The rusted tools don’t run so well, as if they do so when they are rust-free. Throwing out your rusted tools is the only option you are thinking about? Wait; don’t toss your rusted tools. You can restore them and prevent them from further corrosion. There are many options to remove rust from metal and tools – from the industrial rust-removal chemicals to the simple home remedies. The only prerequisite is some elbow grease and patience. After going through the methods to remove rust, you would like to buy rusted tools from an auction and restore their shine with little effort.
What the rusting is? The rusting is a coating that forms on the surface of the tools because of the reaction of iron with oxygen especially when they are exposed to the moist environment. Usually, the ingredients of rust are water, iron, and oxygen. The metal is oxidized by the oxygen in the presence of water to form the iron oxide which is usually known as rust.
How to Remove Rust from Tools?
There are different ways to remove rust from tools that have been tried and tested over and over again. Try any method as per your convenience. I have explained each method in a very straightforward method so that to save your time. Write down the steps and execute them as soon as possible. Also, bookmark this page for later assistance.
#1. Try Oxalic Acid (Take precautionary measures – Risky)
The oxalic acid method works well to get rid of rust from metals; however, you must take precautionary measures to use this method. Use a lab coat, gloves, and goggles so to keep yourself safe during any misfortune.
- First of all wash the rusted tool thoroughly with soap to remove oil.
- Take 500ml of warm water and mix 50ml of oxalic acid, if you want to restore a significant rusted tool then increase the quantities respectively.
- Now soak the rusted tool in the mixture for 30 minutes.
- Wash the tool thoroughly, if any rust remains on the item, take a bristle brush and clean the item thoroughly.
- Wash the tool and dry it with a rag.
#2. Use Ready-Made Solution for Removing Rust (Risky, Not economical for a Big Project)
Here is the best way to remove rust from tools if you are short of time. Using the readymade solution for a small scale project is economical. It is not recommended for a large rust-removing project because the overall cost for using this method would be much higher.
First of all, order a chemical remove online or buy it from a nearby hardware store. These types of chemicals are very harmful to the skin, so, read the precautions that come with the product.
Its usage directions are similar to the oxalic acid method. However, the process includes soaking the rusting item in the chemical remover for a long time, scrubbing, washing the item thoroughly, and drying. Be careful when using a chemical remover; keep your pet and kids away when using the chemical.
#3. Citric Acid
It is one of the most straightforward methods to remove rust from metal items. Take a small amount of citric acid powder. Take a plastic tub, put the citric acid powder in it, and then pour the hot water. The tool should be entirely covered with the water, so pour enough water in the tub to soak the rusted tool. Leave it at least for 12 hours. Rinse the restored tool thoroughly and dry with a rag.
#4. Remove Rust from Tools Using Electrolysis Method (No comparison with it if done correctly)
The electrolysis method has no comparison in removing the rust from tools. It’s economical and easy to do method. The prominent advantage of this method is that you are not depreciating the tool by hitting it or using sandpaper. Moreover, by using this method you can take out the rust from nooks and cracks of a tool. This is a one-in-all answer for reinstating the tools.
The things that you are going to need:
- Bucket or tub (size depends on the size of the tool)
- Automotive battery charger
- Baking soda
- Rag/scotch brite pad
- An anode (use a soft-drink can)
- The cathode is the tool
First thing first, you should take all the supplies to a place where kids and pets don’t visit.
Wash the tool to be restored with soap and water. Be sure to remove any oil or wax to make the electrolysis process useful. Take an anode that surrounds the tool from all sides; the soft-drink can or coffee can, can do a good job. Take the sacrificial steel for anode because it corrodes to prevent the item it is protecting.
Connect one lead of the charger to the tool. You may need to clean the part of the tool with sandpaper to ensure a good connection with the wire. Otherwise, the process may not work correctly. Next, connect the other wire lead with the anode. A secure connection works well as compared to a weak connection. So, the success of this method also depends on the strength of the wire connection with the anode and the tool respectively.
Afterward, prepare the electrolyte solution. The solution should be enough to cover the tool entirely. Add enough baking soda in water to make a robust solution, probably 1:1 between water gallon and a tablespoon of baking soda works well. Suspend the tool in the solution with the help of a support. Use a wooden stick to hang the tool in the solution. Place the anode in such a way that it covers the rusted tool from all the directions. Make sure that the anode and tool don’t touch each other.
Assuming that you have prepared the solution and you have hanged the tool in the solution surrounded by the anode.
Connect the charger clips with the wire leads on the anode and the tool. Connect positive with the anode and negative clip with the cathode, i.e., the rusted tool. If you connect positive with the tool and negative clip with the anode, the process would be in the backward direction. Means, your rusted tool would become the sacrificial anode, so, avoid such a scenario. Plug in the battery charger and see the magic.
Leave the process running for at least 15– 18 hours for best results.
After the specified time, turn off the charger. The rust will come at the top of the solution. That is a good sign of the success with the electrolysis. Remove all the connections and take out the tool. Put on your gloves and take the scotch brite, clean the tool from top to bottom. Probably, you would be happy to see your shiny tool.
#5. Removing Rust With the Rust Converter
Well, this is not an ideal solution to remove rust from your tools. However, it may stop the rust from expanding and ruining the whole tool. The rust converter acts like a primer. It may not make the tool rust free but inhibits the rust to expand.
3 Super Easy Home Remedies to Remove Rust from Tools
Assuming that you are not a big fan of chemicals I thought to list the vinegar method to make the tools rust free. It is economical, easy to do, and effective method to remove rust from metals. It is an uncomplicated method to remove the rust from metal.
Take a rub or bucket for the size of the tool or metal item. Soak the item entirely in the vinegar. Leave it for approx. 12 hours or more. Wipe the big tools from top to bottom with a soaked vinegar rag. The white vinegar works great for removing rust from tools, yet another cool method to restore rusted tools.
Baking soda is accessible in almost every home. So why not use it to remove the rust from hand tools. To use it, make a paste of baking soda with water. Apply the paste on the rusted item. Try to cover every nook with the paste. Allow time to marinate. Now you need to do some elbow grease. Rinse the tool with water. If you notice remaining spots of rust, repeat the process.
Lime Juice & Salt
If the above two home remedies for removing rust doesn’t work, try the lime juice and salt to make the tool rust free. Put enough salt on the rusted area, juice a lime over the salted area. Allow it to marinate. After leaving it for some hours, scrub the metal or tool thoroughly. It works great for removing the surface rust.
The types of rusting can help you to determine that how much your tool or metal item has been affected by rusting and how much elbow grease you need to restore your tools. Have a look at them to assist your efforts.
10 Types of Rusting/Corrosion
General Attack Corrosion
It is the most typical form of corrosion. It takes place on the entire surface of the metal evenly. The general attack corrosion is the result of a chemical or electrochemical reaction on the entire surface of the metal. If you want to experience how it takes place or how does a metal look like when it has a general corrosion attack on it, place a piece of girder or any other metal (that is not yet rusted) in the rain. After a few hours, you can see the color of the girder changed to red oxide.
This form of corrosion is straightforward to tackle. It can be controlled by applying a primer to the metal.
This type of corrosion targets only a specific area of the metal. The localized corrosion is further classified into three types – pitting, filiform corrosion, and crevice corrosion. Let’s have a look at each of them.
Pitting is hard to detect and fatal corrosion of the metal and tools. It forms when a small point becomes anodic or cathodic. When a small point on the metal becomes anodic, the rest of the surface becomes cathodic, thus, a galvanic reaction takes place, and it eats up the metal as termite infest a tree. The hole formed due to the localized galvanic reaction starts to expand itself. Usually, it invades from top to bottom or in a vertical direction. The only way to prevent the metal from further corrosion is to identify the problem in the very early stages and take necessary steps.
Filiform corrosion is the second form of localized corrosion. It occurs under the coated surfaces when water enters the coating. It begins at a small surface and spreads on the surface of the metal or tool.
It is somehow similar to pitting. The stagnant micro-environment is a requisite for crevice corrosion. The crevice corrosion can be found in the spaces where oxygen is prohibited. Such areas include a gasket, clamps, bolt heads, under washers and taps. The proper joints can help you get rid of crevice corrosion.
The galvanic corrosion occurs when two different electrochemical metals come in contact with each other in the presence of an electrolyte. In such a scenario, one metal becomes an anode while the other one becomes cathode, thus, forming a galvanic couple. The anodic metal disintegrates faster than the cathodic metal, as it happens when the electrolysis method is used to remove rust from tools. To prevent your tools from galvanic corrosion, make sure that two electrochemically dissimilar metals don’t come in contact with each other.
It occurs due to the higher concentration of impurities near the grain boundaries in the tool or any metal item. It occurs mostly on the grain boundaries while keeping the other surface intact.
Flow Assisted Corrosion
The flow assisted corrosion (also known as FAC) occurs when the oxide layer is wiped out of the metal, and the original surface of the metal is exposed to the air. The exposed metal surface further corrodes at a rapid speed.
The fretting corrosion occurs at the common boundary of two highly loaded surfaces. The most common reason for fretting corrosion is vibration. The metal surface is exposed to the air when the two bodies rub against each other, and the protective layer is removed. The fretting corrosion is found in bolted assemblies, the chain tied with a massive body, the surfaces which undergo vibration during transportation and more.
The high-temperature corrosion has nothing to do with your tools. It occurs in the gas turbines, furnaces, and diesel engines. Some low melting point compounds are formed during the combustion process in machines. The compounds formed are the main reason for high-temperature corrosion. The other reasons for high-temperature corrosion include – carbonization and high-temperature oxidization.
3 Simple Ways to Prevent Your Tools from Rusting
Why not protect the tools before they catch the rust. Seems reasonable! Well, we can prevent our tools by following these 4 steps.
Keep Metal Dry
Mostly the metal rusts because of the presence of air and water. The rusting can be controlled by keeping the water away from metals. Immediately clean the tool or metal item when it comes in contact with the water. If you tools live in a damp place in your garage, consider moving your tools to a dry place. Using a rechargeable silicone gel desiccant can help to control moist in your toolbox.
Apply a Primer & Paint
The paint and primer can help you to keep the tools away from moisture thus ensuring a long life for your tools. Apply a primer on the tool or metal item before painting it. The primer helps the paint to stick better. Whether to paint with a brush or use spray paint? It depends on you; however, with the paintbrush, you can paint every nook of the tool. The primer plus paint is a right combination for protecting the tools from the water.
Apply Oil on Your Tools
Last but not least, you can apply oil on your tools to prevent them from rusting. The oil doesn’t dissolve in water; therefore, it keeps the water away from the tool. You can use the changed car/bike oil, or you can purchase motor oil from the market. The used oil works well and doesn’t cost you extra money. Take a rag, dip it in the oil and wipe all of your tools. Repeat the process at least once a month.
Do Iron and Copper Rust?
Yes, the iron rusts when it is exposed to the oxygen and water. The iron also rusts in high temperatures. The high temperature disturbs the chemical properties of the iron. The iron and alloys that comprise iron also rusts. The iron rusts rapidly as compared to the copper. Some people think that copper does not rust. Well, the copper is not eager to be rusted. However, in the extreme conditions, the copper becomes bright green. The bright green copper is considered to be rusted.
How long does it take for metal/steel to rust? There is no clear answer to this question. It much depends on the type of metal and the conditions that cause rusting. The iron, if exposed to water and oxygen can rust within hours. Whatever the case is you can take the mentioned steps to prevent your tools from rusting.