built-up rust on the surface of the tool.

Step 3: Wipe off the tool with a clean towel.

Step 4: Scrub the tool with coarse sandpaper to remove to deep rust in the pockmarks and then switch to finer grit sandpaper for better finishing.

Step 5: Your tool should be free from rust by now. But if the tool has a thick layer of rust, go for a steel brush wire and finish it with abrasive polishing wheels.

Method 2: Vinegar and Citric acid

This household remedy works magic when dealing with mild to moderate rust.

Materials Required

  • Household Vinegar
  • Citric acid (Preferably lemon)
  • Salt
  • Plastic container with lid

Step 1: Fill the plastic container with vinegar.

Step 2: Submerge the rusted tool in vinegar and close the lid.

Step 3: Shake the bottle vigorously and allow the tool to soak for a day for the magic to work.

Step 4: Acids dissolve the rust layer making your tools shine out again.

Step 5: Finally scrub away the leftover rust with salt and lemon. Salt will act as an abrasive and citric acid in the lemon will help dissolve the rust.

Method 3: Baking Soda 

Materials Required

  • Baking soda ( Bicarbonate of soda)
  • Water/Vinegar
  • Wire Brush
  • Clean cloth

Step 1: Make a thick paste by mixing the baking soda with water or vinegar. Use water for mild rust and vinegar for moderate rust.

Step 2: Apply a thick coat of soda paste to the rusted areas and leave it for an hour.

Step 3: After an hour, take a wire brush and brush out your tool.

Step 4: Wash off the soda and wipe your tool with a clean cloth.

Method 4: Soak in Oxalic Acid

Materials Required

  • Rubber gloves
  • Large plastic bucket
  • Oxalic acid
  • Clean towel

Step 1: First of all, clean the rusty tools with the help of dish detergent and a brush.

Step 2: Take a bucket full of water and add 3-4 tablespoons of oxalic acid into the water.

Step 3: Submerge and soak the rusted tools for about an hour or until the rust is completely removed.

Step 4: The time for the removal of rust will depend on the amount of rust on the tool. Once all the rust is gone, remove the tool from and bucket and wipe it off with a clean towel.

Method 5: WD-40 and Dedicated Rust Removers

Materials Required

  • Safety goggles
  • Hand gloves
  • WD-40 / Other Rust Removers
  • Scrubber

Step 1: Make sure to stay protected with goggles and hand gloves while using rust removers as they are highly acidic and can cause damage to your skin.

Step 2: Spray your tool with WD-40 or other rust removers available on the market. Make sure you choose the remover as per the amount of rust on your tool.

Step 3: Leave it for an hour or two. Chemicals will dissolve all the rust.

Step 4: Use a scrubber to scrub away the rust and wipe it off with a clean cloth.

Method 6: Electrolysis

When the rust in your tools has penetrated so deep that you can no longer scrub out the rust, it is time to go for electrolysis.

Materials Required

Step 1: Fill the bucket with water and mix washing soda into the water.

Step 2: Take two electrical wires of sufficient length and strip off both ends of the wires.

Step 3: Connect one end of the wire to the sacrificial metal and rusted tool and dip both of them into the bucket of water.

Step 4: Connect the positive terminal of the battery to the sacrificial metal and the negative terminal to the rusted tool.

Step 5: The sacrificial metal gets oxidized and the tool gets reduced, thus removal of rust.

Leave a Comment