How to Remove Rust from Tools

Rust is the ugly reddish or yellow-brownish flaky coating of iron oxide that is usually formed on either iron or steel by oxidation. Rust is especially generated because of the presence of moisture.

Rust is always considered one of the biggest and most fatal threats for the tools that may cause the tools to get badly damaged and also reduces the longevity of the tools. Rust spreads gradually over iron or steel like a highly contagious disease and makes them damaged.

Many of us think that the creation of rust on the tools indicates that the tools must be unusable. But this concept is totally wrong. We can use rusty tools again as we used before just after removing the rust from the tools.

Here, in this article, I’ll elaborately discuss the ways to remove rust from the tools.

Removing Rust from Tools

Removing Rust From ToolsRemoving rust is surprisingly very easy. There are several ways of removing rust from the tools. Some of them are very common and also effective. And some of them are not common and also are not that much effective. Let’s have a look at the most common and highly effective ways to remove rust from the tools:

Home Remedies

Home remedies refer to the course of removing rust from tools using household products. If you are quite interested to do some experiments and always prefer to solve any problem using easily assessable materials, then you can go for home remedies. Though most of the time it will work effectively as compared to other complex methods, you can never expect a miracle to happen.

Using Vinegar

This is the most popular and one of the proven methods that are very much effective and actually work. Reputed mechanics released a complete guideline to remove rust from tools, where most of them emphasized and focused on utilizing vinegar. The method is something like that:

In case the tool that you want to work on is a part of any kind of large machine like a table saw or something else like that, then, first of all, you need to wash the tools or some parts of the tools using a mixture of warm water and grease-cutting dish detergent. This will help to remove the dirt and oil from the machine. After that, you need to grab a bucket and fill it with white vinegar. Then you need to soak the tools in it. White vinegar is quite acidic, for which it will cut through the rust and make it easier to remove from the body of tools. The amount of vinegar that you should use will sometimes vary on the basis of the number of tools you will clean and the size of those tools. 

Some renowned mechanics claimed that they got the expected result just after a couple of hours. But yet they suggested leaving them overnight to get the best result. So, you can keep the tools inside the bucket overnight or even two-three days to get the best result. But once the tools have properly marinated, now you can take those tools out of the bucket. Then you should start to scrub them using some steel wool. The rust will come off with little elbow grease. Remember not to forget rinsing the tools using clean water and also drying them properly. The odor of vinegar is very strong and doesn’t vanish easily.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is a very common kitchen staple. It is also one of the most leading kitchen items with versatility. We can perform a lot of tasks and solve so many problems using this. We already know the use of baking soda as an excellent kitchen cleaner. Now we will know how we can use this for removing rust from your tools also.

At first, you need to pick some baking soda from your kitchen and then mix them properly with some water. This mixture will generate a thick paste. Nevertheless, it is your obligation to check out the mixture is alright and the generated paste is neither too thin nor too sticky. Now you have to paint the tools coated with rust using this paste. After the completion of painting the tools with paste, leave the pasting for a few hours. Leaving for a few hours now it is time to remove rust from the tools. For that, you should start scuffing the tools thoroughly using a brush. To get the best result, you can try leaving the paste overnight. 

Though you can apply this remedy very easily at home, still there I a minor limitation of that method. Sometimes you may fail to remove the stubborn coatings using brushes. Scuffing forcefully using brushes may create scratches on the tools or even damage them.

Using Coke and Aluminum

Using Coke and Aluminum

If you are normally looking for solutions to remove some general rust on your tools, then you can follow this method. Many of the experts have repeatedly said that this is an easy method which seems to be very much effective. We often see people use this method to clean their bikes and cars. So, I must suggest you adopt this method for your tools also.

To apply this method for removing rust from your tools, at the very beginning of the method, you need to find a small tub and fill the tub completely with coca-cola. There are two versions of coca-cola, one is the full-sugar version and another is the diet-approved version known as Coke Zero. According to the experts, it is far better to use the full-sugar version rather than using the sugar-free version to get the best result.

As you fill the tub up with coca-cola, now you need to take a set of aluminum foil just to dip it in the tub filled with coke. Then you need to go through the tools you want to clean and polish them one after another very carefully using the aluminum foil. If there is any tool which is really so much rusty, I would definitely recommend you to let them soak before you try to rub them using the aluminum foil. 

To make sure that you are not bringing the old rust on the cleaned tools, it is highly recommended to keep some water and a small piece of cloth nearby. Soak the polished tools onto the clean water and then wipe the tools using the piece of cloth. You can also wash your hands while scrubbing.

Store-Bought Products

Do you think there is anything that money can’t buy? I don’t think there is a single thing that money can’t buy. So, there are also some products that you can use to remove rust from your tools and you can easily buy those products from a store near you. Using these products to remove rust will bring your tools back into the previous shape. If you want your rusty tools to get back into the previous position within a short time, and also if you have enough money to invest for removing rust from your tools, then you can follow the following methods:

Using Rust Removers

Experts always suggest storing the metal tools inside a drawer or in a kit along with some packets of silica gel. Take it just as a precautionary step. But still, rust may breakthrough. In that situation, you can use rust remover if you want. 

WD-40 Company produces a rust remover named ‘Rust Remover Soak’ which people love a lot and also use to remove rust from the tools. WD-40 is one of the trademarked and most popular company which produces water-displaying spray and penetrating oil. 

You can pick up this penetrating lubricant rather than using some weak acids. Use a Scotch pad to scrub the tools. According to the opinions of the experts, it is very easy to use this lubricant without any risk caused by chemicals. They also stated that you can get rid of unexpected rust within 1 to 3 hours only. 

There is also some alternative rust removing products other than this one. Some chemical products also claim to remove rust very easily. You can also search for them and use the one that you find suitable. But remember one thing, whatever you buy, never forget to go through the user guidelines on the back of the bottle. Reading the guidelines carefully will inform you about the items used in it, whether scrubbing is mandatory or not, and also let you know up to which level of rust it can remove. You will get help to make a choice to invest in the right product.

Using Oxalic Acid

Using oxalic acidIf you have no faith in commercial rust removing products and you are not that much interested to use those products, then you can go for oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is one of the acids well-known for removing rust easily. This acid will definitely work faster than any other natural methods. You can buy oxalic acid from a local home improvement store. Oxalic acid is also available in some hardware stores.

You need to choose a well-ventilated area to apply that method. As oxalic acid will generate mild fumes, you should choose a well-ventilated or an open place to perform this task. Before you start the method, it is much better to wear glasses and gloves to ensure safety and protect your body parts. Though this is optional, still it will protect your eyes and hands from an unexpected injury.

At first, take some warm water on a pot and then mix some grease-cutting dish detergent with the water. Scrub the tools into the mixture and clean away oil and dirt from the tools. Then take another large container and pour one gallon or 4 liters water inside the container. Add 3 tablespoons of oxalic acid and mix carefully with the water. Beware to never let the acid splash on you or around the working area. Then soak the tools inside the container and leave them in the mixture for 20-30 minutes. The acid will take that time to break the rust. After 20-30 minutes, wash the tools in clean water and lastly dry the tools using a piece of cloth. Your rusty tools are now back in the previous position and totally ready to store or use.

Using Diesel

Diesel is a very common type of oil that is popularly known and broadly used to run different types of vehicles. In spite of being very useful to run vehicles, diesel can also be very useful in case of some uncommon cases. Removing rust is one of them. Yes, you heard it right. You can remove rust using diesel.

This method of removing rust is mostly in the automobile industry or vehicle garage. Though it is a popular method among the mechanics, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this method. Anyone can apply this method for removing rust from their used rusty tools.

Like a few of the other methods, you need to pour diesel into a container or pot and let the tools soak in the container. Leave the tools absorbed in diesel overnight. In the morning you will find the rust soften than the last night. Then you can easily scrape the rust off of the tools. Wipe the tools dry and let them be ready to use. Remember not to wash the tools after scraping. 


If you don’t like any of the above methods, then this is the last method for you to try. If you have a scientific mind, then you must love this method to apply for removing rust from your tools. Electrolysis refers to tearing apart with electricity. People usually use this method to break apart bonds using electric current. In the case of removing rust from the tools, we can use electricity for breaking the iron hydroxide bond. This will cause the rust to get totally removed from the iron’s surface.

To apply this method for removing rust from the tool, you will be in need of a large bucket and washing soda. Pour some water into the bucket and mix washing soda with the water. Then dip the tool covered with rust and a sacrificial metal into the mixture. After that, take a car battery and connect the positive terminal of the battery to the sacrificial metal and connect the negative terminal to the iron you want to clean.

When the battery will be completely powered, then the reaction which facilitates rust will be totally reversed. The metal connected to the positive terminal will sacrifice itself for the iron. The metal will become alternatively oxidized. Moreover, the iron connected to the negative terminal will receive electrons. Leave the tool soaking for a long day. Then you can remove it on the next day. You can check the rust has been completely removed or not. If some rust is still there, repeat the process again to eradicate every speck of rust from the tool.

So, that was the total solution of the problem to remove rust from tools. I hope now it is crystal clear how you can remove rust from tools. All the methods stated above are very much effective. But I must recommend you to try using vinegar if you prefer home remedies. However, if you are thinking of following a method other than home remedies, then don’t think twice to use the rust removers to remove rust from your tool, because this is the easiest of the rest of the methods that bring an effective result.

Leave a Comment: