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How To Remove Rust From Metal Tools

Take a quick look around your garage or garden shed. Do you see a pair of hedge clippers with rusty blades? Maybe you spot a rusty garden hoe, shovel, or spade sitting in a corner. Some of your tools may be rusty because they were left out in the rain, while others are just getting older. Either way, there are steps you can take to remove the rust from your metal tools and get them ready to use in the springtime. Check out some of these quick and easy ideas!

Salt and Lime

If you’d like to start with a rust remover made from items in your kitchen, then try a combination of salt and lime. First, sprinkle table salt onto the rusty parts of your metal tool. Next, cut a lime in half and squeeze lime juice onto the salt, making sure that the salt is completely wet. Allow the mixture to soak in for about three hours. Finally, go back and use the rind of your lime to scrub away the rust.

Vinegar and Aluminum Foil

Take about a 6-inch-wide piece of aluminum foil and dip it into white vinegar. Use the wet foil (and a little elbow grease) to scrub away the rust on your metal tools.

Just Vinegar

Before returning the vinegar bottle to the cabinet, try pouring some into a bucket or other plastic container. Put the rusty part of a tool into the vinegar, making sure it’s submerged. Leave it in the vinegar overnight, allowing the rust to dissolve. Clean and dry it in the morning.

Steel Wool or Sandpaper

You may have tried this rust removal option before, but if you haven’t, it’s worth a shot. First, clean the metal part of the tool with soap and water, and then dry it completely. Then, take a piece of steel wool or sandpaper and scrub off the rust.

Potato and Baking Soda

Are you having potatoes for dinner? If so, put aside one raw potato for cleaning your rusty tools later on. Slice the potato in half and cover the cut end of it with baking soda. Use it to scrub the rust off of your metal tool. If you don’t have any baking soda, salt is a good substitute. The acidity in the potato is what takes the rust away.


Hey, it’s your old friend WD-40! I’ll go out on a limb and say that there’s likely to be a can of this stuff on a shelf in your garage or shed. It’s one of those products that serves dozens of purposes. For rust, spray a liberal amount of WD-40 on your metal tool. Let the solution sit for about ten minutes. Then, take a wire brush and scrub off the rust. If you need to apply another coat of WD-40, be sure to let it sit for ten minutes before scrubbing.

And here’s one more idea: Did you ever think of ketchup as a rust remover? Give it a try and let me know what happens!

Thanks for reading. – Alan

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