It’s important to keep both your tools, and your toolbox, clean and in tip top condition so that they’re fit to carry out the job they were designed to do. If you’ve never used one before, or if your current one is in need of a bit of TLC, restoring an old tool case is a great way to save money.
Perhaps you’re starting out on your DIY journey and you want to keep your collection of hammers, spanners and wrenches all in one place? Then why don’t you source an old vintage toolbox from an antique shop, and have a go at restoring it yourself? Or, maybe you need help removing rust from some tools that have been left lying around for weeks on end in your garage?
Restoration isn’t as complicated as you might think. If you’re unsure where to begin, then don’t worry! We’ve put together our top tips for both tool box and rusty tool restoration below, to give you a helping hand.
How to get rid of rust from your toolbox
Depending on how rusty the toolbox is, there are various different ways you can tackle this pesky problem head on! Remember to remove everything from your box or case first, including your tools and toolbox foam inserts.
Here are a few methods you can try:
1.The grind and sand method: If your tool box is pretty much covered in nothing but rust, then opt for a power tool like a grinder. Be warned, this method will also wipe all the paint off your case too! Once you’ve removed the bulk of the rust, switch to either sandpaper or a sander tool to smooth out the surface enough for you to repaint over it.
2.The steel wool method: You can scrape off any unwanted rust by using a piece of steel wool. Although it involves a bit of graft and hard work, it’s a cheaper and simpler way to remove rust if you don’t have any electric tools on hand. When scrubbing, always start with the area that has the roughest grain before gradually moving to the less rusty metal areas.
3.The rust converting chemical method: These chemicals are only effective in preventing the rust from spreading further, and won’t help you completely remove it from your toolbox. After getting rid of the rust, you could apply a rust converter chemical spray to the surface of the metal before repainting.
Rusty tool restoration
You can apply any of the above methods to restoring your rusty tools too. However, there are also a few other restoration methods you can try on smaller items.
These chemicals can only be used on smaller objects, so unfortunately, they’re not suitable for cleaning your tool box or case. They’re also made up of hazardous materials like phosphoric acid, so make sure that you take all necessary precautions before applying them to your tools. Most will have instructions on how to use the chemical on the packaging, so make sure you read and follow all the advice given.
How to clean rusty tools with Coke
If you’re not looking to spend a fortune on cleaning your tools, then you can try some DIY methods using everyday household items. One surprisingly effective cleaner is Coca Cola.
We know what you’re thinking, ‘how can I clean my rusty tools with Coke?’ Well, it works because Coke contains phosphoric acid, the same chemical that is also used in the rust cleaners we mentioned above. Rust is essentially just iron and iron oxide, both of which can quickly be dissolved using phosphoric acid.
Submerge your rusty tools in a bowl of Coca Cola and leave them to soak overnight. The next day, the rust should have dissolved off, leaving your tools looking brand new. Give them a quick wipe before oiling them to prevent future rust build up.
What about stainless steel?
If your tools or toolbox is made from stainless steel, then it’s not rust you need to worry about. As tough as stainless steel is, it does have one big weakness: oxidation. When your toolbox or tools are left to sit out in the open for a long time, oxidation can quickly make the metal look dull, worn and old.
Luckily, stainless steel is pretty easy to clean, even if it’s already oxidised. You can simply wipe and polish the surface with some white vinegar and a microfibre cloth to restore your toolbox or tools. Apply some oil to the stainless steel afterwards as this will help to slow down future oxidation.
If your toolbox or tools are heavily oxidised, white vinegar might not be enough. For that, you’ll need to use a heavy duty commercial cleaner for your tool case restoration.
Remember to keep your clean tools protected
Regularly cleaning both your tools and toolbox will help keep rust and oxidation away. The best way to keep on top of maintaining these items is by making sure you have everything organised, safely stored away, and set up in a way that works for you.
DIY Custom Foam
A recent addition to our service is DIY Custom Foam, with which you can order foam inserts sized specifically for your needs. Whether it’s a toolbox or just a drawer or two, tell us what sizes you need using our calculator and we’ll send them straight out to you.
Not only will this keep your garage (or workshop) looking tidy and clean, but it’ll also make sure every tool is kept in optimal condition. Our range of tool cases and tool case inserts are also worth a browse – you’re spoilt for choice!