How to Remove Rust From Antique Tools

Shares & Saves

An old, once-prized hand tool is a sad sight when it's covered with rust. Tools that have been eaten away by rust must have their metal parts replaced by a skilled metal worker. However, if the tool is affected only by surface rust, it can be restored to a pristine and usable condition. Citric acid is a main ingredient in many household cleaners and works extremely well on rusty tools and implements.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective goggles, mask and gloves
  • Citric acid powder
  • Large container
  • Warm water, 60 to 65 F
  • Soft brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Disassemble the tool completely, separating wooden parts from metal. Don protective goggles, mask and gloves; citric acid is not harmful but can sting. Mix a solution of 1 cup of citric acid powder to 1 gallon of warm water.

  • Place the metal components in the solution. While they're immersed, gently scrub each part with the soft brush. It should only take a few minutes for the rust to come off.

  • Remove the parts from the citric acid solution and inspect them. Remove any remaining rust in crevices with a toothbrush. Dip the toothbrush into the solution if necessary.

  • Dry the tool components carefully. At this stage you can protect surfaces by wiping on some protective oil or water displacement spray. Reassemble the tool and sharpen if required.



  • Photo Credit old and rusty image by mark smith from

You May Also Like

  • Removing Rust From Tools

    Remove rust from tools using a paste of baking soda and lemon juice, allowing the paste to dissolve the rust and then...

  • Removing Rust From Hand Tools

    To remove rust from hand tools, apply a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice to dissolve the rust, or use a...

  • How to Clean Rust Off of Antique Metals

    When cleaning rust off antique metals, you will want to be careful not to damage the surface of the metal. Many anti-rust...

  • How to Remove Rust From Garden Tools

    The proper tools make any job easier. Gardening is no exception. When you have the proper tools at your disposal, gardening tasks...

  • How to Protect an Antique Book

    Nowadays, books are made with preservation in mind. They're printed on environmentally-safe and acid-free paper. While care should still be taken to...

  • How to Remove Rust From Antique Metal

    Antique metal is still available today in many forms. Serving dishes, jewelry, toys, tea sets, furniture and other items both large and...