How to Keep Rust Off of Tools

Tools often become rusty if they are not cared for or stored properly. The rust is an electrochemical process in which the chemical bonds of the metal break down in the presence of moisture. The molecules then recombine with an oxygen molecule from the moisture. At this point a new substance emerges known as rust. Treat your tools properly to avoid this chemical change.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags, paper towels or cloths
  • Tool box or container


    • 1

      Dry all tools after each use. By removing the moisture from the surface of the tools there is less likelihood that rust will form. Use rags, paper towels or a cloth to dry the tool completely.

    • 2

      Apply a think coat of lubricant. Lubricants are oil-based products that offer tools a protective barrier against moisture. Mineral oil, mineral spirits and waxes are all useful for adding a water-proof layer to tools. Such layers are temporary but effective.

    • 3

      Store the tools in a cool place out of the sun. If rust starts to form on a tool, the heat from the sunlight only accelerates the spread of the rust.

    • 4

      Keep the tools in a dry place. Although many people keep tools in a basement or garage, these rooms are usually damp. A better place to store tools is in the main part of the house and away from rooms that get a lot of humidity like the bathroom and kitchen.

    • 5

      Store tools in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place. The container protects the tools from moisture and sunlight.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

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