How to Prevent Rust on Tools

Rusty tools often do not function well. In addition, rust from the tools can stain whatever item you are working with. Removing the rust can be tedious. Instead, treat your tools properly to prevent rust before it occurs.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish detergent
  • Sponges
  • Old towels
  • Rust prevention/blocking spray
  • Silica desiccant gel
  • Wood tool box


    • 1

      Clean your tools well with dish detergent and warm water. Scrub them with a sponge and rinse them in warm water. Dry off the tools well with a towel.

    • 2

      Place an old towel on a table and place your tools on the towel. Open windows in the room for ventilation.

    • 3

      Spray a rust prevention spray on the exposed areas of the tools.

    • 4

      Allow the spray to dry, then turn the tools over. Spray again and allow the spray to dry.

    • 5

      Store hand tools in a wood tool box, rather than a metal box. According to, wood absorbs some of the moisture and will prevent rust more readily than a metal tool box.

    • 6

      Place a packet of silica desiccant gel in the tool box to absorb moisture and prevent rust. Alternately, line your tool box with paper that releases a rust-preventing vapor (VPI paper, or vapor phase inhibitor).

Tips & Warnings

  • Re-spray tools with rust-prevention spray often--at least once every time you clean the tools.
  • You can also use automotive paste wax on some tools, according to This provides a moisture barrier, protecting the metal from moisture in the air. Try this on garden tools, such as shovels, if you don't want to use a spray. Waxing a metal snow shovel is ideal for another reason: snow won't stick to the shovel blade as readily.
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  • Photo Credit old and rusty image by mark smith from

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