Has it been awhile since you last used those tools? Maybe you have been busy with other things or have just been waiting for inspiration to strike. But, whatever the case, once you are ready to start up that new project after going into something without using your tools, nothing can be quite as discouraging as glancing over at the metal tools in your woodworking area and seeing that they are all rusted due to lack of use. From there, you immediately anticipate the hassle of having to go out and buy new tools and are probably already tempted to put off that project yet again.

But don’t dismay just yet! It may not be too late to salvage your existing tools. Rust removal is absolutely possible, and, in this piece, we will look at a few easy methods of how to get rid of rust, so that you can get started on that next project in no time.

Using the Salt and Lemon Juice Method

Salt and Lemon Juice Method to Remove Rust from Tools

Photo credit to Today’s Homeowner

The salt and lemon (you can also use a lime) juice method is a rather easy yet effective way to remove rust from your tools. First, you will want to thoroughly coat the rusted portion by sprinkling salt over it. Then, juice either the lime or the lime on top of it. Wait about two to three hours and use the rind to scrub the salt and juice mixture off. Easy and lemon squeezy!

Using White Vinegar

White Vinegar to Remove Rust from Tools

Photo credit to YouTube

Probably one of the simplest methods for getting rid of rust, all you have to do here is soak you metal tools in white vinegar for a few hours and then, once they have been properly soaked, effectively scrub them.

You can also use regular vinegar for this method. When using regular vinegar, you can allow your tools to soak for about 24 hours before rinsing them off. This technique will require less scrubbing. If you have a tool or tools that are too big to soak in a container, you can simply pour the vinegar over the tool or tools and give it time to set before scrubbing or rinsing.

Soaking the Tools in Oxalic Acid

Oxalic Acid to Remove Rust from Tools

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Using oxalic acid is a good way to remove more severe rust that maybe some of the simpler methods would not be able to. Before soaking the tools in the acid, you want to make sure you clean them with water and dish detergent. This will ensure that any dirt or grease does not interfere with the chemical process.

Though oxalic acid is fairly mild, it is important that you wear safety goggles, rubber gloves, and protective clothing before soaking the tools. You will also want to make sure that you do not directly inhale the fumes, so working in a well-ventilated area would be ideal. Once you have undergone the proper safety measures, you will then want to mix three tablespoons of the acid with one gallon of water. After that, you will want to completely submerge the tools in the solution.

Leave the tools in the solution for about 20 minutes (though you may need longer depending on how rusted they are). Once the rust has been eliminated, rinse the tools, dry them thoroughly, and make sure that they are properly stored.

Stop Rust Before It Starts with Effective Rust Prevention

We have given you a couple ideas of how to remove rust from tools, but you can also stop rust before it starts with a few rust prevention methods. It all starts with proper storage.

For one, immediately after you use your tools, be sure to dry them and also spray them with WD-40 or a similar rust inhibitor. Also, when you go to store your tools, make sure it is in a dry and clean place. It turns out that moisture attracts dust. Dust, in turn, attracts rust. And rust, as you already know, is not something you want to deal with.

With that in mind, you also want to ensure that your toolbox is free from moisture as well. If you have a metal toolbox, you can use silica gel packs to absorb any moisture. You could also consider utilizing a wooden toolbox, if you don’t already, as the wood is an effective moisture absorber.

If you really want to make sure that your workspace stays moisture free, and therefore, rust free, it would also be a great idea to invest in a dehumidifier, so that you can control the humidity levels and ensure that your tools are staying in prime condition even as you wait for inspiration on the next woodworking project to strike.

All in all, the process of how to remove rust from metal is not a complicated one, but if you wait too long before cleaning, that easily removable rust can turn into damaging corrosion. Save yourself the hassle right from the jump and take the right preventative methods.


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