Introduction: How to De-rust a Tool

Picture of How to De-rust a Tool

If you have rusty tools it is pain to use them and they just look unprofessional follow the steps and you will have a shiny and beautiful tool.

Step 1: Initial Sanding

Picture of Initial Sanding

Start by rubbing off the top layer of rust with a dry sponge. After you are done with this step you will have rust dust everwhere vacuum that up.

Step 2: Cleaning

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Wipe clean the rust dust with a towel

Step 3: De-Rusting

Picture of De-Rusting

Now spray some wd-40 or engine degreaser to loosen up the rust then rub away with a toothbrush. The tool should like the last picture when you are done with this step.

Step 4: Sandpaper

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Now start sanding to remove the last layer also use the dry sponge again. Then you are close to finishing.

Step 5: Cleaning and Finish

Picture of Cleaning and Finish

Brush down the tool with soapy water. Wipe clean now you done but an extra step could be taken to make it look really good, spray paint the tool with a durable paint.


Marie477 (author)2017-10-09

I have some rusty water from Old tools, where can I legally & safely pour it out so animals won't get into it.

JörgenBörg (author)2016-12-25


svigness (author)2016-08-22

cool idea

DavidP255 (author)2016-03-26

Coke takes rust off of car bumpers can't a person just soak it in a tub of cola'

KROKKENOSTER (author)2016-03-20

Here in South Africa we have a paint base liquid called "Rust Binder"you just paint this liquid and let it dry. When dry this layer formed is your primer and you just paint your enamel paint over the erea

KROKKENOSTER (author)2016-03-20

Here in South Africa we have a paint base liquid called "Rust Binder"you just paint this liquid and let it dry. When dry this layer formed is your primer and you just paint your enamel paint over the erea

LangleyC (author)2016-03-11

??????? I'm confused. What else would you do to de-rust something? I don't get it. I don't see this as very helpful

bknapp3 (author)2016-03-07

I work for a farm equipment manufacturer, and we use something called Naval Jelly. We have tried many things over the years working here, and i have never seen anything work as well and with the least amount of effort as this stuff does.

gungajin (author)2016-03-07

Howdy, quite an elaborate way of de-rusting. Sure, it works - but there's a much simpler way of doing this: phosphoric acid. It will reverse the oxydation completely. It's cheap and harmless. Just soak the bit over night and the rust is gone. After the treatment, iron will get a dull, grey surface but that's easy to shine up.

wrsexton (author)2016-02-09

WD40 (water dispersant #40) isn't a lube or a penetrant. It's mostly fish oil, but it works for a lot of things in a pinch!

I'm proud you're in middle school and interested in tools!!!

JohnC430 (author)wrsexton2016-03-06

"fish oil" that does not smell of fish. in fact it smells of kerosene

wrsexton (author)JohnC4302016-03-06

Yep. Another one of the reasons why it isn't effective as a lubricant.

jgeewa (author)wrsexton2016-02-14

Fish oil? Are you kidding?

wrsexton (author)jgeewa2016-02-15

Nope. Some other stuff too, but it's a water dispersant, NOT a lubricant. I wouldn't recommend drinking it. A tour of their website can be quite enlightening.

woolfie (author)wrsexton2016-02-16

Quite enlightening indeed, like the fact that there's no fish oil in WD40 ( :-)

wrsexton (author)woolfie2016-03-03

A good friend is a WD40 company rep. He says they love that people use it for everything but it's intended use, which is to disperse water. That's why it deters rust, and the logic for using it in this instructable.

However, he also told me they found other marine animal oils that were cheaper, so that's why they now say it contains no fish oil. Splitting hairs, I say. It's not all marine oils though, otherwise it wouldn't be a formula they determined after 40 tries.

They are great marketers, and have developed other products that are specific lubes and penetrants. These are branded WD40 but are not the original formula. All of you who zeroed in on fish oil, go read the rest of their website. Then read their competitors' websites. I thought my work here to get people to actually research their claims was done, evidently not.

This is NOT to say I don't like WD40. I use it a lot, 'cause I frequently get it free, but I use other things for lubes and penetrants. PB Blaster is an excellent penetrant, far better than WD40.

TimD76 (author)wrsexton2016-03-04

Kano Lab's Kroil is the best penetrating oil I have found to date. Puts PB to shame.

wrsexton (author)TimD762016-03-06

I've heard of that, I'll have to try it.

wrsexton (author)woolfie2016-02-16

So I actually persuaded someone to read up on something! My work here is done.

dnicks (author)wrsexton2016-03-03

Haha this was a great little thread

skylane (author)jgeewa2016-03-03

Worry not, the fish oil is a total myth.

skylane (author)wrsexton2016-03-03

NO fish oil... a tour of their website will enlighten you.

It is indeed a penetrate and a lubricant. Water Displacement formula 40

has a lot of side benifets.

wrsexton (author)skylane2016-03-03

See reply above.

Nikiniku (author)2016-03-03

I'm amazed that there are still so many different opinions. There must be a best way. Some ways have to be better than others. Some ways just don't work. Well, this batch of opinions has finally driven me to do a de-rusting project that I have been putting off for years. In fact, I'm going to make it a bigger project than really needs to be done. I'm going to find out what works and what doesn't work. I have many tools and, well, many metal things that need de-rusting. However, now, being faced with so many conflicting opinions, I've decided to find out for myself. Coke (citric, carbonic, and phosphoric acids), vinegar (acetic acid), hydrocloric (Muriatic) acid, phosphoric acid, ascorbic acid (first time i've ever heard anyone mention that), electrolysis with different electrolytes, grinding, sanding, wire brushing, ENOUGH!

Except for grinding, sanding and similar labor intensive methods, and anything that turns the metal black, I'm going to try everything, I probably have enough rusty bolts, drills, etc to to the job; if not, I can certainly buy enough screws, bolts, wire, or metal sheets to form even more accurate conclusions. Thanks for incentivizing me enough to finally do the job that I've only been thinking about.

JohnC430 (author)Nikiniku2016-03-06

So what worked best? most of the acids will work but u have to wash and then coat the part with a light spray od wd40 to prevent them getting corroded again.

litlcat (author)Nikiniku2016-03-03

Can't wait to read the results!

Nikiniku (author)litlcat2016-03-04

I forgot to mention Oxalic acid or MOLASSES!! (there's no end to them). I think I've also seen some alkaline chemicals mentioned. This would require an institution to do the job right, but I'll do what I can. Don't expect too much. I have most of the chemicals, but this is a BIG project, and I may just concentrate on the main suspects. Think about it, to do it right, you have to consider time, concentration, temperature, etc. Quite a job.

nutgone (author)2016-03-03

I use a molasses dip tank. Mix molasses with water (around 1 part molasses to 9 parts water). It takes time, anything from 3 days to 2 weeks or more, but I find it's the best, & least harmful way to get rid of rust, especially on vintage or delicate parts.

I restore old vintage "stuff" & have tried many different ways, I didn't like electrolytic methods, & many parts are too delicate to use mechanical methods. I find the molasses dip great, so long as you're not in a hurry.

enginepaul (author)nutgone2016-03-05

This is a great method. I used this to remove rust and corrosion from some tools and gauges that were improperly stored and was surprised that the gauges were still accurate with no change in dimension at all even though they were now a dull finish rather that the original polished.

klone (author)2016-03-05

If you use your tools thay wont go rusty lol

static (author)2016-03-04

Generally I'm satisfied with use a wire brush mounted on mt bench grinder. Gets the loose rust off and burnishes the underlying metal.. I think the patina left gives the tool some character. After clean an occasional spritz of WD40 does seem the keep rust at bay. The rust conversion products do work well. I found the resulting surface resist further rusting. Even when subject to the brine that often associate with petroleum production

ronald.ferreira.39 (author)2016-03-04

use wd40 and an electric dremal with a yello soft brush wont rip out the metal or iron from the hammer

ClaudeA1 (author)2016-03-04

Thanks, but the problem I have is corrosion from all my tools being soaked with salt water from Hurricane Sandy. Pitted and corroded. Any suggestions?

Also, it seems many on this site have forgotten how to use punctuation. Is this just a sign of the times, with the Twitterization of our language? Maybe I am just too old. Hey get off of my lawn....

osterac (author)ClaudeA12016-03-04

When I have to clean up something that is corroded from a leaky battery, I use CLR. Might work on what you have. CLR is a cleaning product, CLR stands for Calcium Lime Rust. When it comes into contact with corrosion, it foams up and dissolves the corrosion.

bobsan2360. (author)2016-03-04

It's much easier to use coke a cola it eats rust and saves on all the muscle work. Cheers! Things get clean with coke!

bobsan2360. (author)2016-03-04

It's much easier to use coke a cola it eats rust and saves on all the muscle work. Cheers! Things get clean with coke!

JuliaD21 (author)2016-03-04

It works! I have revived a hammer in exactly this condition. Found a year after falling behind the workbench that was too heavy to move but finally got help. It was rusty with the label still on and is now looking great.

I MP (author)2016-03-03

Too many steps, several of which are unnecessary. Use cosmetic grade citric acid dissolved in water ( which I have suspicion Evapo-Rust is) and soak it. Citric acid is a non caustic, biodegradable vegetable based product. After soaking brush the item with a firm bristle nylon brush. Repeat as necessary. To prevent further rust use olive oil which was the "mystery oil" of the past before petroleum products.

mlaiuppa. (author)I MP2016-03-03

I'd recommend flax seed oil.

Olive oil will turn rancid and will remain sticky.

Flax seed oil is a drying oil. It's what's used to season cast iron.

I MP (author)mlaiuppa.2016-03-03

I have never had olive oil turn rancid in this application nor get sticky. Gunsmiths in the black powder muzzle loading days used ti as a lubricant. I own over 20 pieces of cast iron cookware which I use and season it with any food grade vegetable oil. When you season cast iron it becomes a part of the surface so no specific oil is required.

TimD76 (author)I MP2016-03-04

I used any food grade oil for many years, until I tried flax seed oil. It works the best in my pans and is durable.

Irwini (author)2016-03-04

You can also use a steel brush - its better as sandpaper in this case.

Xenon Productions (author)2016-02-19

I recommend using phosphoric acid, check out my instructable on it

DonnH1 (author)Xenon Productions2016-03-03

Be really careful about phosphoric acid. There used to be a car wash near where I live and it had some young guys working in the team. They used phosphoric acid to clean the tires and mag wheels. One or two of the boys discovered that the phosphoric acid was being absorbed by their body right through the skin and they were having bone density problems. Use protective gloves. If there is any misting of the cleaner then wear breathing protection too. You only have one body, no spares.

Xenon Productions (author)DonnH12016-03-03

I got some on my hand and it left a pretty nasty burn, havent had a bone density problem considering i drink a lot of milk.

bonmom (author)Xenon Productions2016-03-03

Every body does NOT need milk; marketing myth. Bone density has to do with calcium, impact exercise, and genetics. Body only absorbs 30% of calcium in milk, so while it is a food high in calcium it is a poor calcium source. Has phosphorus in it which can actually leach calcium from your bones. More calcium available foods are dark greens, beans, nuts, and others. Just FYI.

maxhuey (author)2016-03-03

I made a simply blasting gun with plastic tubing, then blast hammer with baking soda. came out like just been bought from the store.

nkz75 (author)2016-02-12

Try to use coke for a couple of days.

Dont wet the wood or else it may disapear!!:D

Godd intrct. Thanks!

skylane (author)nkz752016-03-03

What's wrong with Pepsi, RC Cola or any other acidic soda pop?

rfox4 (author)skylane2016-03-03

coke has a slightly higher acidity

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