How To Clean Rust Off Old Hand Tools? [Using Ultrasonic Cleaner]

Usage of metal tools is common at homes as well as in industries. Being made of metals like iron and alloys, these tools get rusted quite often – when exposed to humid air or kept idle for long.

Rusty hand tools
Rusty hand tools

Keeping your prized metal tools and equipment safely in a dry condition is most important, especially at times when you do not want to use them for a time being,

In most of the cases, rust deposit is a sign of wear and tear. It can develop on any metal object like your garden tools, outdoor iron furniture, car parts, etc.

Even when you have stored them safely at a place with no moisture or condensation, there are still some chances that these tools and equipment may get corroded.

And if left unnoticed for long, simple to clean rust can get complex – destroying your tools forever.

For professionals and DIYers at home, rusted metal tools are hard to use and can also pose the risk of getting an infection. These can also cause injury to your body parts when used without cleaning.

Therefore it is essential that you take proper action to get rid of rust, as soon as you find it developing on your tools.

Below we provide some detailed instructions, guidelines, and products that help keep your iron tools safe from rust. Let’s check them out…

How to Clean Old Rusty Tools (5 Easy Tips)

How to clean rusted tools is always a matter of concern for people who use their tools rarely. If you are one among them, here we will discuss some of the most effective methods to rust-off old tools easily.

Hopefully, these can help you clean your rusty tools and objects easily:

1- Using Sand Paper

Sandpapers which are used for scrapping are quite popular among carpenters and mechanics who use the metal made hand tools regularly.

Although it may work in certain cases, experts suggest that scrapping the rust with sand paper is not a good idea because it may damage the surface of the rusty hand tools very easily.

Especially when your expensive metal tools have a thick coating of rust residing on them, scrapping it off using sandpaper can leave them damaged permanently. The only option you then have is to invest in new tools again.

2- Using Scotch Brite

For many, the scrub pad that they have been using in the kitchen is one of the best ways to keep their tools safe.

You can soak your metalworking tools in a diluted cleaning liquid (like a Dawn dish wash soap) and then try scrubbing the tools using a Scotch Brite.

The chances are high that you can easily remove and clean the rust using this method. Just be ensured that you do not scrub the tools too hard as it may get damaged forever.

3- Using Salt and Vinegar

Often it has been seen that carpenters and other hand tool users use the solution of salt and vinegar for cleaning the rust off metal tools.

This is again one of the best ways to use for gardeners who want to clean their rusty garden tools using a DIY natural homemade method.

Many people also use and recommend rust cleaning agents like baking soda, ketchup, coke, lemon, etc to get the job done. We recommend that you use them at your own risk as these are not meant for getting the best desirable results.

4- Using Rust Removing Liquids

Rust removing liquids and cleaning sprays are now available in the market (like wd40) to help you clean the rusted tools very easily.

If the rust is not too old and is just starting off, you can surely try these rust removal sprays for effective removal/cleaning.

But if the rust is old and stubborn then there are cleaners and chemical liquids like rust lime calcium cleaner that can help.

You can choose from various other different variants depending on the complexity of your rusted tools. Just make sure that you follow the instructions provided on the package of liquid so that it does not cause any further damage to your metal tools.

5- Using Ultrasonic Cleaner for Tools

If you have already tried the above methods and are still disappointed then ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning the rust from metal tools can be your best resort.

In fact, this is one of the best technological inventions and a modern way to clean your rusted objects within no time.

These automatic cleaning machines help in getting the dirt, rust, and grime off your antic tools in a very effective and affordable manner.

According to reviews people who had already tried it for cleaning their old iron tools are more than happy with the outcome they achieved without paying any hefty charges.


How Does An Ultrasonic Tool Cleaner Work?

If you are a bit skeptical about whether or not ultrasonic sound waves help in cleaning, let me tell you that this is one of the best modern ways by which you can efficiently clean items (such as rusted tools) at homes and industries.

Ultrasonic tool cleaners, which use the technology of sound waves to clean your tools are quite effective in this regard.

Ultrasonic cleaner machines like Haier, Lyman and many more can work wonders for cleaning your rusty tools without actually damaging them.

Ultrasonic waves create high pressure in the device wherein your tools are being immersed in liquid or cleaning solvent. With the cavitation effect and pressure caused due to the varied frequency, the dirt and rust particles breaks-up making your tools clean.

As such there are many professional companies that can help clean your antique tools professionally using an ultrasonic tool cleaner. However, they need you to pay a heavy amount for the cleaning task.

If you do not want to invest a huge amount of money for cleaning your tools, it is best to invest once in a machine that is now easily available online.

In fact, for those who are worried about their woodworking tools getting old with time, should definitely try ultrasonic cleaning method for keeping them in good condition for another 10-15 years.

Believe me, this can prove to be the best investment for you!


What Tools Can You Clean In Sonic-Cleaner?

Working or construction tools are majorly divided into two types. These are hand tools and power tools.

Where hand tools (like a hammer, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, etc) are most common in households; woodworking power tools that are electrically operated (like electric drills, saws, sanders, etc) are commonly used in industries by professionals.

When it comes to cleaning your tools thoroughly in a sonic device, simple hand tools are good to go.

However, since power tools include mechanical and electrical parts, that can get damaged while getting in contact with the water-based ultrasonic solution, you are advised not to put your power tools directly in an ultrasonic cleaning machine.

If required you can disassemble and place a few parts of your powers tools (and even the parts of profile cutter machine and CNC machine) that are heavily contaminated or rusted to clean them up thoroughly.

Cutting pine, MDF and other wood materials can cause a buildup of resin on your woodworking tools. And cleaning this build-up resin from your woodworking tools can be a time-consuming process.

But with an ultrasonic tool cleaning device, you can reduce it to just a few minutes.

Does ultrasonic work to clean rust?

Yes, Ultrasonic cleaners make use of high frequency sound waves to remove the contaminants such as rust, paint, grease and oil from metal surfaces. You can either use a portable machine for home use or a large sized commercial based unit for industrial use.

Can I spray WD 40 to remove rust on tools?

Yes, spray WD-40 directly onto the rusted metal parts. The active ingredients found in WD-40 will not only remove the unwanted gunk and grime, but also helps in reducing the friction and future possibilities of metal getting rust and corrosion.

Which WD 40 solution is a best rust remover?

WD-40® Specialist Rust Remover Soak (HERE on Amazon) is one of the best to dissolve the rust from metal. It will help in restoring the surfaces without getting the metal scraped, chipped or scrubbed. You just need to soak the metal in this non-toxic and biodegradable rust remover for 1-3 hours.

How To Restore Old Rusty Tools with WD-40?

If you are planning to go about cleaning your rusty tools with WD-40, this section is for you.

Coming up, we will go over just how to use this product to clean both hand tools and power tools so that you can get everything in your garage looking as it should.

Remember that the more rusted a tool or product is, the harder it will be to clean, and the more important it is that you clean regularly.

Significant rust and other weather damage can blunt tools and cause them to be ineffective.

For this reason, you’ll want to make sure that you are following these steps to keep your tools clean regularly, as this is the only way to make sure that they stand up to the test of time.

Instructions for Cleaning Hand Tools with WD-40

Let’s start with hand tools. As these are small, they are generally easier to clean.

By following these steps, you can clean any small hand tool that’s beginning to rust, such as hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches.

Cleaning these hand tools with WD-40 is actually surprisingly easy.

To do this, follow the simple steps below:

1. Apply WD-40 Specialist Degreaser

To start, apply a coat of WD-40 specialist degreaser to remove the grease from the oily, gunky tools.

To do so, you simply need to spray the product onto the tools and let them sit for five minutes.

This will allow the product to start working away at the grease that is coating the tools.

At the end of five minutes, wipe the lubricant and the grease off with a cloth (make sure it’s lint-free for best results) and apply standard WD-40.

2. Clean and Rinse

Then, taking a piece of steel wool, rub them clean and rinse them in cold water. At this moment, your tool should be free of grease but not of rust.

3. Soak in Vinegar

For the next step, drop them in a bucket of vinegar and let them sit overnight. When you return in the morning, you’ll find that most of the rust has gone away.

Rescrub them with a new piece of steel wool and a toothbrush if necessary to remove any lasting impurities.

4. Drop-in Baking Soda Solution

Next, drop them in a bucket full of two-thirds baking soda and one-third water. Soaking them for five minutes in this solution will restore natural coloration.

5. Rinse with Cold Water

As the final step, rinse with cold water and dry them off with paper towels before blow-drying them fully dry.

Keep in mind that using WD-40 to clean your tools can prevent them from rusting.

This means that using the product regularly from the beginning will increase the lifespan of your tools and prevent the possibility of rusting.

Instructions for Cleaning Power Tools with WD-40

As you might imagine, cleaning rust off your power tools is a bit more complicated than cleaning them from your hand tools.

Still, you can count on WD-40 to get the job done.

Below, we’ll detail just what you need to do to get that stubborn rust off your tools so you can put them back in action.

1. Take Your Tools Apart

To do a thorough job, you’ll need to take your tools apart so that you can reach every crevice.

Before doing this, blow them with compressed air to make sure you get rid of any dust and another easy-to-remove residue.

As you do this (and all throughout the process) be sure to wear a pair of heavy-duty gloves that will keep your hands safe from any sharp edges. Once done, take the tool apart and get ready for the next step.

2. Spray WD-40 Specialist Degreaser

When your tool is taken apart, spray each part with WD-40 and scrub with a fresh piece of steel wool and a toothbrush for hard-to-reach places. This will help remove the grease.

3. Place in Vinegar

As you would your hand tools, place all non-wired pieces into a bucket of vinegar. This will help remove the rust that has oxidized to the surface of your tools.

Once you are done, scrub them again with the steel wool and toothbrush before dropping them in your water and baking soda solution and eventually drying them the same way as above.

4. Clean the Rest of the Tool

Using a gallon of hot water and your recommended cleaner, dampen a rag and use it to clean the wires of your power tool.

You want to make sure that you aren’t getting the rag wet, as you’ll be working with the electric wiring.

Use the rag to further clean the remainder of the tool (outside of the motor casing), then use a towel to completely dry all the cleaned parts.

Before putting your tool back together, be sure that there are no open wires, as this can lead to inside moisture that can spark when you plug the tool up later. When you are confident that it’s a job well done, you can put the tool back together.

Following these steps will help you return your power tool to its former glory. With this in mind, you can start today to get your power tools looking like they did when you bought them!


How To Prevent Rust On Metal Tools Naturally?

Old metal tools that are passed on to you by your father and grandfather are one of your prized possessions.

But the quality and efficacy of the tools which were mind-blowing then, may not be the same due to its corrosion and long term usage.

The fact is, today you don’t get such high-quality parts and tools in the market. But, keeping them in a good healthy condition is a task that you can accomplish for sure. All you need is a bit of care & maintenance with some love and affection!

Especially when your tools are made up corrosive metals (like iron, stainless steel, copper, bronze, aluminum, and other alloys) you should make sure that you give it a look at least once in a month to ensure that moisture has not made its way into the pack in which you have stored your tools.

How to Keep Tools from Rusting? (Tips to Follow)

To prevent your tools from getting rust, do not forget to clean them up immediately after the use. Light regular cleaning is enough to save them from getting damaged and to function properly whenever you need them next.

If someone has borrowed the tools from you, get it back once the work is done and follow the maintenance steps to keep them rust-free.

Here are a few handy tips on how to keep your hand tools away from oxidation:

  • Keeping the tool dry while storing them would be one of the basic things that you can do for the safety of your iron tools. For this, you simply need to wipe them clean with a soft cotton cloth after every use. This will eliminate the chances of corroding due to moisture left behind if any.
  • After wiping them clean, store the tools in a dry place. Most of the people do not think this is important, but it actually is. The place where you store your metal tools should be completely dry and safe. There should be no way to get condensation to find its way.
  • If possible you should pack them safely in plastic bags with silica pouches. With silica gel packets you can rest ensured that there is no moisture to corrode your tools – these desiccant packs automatically absorbs the moisture in the air to keep things dry.

Rusted metals should be cleaned right away to make sure that they are not get corroded further. If you have followed the above steps, then you can be sure that your construction tools will last long without any tension.

However, if your tools are showing the first signs of corrosion, it is high time to get them cleaned properly.

Follow the steps above and use an ultrasonic tool cleaner to make sure that your precious tools are safely stored.

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