Some folks grind and sand their tools or even use toxic chemicals to remove rust. While these methods may be very effective, they do more harm than good, by depreciating the sturdiness of the tool drastically. Toxic chemicals also leave detrimental impacts on the environment.
Now, instead of using such risky ways of removing rust, you could use a much gentler and safer option – vinegar. Regular distilled white vinegar contains acids, which when combined with salt, are able to eat through the corrosion on your tools and make rust removal possible by scrubbing with a small abrasive material.
Benefits of using vinegar to remove rust
We don’t want to keep you waiting for too long, so we will only highlight them and get to the main topic. The benefits include:
- Affordable – vinegar is a cheap, regular ingredient that’s in most homes
- Safe – as opposed to using razor blades or toxic chemicals, you don’t need to worry about what vinegar can do to you or the environment; it’s pretty safe.
- Easy – as you will discover shortly, the method of removing rust using vinegar is very simple to understand and use.
- Effective – removing rust using vinegar, when done properly (as described below), will leave your tools rust-free.
Below Here is a video that you can follow to remove rust using vinegar.
Let’s find out what you need to do in the following easy steps:
1. Get the items needed
Here are some of the items you will need:
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Denatured alcohol
- Abrasive materials like steel wool or 3M pads
- Make a vinegar-salt solution
Get a basin made of non-reactive material like glass or plastic and fill it with a gallon of white vinegar. Pour in a cup of regular salt and stir to blend the mixture. The purpose of the salt is to boost the acidic power of the vinegar, so it can be more effective against the rust.
2. Soak the tool
Put the rusted tool in the solution you made in the previous step, and be sure to submerge it totally. Let the tool sit in the solution for around 12 hours but if it’s too rusted, you could give it a few days to get the rust thoroughly loosened.
Editor’s note: the acids in vinegar react differently to different metals. For instance, if the rusted tool is made of aluminum, the acids will remove the oxide coating (or rather the rust), after which they will start corroding the metal itself. That’s why you out to consider the period you’re leaving your tool submerged in the solution. Aluminum shouldn’t be left in there for too long. Be sure to check your tool from time to time to see the progress of rust removal and ensure the metal is not getting corroded.
Again, don’t use vinegar to remove rust from a metal object that is very valuable.
3. Scrub off the Rust
By now, the rust has been loosened by the rust, and it can be removed easily by scrubbing with an abrasive pad.
Before you start scrubbing, wear a pair of latex or rubber gloves to safeguard your hands against the rust. Scrub off the loose rust using steel wool, a crumpled aluminum foil, a bristled brass brush or any other abrasive material you can get your hands on.
4. Neutralize the acid
Get another basin and fill it with a gallon of water mixed up with a cup of baking soda. Stir them to create a fine solution.
Now, soak the scrubbed tool in the solution and let it sit for around 15 minutes so the vinegar acids get neutralized. Then, remove the tool and scrub it one more round with an abrasive pad to ensure any remaining rust is removed.
After that, soak a pad in denatured alcohol and use it to rub down the tool. This will remove any excess moisture the tool might have.
Lastly, rub the tool with gun oil to keep it from rusting. And, if you don’t have that, you could paint the tool; painting is a pretty effective method of preventing rust.
How to prevent rusting
Before you go, you might want to go through the following quick tips for preventing rust.
Realize that outdoor conditions will elevate the risk of rusting, particularly in rainy or humid weather. These are the top ways of preventing rust:
Buy rust resistant alloys
Perhaps the best way of preventing rust is dealing with it from the very beginning. When you’re out buying tools, go for the ones that are able to resist rust. The most popular alloys of that kind are weathering steel and stainless steel.
The element that prevents rust in stainless steel objects is chromium. The element forms its own oxide layer that functions as a great shield against rust.
Also referred to as “COR-TEN” steel, weathering steel is composed of various helpful elements, including copper, chromium, phosphorus, and nickel. Together, these elements form a powerful anti-rust patina that lowers the corrosion rate. If you’re on a budget, weathering steel is a great pick as it’s cheaper than stainless steel.
This is more applicable for those who make/assemble their own tools and equipment. When designing then, be sure to minimize the channels through which there can be penetration of water. In that regard, avoid creating cavities or crevices. Also, weld joints instead of bolting them.
The tool’s design ought to permit the free circulation of air and for huge structures, the design should support enough access for easy maintenance.
If you only buy tools and don’t make or assemble them, you could still benefit from this tip by looking out for the kind of design we have described here.
Galvanization is the process by which a metal surface is coated with a layer of metallic zinc. The layer is very effective at preventing corrosion agents from getting into direct contact with the tool.
Bluing involves the immersion of metal objects into a sodium hydroxide, potassium nitrate, and water solution. This strategy offers steel objects some degree of protection against rust and is often used by firearm manufacturers to keep firearms from getting corroded.
The term “bluing” comes from the fact that once the process is completed, the object’s finish gains a blue-black appearance.
Painting is one of the most popular methods of preventing rust. The paint coat forms a barrier against the agents of corrosion. Go for an oil-based paint and let the coating be at least 15 micrometers thick if you want it to be effective.
Coating with powder
In this technique, you normally apply a dry powder on the tool’s clean surface, and then heat the tool. This turns the powder into a thin protective layer. The typical powders used here include polyester, nylon, acrylic, urethane, and vinyl among others.
It’s crucial that you keep the tool clean. Consider cleaning it from time to time and if you use water, be sure to dry it completely before storing it. And, check the tool for rust from time to time. When you notice any rust being formed, remove it with vinegar. Once you’ve removed the rust, consider coating the affected part with a rust-resistant element like paint.
Storing your tools properly is paramount to preventing rust. Don’t leave them outside where they’re exposed to rusting agents, but instead have a good storage room that’s free from moisture and other rusting agents.
Vinegar offers you one of the bests means of removing rust from your tools. It is cheap and easily accessible, it is safe, and it’s very effective. Just don’t forget to take note of time. Sensitive metals like aluminum shouldn’t be left in the solution for too long.
Give our technique a try and let us know how it goes.
Thank you for reading and come again for more juicy content!