Eventually all tools that are exposed to any considerable level of moisture will begin to fall victim to rust. After a certain point the rust buildup becomes severe enough to limit or completely hinder the functionality of the hardware, at which time you have two options – buy replacements, or find a way to save money by reusing rusty tools. Consider the following rust removal methods that will let you restore your tools to like-new condition in no time.
WD-40 and a Heavy Duty Scrub Pad
What do you get when you combine a few squirts of WD-40 penetrating lubricant with some elbow grease and a scrubbing pad? Hopefully, you’ll get rust-free tools, but that will depend on the severity of the rust buildup and the tool type (this method is good for tools with minimal rust and easy to reach surfaces).
CLR and a Little Bit of Patience
Soaking rusted tools in a caustic solution like CLR (Calcium, Lime, Rust remover), Naval Jelly, or Evapo-Rust will usually remove all surface rust, even in hard-to-reach places. This method is particularly useful for older tools with components that have rusted together and are difficult to clean manually. For optimal results, be sure to follow the instructions and safety guidelines listed on the product you’re using. Although this method involves the use of corrosive chemicals, it is much easier than using WD-40 and it works a lot better.
Use an Electrolyzer
Electrolyzers are one of the most effective ways to remove rust from tools, and are preferred by many because they don’t require the use of caustic chemicals or laborious scrubbing. However, these devices are typically more expensive to rent/buy, making them a less common household solution. Fortunately, there are do-it-yourself guides online that will show you how to create a makeshift DIY electrolyzer with about $50 worth of equipment that can be bought at most local department stores.
Preserving Tools and Preventing Future Rusting
The best way to keep specialty tool sets from rusting is to insert a few dehumidifying silica packets in each compartment to keep the moisture out. Another great precaution to take is to apply a rust-inhibitor spray, such as RustOleum or Boeshield T-9. Finally, opt for tool sets that have foam inserts lining the tool holding brackets, as these will shield the tools from external elements better than conventional metal interiors.