Garden & Outdoor

How to Remove Rust from Garden Tools

garden tools

When properly cared for, good quality garden tools can last a lifetime. One of the most important ways to care for them is by protecting them from rust – which can easily be done by storing them in a cool, dry place and keeping them away from water.

However, if you’re unsure about what to do when your garden tools start to get rusty, we’ve got you covered. This handy guide will take you through some simple tips on how to clean rust off garden tools, using vinegar.

Before you begin the process, it’s recommended that you always wear gloves when using chemicals and be careful when handling tools with sharp blades.

Let’s start with what you’ll need.


Rusty garden tools

  1. Scrape off any dirt and grease

    Start by scraping off the top layer of dirt and grease from your garden tools.

  2. Soak in a homemade vinegar and salt mixture

    Thanks to its mild acidity level, white vinegar mixed with salt is a great homemade solution for removing rust.

    Simply pour undiluted vinegar and salt into a container and soak your tools. Shake the container to ensure the vinegar covers the garden tools completely and leave to soak for one day.

    Top tip: When removing rust with vinegar, create some form of support, so only the rusted parts of your tools are submerged in the solution.

  3. Sanding

    One by one, remove your rusty tools from the vinegar mix and dry them. Then, using sandpaper, steel wool or a scour pad – get scrubbing. You don’t want to damage any metal that might be underneath, so just scrub off the thicker patches and be gentler in other areas.

    Top tip: For hand tools like pruners, it is important to really get into the nooks and crannies. Being thorough will help to get rid of any stubborn rust and grime layers.

  4. Dry and lubricate

    Once cleaned, grab a dry cloth and completely dry your tools.

    It’s important to get your garden tools as dry as possible, as oil and water do not mix. Then, apply a multi-purpose oil liberally, before using another cloth to rub it into the tool surface.

  5. Enjoy

    There you go. A clean, de-rusted and lubricated garden tool – ready for use time and time again.

    Now you know how to remove rust from garden tools, it’s important that you try and prevent rust from forming again. Keep your tools away from water, moisture and oxygen as much as possible and inspect them regularly for imperfections. You could also apply a protective coating of paint.

    And that’s our guide to removing rust with vinegar. Now, it’s time to clean your BBQ!





Writer and expert