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Removing rust from saw blades and drill bits? Answered

I have a couple dozen drill bits and circular saw bits that have light to moderate surface rust but are in otherwise very good condition.  Is there something I can use on them to remove the rust without having to sand, scrub, or file each tooth of each blade indivigualy?  Some product that I can wipe on, spray on, or let them soak overnight that will remove the rust without dulling the blades?


Soak rusty steel in a solution of molasses and water. 1 part molasses to 10 parts water. Soak for a couple of days or more if required (I've soaked things for two weeks or more). The rust turns to a grey sludge which can be rinsed off with water, leaving the good steel untouched. Then spray with some kind of oil product to prevent further rust.

Yeah, I thought it was a joke when I first read it, but when I tried it I was amazed. I used this method on an old horse shoe and some old rabbit traps that I found in the bush (I don't use the traps, they are purely for decorative purposes,) and they still look like new after many years hanging in the shed.

 It is completely safe to use, so no worries about getting it on skin, in eyes or inhaling fumes. Safe around the kids too. 

A friend took a badly rusted revolver and soaked it in real CokaCola
for two months exchanging the liquid three times and it didn't work.

I was pulling your chain :-)   IT WORKED VERY WELL ! !
eventually it was test fired.

I have exactly the same experience with drill-bits. My husband told me to put them i real CokaCola. So I did, and the result after 24 hours was even more rust. So stay away from CokaCoka as a rust remover !

A better way may be to reduce the rust, so you'll have the metal back (although it won't be as resistent as the original metal) - especially on the moderate rusted ones. Find out on youtube or here how it's done - you'll need a battery charger, primarily, and some household items.

In Canada (and maybe other places) there is a product called C.L.R. (Calcium, Lime, Rust) that could be used to remove the rust you are talking about I believe. I've also heard of soaking things in diesel fuel to help break up and loosen rust.

I have used CLR. Yes the stuff works, but honestly save your money. Plain white vinegar does just as good a job at removing rust and mineral deposits.


5 years ago

Thanks for all the advice. Most of the ideas involved some type of mild acid. I went with soaking them in vingar for a day or two, then washing with soap and water. Of course it was then critical to blot most of the water off with a towel and then leave them to dry on plastic racks with a fan blowing over them. So now I have clean bits and blades. :)

For the ideas of how to keep them that way I still have a problem. I don't have the luxury of a climate controlled shop. My tools are stored in a garage where the tempurature can fluxuate by as much as 50 degrees in a 12 hour period. :( A couple of you suggested coating them with oil and I know that will work, but then I have the problem that when I use them they can leave oil on the wood. When that happens getting a uniform finish becomes impossible.
Paint won't stick on the oil spots and stains won't penatrate them.

Soaking them in WD-40 will help to both break up existing rust and protect them from rusting further.


5 years ago

If it is a small amount of surface rust then it should be no problem. Just using the blades will clean it off from the friction with the wood.
To keep it from getting worse you can coat them with oil. Even regular motor oil will work to keep the moisture in the air from causing rust. You can wipe it on with a rag. For the drill bits you could even leave them sit in oil. A little messy when you go to use them but they will stay rust free.
To get the rust off a flat surface believe it or not you can use crumpled up aluminum foil with water and it rubs it off. Then coat it with oil after it is cleaned.
If your saw blades are carbide tipped the carbide does not rust as its not iron so the teeth will not be a problem.