How to clean (and organise) your toolbox

We probably don’t need to tell you that toolboxes can get pretty dirty, pretty quickly. Between the general DIY debris – sawdust, rubble, and everything else – just one job can muck up your tools for the rest of the week. It’s such an uphill battle that, for many, it’s easier to just leave it grubby. Tools can often go missing, too.

However, neglecting to properly clean your toolbox can lead to long-term performance issues – assuming you’ve paid top dollar for your tools, you want them to last as long as possible. The best way to guarantee this is with a thorough cleaning regime. And, those lost tools? All it takes is a little bit of organisation.

Follow our step-by-step instructions and your toolbox will soon be as good as new, with all tools where they’re supposed to be.

Step 1: Top up the charge on all your electric power tools

Just like we often charge up our phones as much as possible before we have to head out, the same is often needed when it comes to power tools. Insufficient charging can gradually wear the batteries down, and since this is something you can do while cleaning your toolbox, it’d be a good idea to fully charge all your power tools now. Give them a quick wipe down, and get them fully charged.

Step 2: Your hand tools deserve a bit of TLC

Your hand tools are probably the most important tools of your trade (or, if you’re a mere DIY enthusiast, they’re your long serving all-rounders) so they need a bit of attention too. They get caked in all manner of mess, like sealants, caulk, cement, and grime. Dampen a cloth or piece of old fabric with surgical spirits or rubbing alcohol (white vinegar should do the trick too) and rub down all your hand tools. If you are using spirits, wear protective gloves!

If your hand tools are showing signs of rust then you may be able to buff them out with some steel wool.

Step 3: Make an inventory of your bits and pieces

Those pesky drill bits are always going missing. If the bits and pieces of your toolbox are in mysteriously short supply, then you should make a list of all the items you need to replace. These are the items that you might let roll free around your toolbox: there’s always one when you need it so there’s no need to worry, right? Wrong. You can use custom foam inserts to keep your bits and pieces snug, or maybe a durable fabric ‘bits ‘n’ bobs’ bag.

Step 4: It’s time to clean the outside of your box

Now that the administrative labours of the job are done, it’s time to do the actual cleaning bit. Lay down a dust sheet and empty the toolbox of all its contents. Into a small bowl, mix your chosen brand of household cleaner with a few drops of white vinegar (and bicarbonate of soda if there are stubborn stains). Take a clean cloth and apply the mixture to the external casing of your toolbox. This has antibacterial benefits as well as the stain banishing properties of the white vinegar.

If your toolbox is made of stainless steel, however, then household cleaners won’t be quite strong enough. Especially if your steel toolbox is oxidising. Here’s what you can do to revitalise your steel toolbox.

Cleaning a stainless steel toolbox

If your stainless steel toolbox is oxidising, that means the chromium elements found in steel have begun to interact with oxygen in the air (it will happen eventually and is a mere sign of aging), making your toolbox look dull and, in some places, possibly rusted. To slow down and prevent this process, you need to clean and polish. Fortunately, you can use white vinegar for this too!

  1. Spray a little bit of white vinegar on just a small part of the toolbox (it’s good to patch test first).
  2. Let the white vinegar settle for a few moments (you will eradicate the top layer of oxidation better this way) and then lightly rub the solution into the casing.

Unless your toolbox is severely oxidised and rusted beyond recognition, this will work wonders. If your steel toolbox is showing signs of rust and general aging (dulled colour, coarse surfaces) then reach for the white vinegar.

Step 5: Now, for the inside… Remember to vacuum!

Now it’s time to clean the inside of your toolbox. First, you should vacuum the insides so you won’t pick up any dust or debris (a dust sheet will come in handy here, too). Then, simply reach for a bottle of fairy liquid. Trust us! You want something fairly inoffensive that won’t damage the insides of your toolbox, and household cleaner might prove a little harsh. If there are stubborn stains on the inside of your toolbox, then your trusty white vinegar should do the trick. Apply a mixture of fairy liquid and warm water to a clean cloth and manually apply it to the toolbox.

Go over the toolbox with a dry, clean fabric and you’re good to go!

Take care of your toolbox and it will take care of your tools

It really is as simple as that. Five easy steps and your toolbox will be good as new. If you would like any more information about our custom foam products, visit our blog – it’s regularly updated and has all you could ever want to know about custom foam!

Why not try our DIY custom foam solution?

A new addition to our foam offering is our foam inserts for cases service where you simply tell us the size and specifications you’re working from using our calculator. Then, we’ll provide an instant quote so you can complete the order. Finally, to complete your tool box inserts simply follow the instructions on our Foam Tutorials section. This has been made possible by Easy Peel, so be sure to take a look!

You can also speak to a member of our team – we’re happy to help. Call 0800 8400 166 or, alternatively, get in touch here.

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