12 tips to prevent a rusty tools problem

Rust is the workshop’s biggest enemy; it’s dirty, intrusive and sometimes feels near enough impossible to avoid. Rust is a compound formed on steel and is the result of an electric chemical reaction between steel, oxygen in air and humidity in the environment. Over time, if untreated, rust can corrode steel making it weak and useless. This will therefore cost you a fortune when it comes to replacing tools.

Whilst you may have already experienced rust on your tools, we have compiled our best tips to prevent rust and to remove any rust already lurking in your workshop or toolbox. Take care of your tools and your tools will take care of you.

How to clean and store your tools correctly to avoid losing them to rust

Controlling humidity, not allowing them to get damp, and applying a waterproof coating are the three primary ways to shield your tools from corrosion. Other methods include effective storage with the use of cabinets and drawers fitted with foam inserts, tailored specifically for your tools.

How to remove rust

Firstly, let’s look at the ways you can prevent rust. Replacing tools can be an expensive procedure, that’s why preventing rust is the best way to ensure the health and longevity of your workshop contents.

1.Environmental changes

Depending on your trade or craft, there are a number of environmental factors that tools can be exposed to, including sawdust and embers. That’s why it’s good to try and control the air flow in and out of a workshop.

You can control this by removing any moisture in the air with a dehumidifier; removing sawdust and dust with a dust collector and keeping the room well ventilated with air conditioning.

2.Storage ideas

By keeping tools in enclosed spaces such as cabinets, tool boxes and workstations, they are safe from any environmental harm. Storing tools neatly and effectively is the best way to keep them safe from corrosion. A good way to keep them organised is with custom foam inserts, which can be designed specifically for each tool and power tool.


Apply wax to exposed plates of steel when not using. Be sure to buff it out so that sawdust isn’t tempted to cling to it.

4.Silicon packets

These are the packets you find when you purchase some shoes or electronics. These handy little things prevent moisture from entering the product and ultimately damaging it. Toss several of these in a drawer to absorb the excess moisture, and protect your tools. For added protection, custom foam inserts provide a place for your tools to sit.


WD40 dates back to 1958 and was originally used to prevent Convair’s Atlas Missile from rust and oxidation. Now a common household lubricant, it can provide an extra level of protection from tool corrosion. It is important to wipe the tool down after application to avoid anything clinging to it.

6.Mineral Oil

Much like WD40, mineral oil is an oil based lubricant, add this natural oil to tools you don’t use too often for an extra level of protection. Make sure you wipe the tool down after application to avoid anything clinging to it.

7.Wiping them down after use

Easy to do but so easy to forget the benefits. Take a little time at the end of any tool usage to wipe them down and remove any excess sawdust or moisture. This will keep them running smoother for longer.

8.Add paint or rubber sealants

Consider adding a coat of paint or a rubber sealant to your older tools to help protect them from rust.

How to remove rust that is already lurking in your toolbox

9.Baking soda

Stain on the sofa? Baking soda. Red wine on your new shirt? Baking soda. Rust in your toolbox? Well who knew, baking soda and water can help to shift unwanted corrosion on your tools. Simply apply the baking soda to the affected area, let it sit for several hours then remove with water and a bit of elbow grease.


Similar to the baking soda method, this method requires soaking your tools in vinegar for several hours before scrubbing them with a brush or steel wool and removing any excess rust with water.

11.Scrubbing pads

You can pick up scrubbing pads with different levels of coarse. Start with a higher coarse to remove initial corrosion then move onto a more finer coarse to smooth down any scratches caused by scrubbing. This method will require a fair amount of elbow grease, too.

12.Abrasive tools

Using steel wool, or a hand scraping tool, to scrape off rust usually takes a little longer and requires more effort. However, the results are unrivalled when you are left with shiny steel tools, fit for the workshop.

Follow these steps to have your tools and workshop looking like new again.

The Case Farm specialise in creating tool friendly environments, with our DIY foam, you can keep your tools safe from corrosion by stowing them away properly. You can choose from our range of different sized inserts or visit our DIY Foam calculator page to create custom cut inserts, we’ll give you an instant quote and send them straight out to you.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team for more information. Feel free to explore our blog section, too. It’s packed with insights from the exciting world of DIY!


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