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I forgot some gardening tools in a bucket of topsoil last fall and discovered them just a few days ago. The hand clippers were especially encrusted with rust.
I disassembled the clippers and drowned the parts in a solution 50 percent regular bleach, 50 percent white vinegar. I left the whole mess to stew outside for a day and a half. All the rust had lifted off. I only had to rinse the parts with hose spray.
A 'natural' steel patina remained on the shears. It may come off easily or not -- but who cares, as long as the cutting edges maintain sharpness.
Warning: We all know bleach and vinegar are marvelous cleaning agents. I lucked out when combining them the way I did. Beware of fumes from the combo at first, which is why I put the pan outside.
By Chuck from Canton, OH
Remove rust from garden tools with steel wool dipped in kerosene or turpentine. Then oil the tools lightly to prevent the rust from forming again.
Source: My grandparents did this.
By duckie-do from Cortez, CO
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Here are questions related to Removing Rust from Metal Tools.
Is there a good way to remove rust and recondition sewing machine needles?
By Judith C.
By Catherine 02/25/2013
Do not try to scratch the needles ! Especially with sandpaper !Otherwise the needles will become rough and will not be able to go softly along or into the threads of the textile.
From the softest to the most agressive, here are 3 methods :
1 . Let the needles stay a few days in oil (mineral oil)
2 . Stick the needles into an onion. After 15' wipe them with soft cotton.
3 . Put the needles in lemon juice and then put them in a box with fine salt and shake the box for a few minutes.
To finish the process you should put petroleum jelly or mineral oil again on the needles and use them on your sewing machine. Make them sew without thread through a cotton rag the textile will softly abrase the needle.
Hope this help!
I have a number of gardening tools that need a good cleaning and de-rusting. Can any one out there give me some ideas? The more organic, the better! Thanks.
By Maria R. from Blue Ridge, GA
By Eileen M. 07/20/2011
Bucket of sand with any oily product will help a lot. Naval Jelly will be good if heavily rusted, to start with, then the oily sand routine.
Tips for keeping rust off tools. Post your ideas.
By Shirley Parker02/04/2007
Another good and easy way to keep tools from rusting, is to put a couple pieces of chalk in your tool box. The chalk will absorb any moisture in the air, and they won't rust. It works great for fishing tackleboxes too! Just toss a piece or two in, and keep fishing!
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Clean and dry tools after each use, and periodically apply butcher's wax throughout the season of use. Hang them when storing - don't let the metal parts rest on the damp ground or damp basement/garage floor. Depending on how bad the tools are, you might need to use a bench grinder to put a new edge on shears or even shovels. Wax afterward.
By Twin Turbo
Badly rusted objects can take as long as 3 weeks. Wash down occasionally and give parts a scrub to remove any dirt or oil then put back in the brew. When happy that object is clean, wash down and oil or use WD40/CRC to stop from rusting again. Old idea used by vintage engine restorers like myself. It keeps working for about a year but does get a bit smelly so leave outside. When finished, dump it in the garden as plants love it, no dangerous chemicals!
By Brent from New Zealand
Naval Jelly is made for removing rust and works well on tools. There are also products that are rust converters and turn the rust back into metal. It still requires some sanding but they work quite well.
Susan from ThriftyFun
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If you can not afford to replace it, check with the freecycle group in your area. (09/29/2007)