How to Get Rust Off Tools

How to Get Rust Off Tools. Tools are the pride of any home handyman. Home and automotive repairs are much simpler when you have the correct tool for the job. Tools are an investment, and as such, you want to protect them. Tools that develop rust do not last long and are sometimes ineffective in doing the job. Fortunately, getting rust off tools is a simple task. The rust removal process depends greatly on the amount of rust on the tool.

Clean rust off your tools to help them last longer and work better.

Things Needed

  • Stainless steel brush
  • Dry cloth
  • Penetrating lubricant spray
  • Linseed oil
  • Chemical rust remover

Step 1

If there is only slight rust on the tool, brush it with a stiff stainless steel brush. Brush in the direction of the length of the tool. Wipe the tool clean with a dry cloth to remove dust.

Step 2

Spray large areas of surface rust with a penetrating lubricant or linseed oil. Allow the lubricant to work for 10 minutes. Brush as necessary with the steel brush, and wipe off the excess lubricant and rust with a dry cloth.

Step 3

If the tool has extensive rust, soak it in a solution of chemical rust remover according to the label on the can. This is only for submersible tools such as sockets, screwdrivers and wrenches. Do not place tools such as ratchets into the chemical rust remover, as this causes the inner mechanisms to deteriorate. After soaking, rinse the tools in warm water and dry with a cloth.


  • Wipe tools with a clean cloth after each use to help prevent rust.


  • Avoid using sandpaper to remove rust. Sandpaper can cause severe scratches on your tools.


  • This Old House: Taking Care of Tools
  • Sawdust and Shavings: Removing Rust From Handtools