8 August 2017

Removing rust from tools


Tool and utensils are expensive to replace. Removing rust can extend the lifespan of your tools - with regular care and attention, they could last forever!


Many tools are made from a ferrous metal consisting primarily of iron. Ferrous metals are chosen for tool manufacture as they are strong and tactile. Usually, the metal surfaces on tools are coated with a rust-resistant material to protect them from corrosion. For example, galvanized steel has been coated with a thin layer of zinc. Since zinc is more reactive than steel, it acts as a protection to the metal surface.

The only issue with using ferrous metals for tools is that the protective layer doesn’t last forever. The majority of tools are used in applications where they are exposed to abrasion (the protective layer scrapes off to expose the steel or metal underneath). Once the base metal comes into contact with moisture and air, corrosion starts to occur.

How to remove rust from tools 

Step 1 – Before you begin cleaning the tools, you will need to employ an abrasive technique to remove any loose rust deposits and metal flakes. This can be achieved with a wire brush, steel wool, sandpaper, scraping tool or a combination of these methods.

Step 2 – The second thing you need to do is use a degreasing agent over the entire tool to start to break down the remaining rust, and in so doing making it easier to remove.

Step 3 – Wipe off any remaining rust residue and degreaser with a soft cloth and dry the tool completely using an old towel.

Step 4 – Submerge the tool or utensil in a chemical rust remover for the recommended period of time to give the chemicals a chance to react. Since most chemical removers emit toxic gases, care should be taken to prevent skin and eyes from coming into contact with the solution (and protect yourself against the effects of toxic inhalation or ingestion).

Step 5 – Using a wire brush or steel wool, rub off all of the remaining rust stains and allow the tool to dry completely before proceeding with the final stage.

Step 6 – The tool will already be completely free of rust and hopefully look as good as new. However, it is advisable to add a fresh protective layer to the tool to prevent rust from occurring again. Painting the metallic surface of the tool with industrial rust protection will ensure that the surface is not exposed to air and water and the life of the tool will be extended.

For more information on the best rust removal method for your application, take a look at NCH Asia’s range of industrial rust removal solutions, or speak to one of our experts today.


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