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I was given a large collection of tools (happy dance), that can easily be separated into three distinct groups.

Most of the tools are in good condition.

Some of the tools need a little TLC.

The last group requires a tetanus shot just to get close to them.

In the past would have used a sandblast cabinet to clean up these tools, but since I currently do not have access to one I decided to be adventurous and try something new and different ...

cleaning them up using only common household items.

Step 1: The Start of Something Beautiful

what you will need:

A container big enough to hold what you are cleaning

Vinegar

Salt

A little bit of patience

After everything is in the container, fill it up with some white vinegar until everything is fully submerged. Measure as you add the vinegar so you know how much salt to add.

Once everything is sitting in its vinegar bath, it's time to add the salt. While vinegar by itself is a mild acid, the salt increases the acidity in the solution and lets it break down the rust even faster.

1/2 oz of salt per cup (8 fl oz) of vinegar

Let it sit for at least 12 hours, but the longer you leave it in there, the more effect it will have. Usually one to three days will have the rust falling off.

I let these tools soak for 3 days.

Step 2: Neutralize the Acid

I mixed a few heaping spoonfuls of baking powder into a large glass of water, enough to cover the tools.

Let the tools soak in a bath of water and baking soda for 10 minutes to neutralize the acid.

Rinse the tools to remove any baking soda residue.

It is not uncommon for there to be some rust left on the tools, a quick scrub with some scotch brite or steel wool will get those last pesky flecks of rust off your tools.

Step 3: Dry and Condition the Tools

I put the oven on warm (170 F) and spread the tools out on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet to maximize drying.

after about 10 minutes the tools were mostly dry.

I quickly applied WD-40 to all of the tools. Using a rag to make sure oil got into all the nooks and crannies. Making sure to work oil into the moving parts like the pliers joints and the collar of the quick release bit.

**edited 5/31/2016** As many of the commenters have pointed out, WD-40 is great at getting rid of water but a separate oil should be applied to tools to properly protect them.

When this project started, the quick release bit was rusted in place and was useless. Now the collar moves back and forth easily and hold bits securely.

The taps are not pictured here because there was still some rust on them (not really shocking) so I set them up for another soak and I plan on going over them with a stiff wire brush to get any remaining rust out of the grooves. Want to see how they came out? check out the next step.

Step 4: Those Hard to Reach Places

The taps were in really bad shape so I put them back into the vinegar salt solution for another soak. After two day the solution was the color of a weak tea.

I scrubbed each tap with a stiff wire brush to loosen any remaining rust.

I rinsed the taps in the vinegar/salt solution before transferring them to the water/baking soda solution to neutralize the acid.

Once the taps were dried I applied a liberal coating of WD-40.

As you can see from the final picture the taps have some pitting as a result of the rust but the threads are intact.

When I get a chance I will test them on some scrap material with a hand driver (because of the condition these were in, I will not be using these in a powered device like my cordless drill or a drill press until I have tested them)

Thank you for your great idea I have been thinking about what I can do with my late husband tools they have been in the shed for some years so now thanks to you I can clean them up and recycle at my local boot sale thank you for your share
<p>WD 40 doesn't work for very long. I used Johnson paste wax and then spread it out to get all of the nooks and crannies with a soft brush. I use an old nail brush for flat surfaces and toothbrush for things like pliers and garden shears and the brushes still have wax in them so I can just hit a tool with the brush and stick it in the toolbox. My half used tin of 20 year old paste wax will probably last the rest of my life. Even with this weather, which is so wet that things I didn't even think COULD rust or tarnish are looking pretty rough. Never thought I'd look back on the drought that preceded all of this wetness with such fondness...</p>
<p>I have not heard of Johnson's paste wax .. I will have to track some down and give it a try .. thanks</p>
<p>have anybody tried Molasses 9 parts water 1 part molasses cleans rust of steel in about 1 week . the Molasses can then be used on the garden as plants love the nutrients in Molasses</p>
<p>I have It takes a while but does a great Job of removing rust. I is used extensively by those restoring old Automobiles It is also environmentally friendly I just through it on my garden compost pile.</p>
Buffed a lot of hardwood floors scooting around on a rag or old towel on my butt! Johnson's wax is good stuff. Wouldn't have thought of it for tools though!
I've used Johnsons paste wax on my tools for the past 20 yrs. if your shop is damp, it's excellent to put a coat on your table saw, band saw, drill press, etc. Rust won't build up on them during the damp months, and your wood will glide along with ease. It's a trick I learned from my father back in the 70s. Still works like a charm and no oily residue.
<p>I don't even know it they still make Johnson's Paste Wax. The can I have is about 20 years old. It's dried up some, and cracked, but it still does the job. You could probably get by with some kind of leather conditioner or maybe even &quot;Otter Wax&quot; - they use that to wax canvas...</p>
<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Fine-Wood-Paste-00203/dp/B0000DIWIM" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Fine-Wood-Paste-002...</a></p>
<p>Ha! Good to know it's still around - exact same can, too!</p>
<p>Johnson's Paste wax has about as many uses as the U.S. Government has excuses.</p><p>yes it is hard to find(in Indiana anyway), but there are thousands of uses for it besides waxing your car/truck/etc. excellent stuff!</p>
<p>It definitely has 1001 uses - and probably more...</p>
<p>I think the problem there is the conception that WD-40 is a lubricant. It is definitely not a lubricant. I appears at first to be one but will only work for a short time. Its original purpose was to displace moisture -, principally in the distributors of army jeeps in WWII. A good spray lube is one called Break Free which is a CLP. I like to use motor oil thinned with diesel fuel of transmission fluid. I put a bit in a shallow pan and soak the tools in it. Then pour the leftover into a container for future use.</p>
<p>WD-40 was a water dispersant (WD), yes, but did not make it's debut on store shelves until 1958. The company started in 1953. It was their 40th attempt at the formula. </p>
<p>NOT a lubricant - I vaguely recall reading something about that...which explains why the door lock and hinges keep getting all cranky...thanks!</p>
<p>actually, using wd40 on door hinges is even worse, than just leaving them, as it washes out all grease that may have been in there before. </p>
<p>try Vaseline on hinges no mess lasts a long time</p>
<p>thanks for the information. I did not know that about it being designed for the army.</p>
<p>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WD-40 </p>
<p>correct WD 40 is a solvent not a lubricant and is useful for more things than you could imagine but definitely not as a lube</p>
<p>thanks for the info .. I will edit accordingly</p>
<p>Unfortunately, you're mistaken about water displacement in jeeps in WW II. It was developed and 1st used on Atlas Rockets in 1953. I just saw a TV show on it a few days ago.</p>
<p>Paste wax right after the parts come out of the oven :) </p>
<p>Just keep the brushes in the toolbox and pass them over whatever you've used before you put it away. That's what I'm doing. Just be careful whenever you're working on something you're going to paint (or dye)...I wrap a scrub brush with a clean shop towel and use that to remove wax if necessary. It's not going to take off all of the wax, but I've had no problem with transfer, so far. Seems to work fine.</p><p>I also have a tool tray in the freezer. That's where I keep my carbon steel cutting stuff - i.e. my good, non-ceramic scissors and rotary cutters.</p>
<p>GenerallyOdd,</p><p>&quot;pass them over whatever you've used before you put it away.&quot;</p><p>What? I don't understand.</p>
<p>why do you keep them in the freezer?</p>
<p>Because it's dry in the freezer and I don't use them very often and I don't want lube or wax on them. They're in a linen bag, too, otherwise the minute you take them out, they're covered in condensation. It rained again today...and it's not been hot enough to run the A/C at the average temp but I cranked it back and am running it anyway. It's cold, but it's a whole lot more comfortable than it was.</p>
<p>ok. interesting idea. never heard of storing tools in the freezer before. </p>
<p>That would make it harder for my son to find them before he leaves them out in the driveway.</p>
I deliver furniture and i alway get the little moisture packets from wood furnishings.... I always snag a few for the toolbox, gym bag, ammo box, gun cases.... I use them everywhere
<p>here is the URL for an IBLE i did for making silica satchels .. in case you ever need to dry larger areas </p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Inexpensive-Dessicant/">https://www.instructables.com/id/Inexpensive-Dessic...</a></p>
<p>great idea</p>
<p>Droughts are not a good thing.</p>
<p>I know...dang it. Plus, the drought cracked the ground around the foundation so all of this rain was just following the cracks in the ground straight TO the foundation and into the basement. Fortunately, there's been so MUCH rain that it took very little time for those cracks to swell shut...at least the rivers in the basement have been dammed up....</p>
agreed
<p>I had persistent rust/tarnish coming back on this one cresent wrench, I think it was the first model as it was old (just kidding from the 60's) I tried wax, but use w/gloves and wipping off after being used in wet conditions I think took it off, I had to degrease/dewax it well and then spray with a clear spraypaint, except where the jaws are, which wears off first use, but also wears off the rust, works great, break the adjuster screew loose before paint dries. I've tried it on others and switced to matte clear but they both work the same. On a similar note, a buddy purchased a powder coating kit from HF. That is the way to go! again,moving sections need to be broken free and he would brush the powder away from inside of socket before cooking, so as to not change the size.</p>
<p>you gotta love harbor freight .. all the tools you never knew you needed :)</p>
<p>lol yep... disposable tools. when they wear out or break or rust or just dissapear, you just go and buy some more. lol </p>
<p>True, for some of their tools. But I've used their F clamps for many years without problems. Same for the mutli-tasking saw kit.</p>
<p>while Zacker is generally correct in his assessment of the tool quality you get at harbor freight, every once in a while you will find a gem (like your clamp) that is a quality tool for a great price. Even a blind squirrel will find a nut every now and then :)</p>
<p>How about a more expensive way but nicer and they won't rust for a long while unless you really beat them up... Duracoat! lol the last time I was spraying a Glock slide I had some left in the spray gun so instead of wasting it I sprayed a pair of pliers that the rubber coating on the handles came off of... they are holding up great. I mean, I dont use them everyday but its been two seasons now and no chips or rust yet! </p>
<p>over $40 for a 4 oz container .. yeah ... way more expensive. If you have leftovers like you did .. it is a great idea .. waste not, want not. I don't know if I would opt for duracoating my tools if I didn't already have it on hand.</p>
<p>on crescent wrenches, where the adjustable screw is, there is a screw that holds that piece in. remove that screw, &amp; the adjustable part comes out easily, &amp; the jaw also removes easily.</p><p>Spray like you said, or fully coat with any lubricating oil, let the spray paint dry or wipe off the excess oil, put it all back together, &amp; you're ready to go!</p><p>Taking a crescent wrench apart is very easy once you know how. :-)</p>
<p>My cans don't last that long. A person could write an instructable about the uses of paste wax; I coat my table and band saw tables with it, on my wood planes and other tools, use to lube wooden wheels and other moving parts on toys, as a final finish over lacquer, etc. </p>
<p>I think the problem there is the conception that WD-40 is a lubricant. It is definitely not a lubricant. I appears at first to be one but will only work for a short time. Its original purpose was to displace moisture -, principally in the distributors of army jeeps in WWII. A good spray lube is one called Break Free which is a CLP. I like to use motor oil thinned with diesel fuel of transmission fluid. I put a bit in a shallow pan and soak the tools in it. Then pour the leftover into a container for future use.</p>
<p>This method works....the trick is to let it 'set' for days even weeks....I've done it and let it sit for two weeks and they came out looking like new again...an I'm talking tools that had been rusted for decades...an remember to apply a small coat of oil when done with all the steps..an oh yeah don't leave 'em 'out' any more!</p>
<p>the solution doesn't corrode the metal after a couple days in it? I got some rusty stamping tools I would like to try but don't want thr chrome that is left and the stamp impression to be damaged. Thanks</p>
<p>Thank for the cheap and simple idea...</p>
<p>I would appreciate some expert advice as to how to remove some rust of metal.</p><p>I have a German Mauser rifle made in 1918 for the Brazilian Army. It was new and, when found, was packed in the standard grease. When I obtained it, there was not any rust except for a small amount of corrosion on the bayonet. I packed the weapon in a blanket and stored it in my garage. At some point in time, water got into garage and the sheets absorbed some water. Resulting condensation has caused the rifle butt plate to start rusting.</p><p>How can I clean and stop the rust without destroying or damaging the butt plate?</p>
<p>I would appreciate some expert advice as to how to remove some rust of metal.</p><p>I have a German mauser rifle made in 1918 for the Brazilian Army. It was new and, when found, was packed in the standard grease. When I obtained it, there was no rust except for a small amount of corrosion on the bayonet. I packed the weapon in a blanket and stored it in my garage. At some point in time, water got into garage and the sheets absoebed some water. Resulting condensation has caused the rifle butt plate to start rusting.</p><p>How can I clean and stop the rust without destroying or damaging the butt plate?</p>

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Bio: Jack-of-all trades, master of some. I would probably be much more modest if it wasn't for these delusions of granduer that I suffer from.
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