How To Clean Rusty Garden Tools


    A most common scene for even a seasoned gardener- go on to gardening, clipping, thinning, pruning, hoeing, and lastly- forgetting one or two tools there on the garden while returning. And the result is rusty garden tools. I bet you won’t find a gardener who hasn’t have experienced this! So, here we go, today I am going to discuss the easiest ways to clean the rusty garden tool, without a fudge.

    There are many ways to clean your favorite garden tools attacked by rust. I have done tons of researches and finally listed the easiest ones-

    How To Clean Rusty Garden Tools

    Soaking in Vinegar solution

    If you find any rusty garden tools, soak them in a weak vinegar solution. Use 1:1 proportion of vinegar and water to make the solution and put the rusty tool in the solution for 24 hours.

    • After 24 hours remove the tools from the solution and wipe them with clear paper and clear the rust using a steel tool.
    • If there is a heavy layer of rust, do repeat the procedures for the 2nd time.
    • Instead of expensive vinegar, pick cheap distilled vinegar. It will get your job done.

    Citric acid solution

    In case of cleaning rust from either large parts and tools or cleaning tools in large quantities, gardeners often prefer a 3 % citric acid solution.

    • You can buy a 3 % citric acid solution in your nearby grocery shop. You might even go to your nearest agricultural story to get the solution in a cheaper amount.
    • After cleaning the rust make sure to clean away the residue using enough water.
    • Brakes and engine blocks have the record to brittle in citric acid solution. So, avoid cleaning brakes and engine block with a citric acid solution.

    Using Cola And Strong Black Tea

    Researchers have long discovered that cola drinks and strong black tea have an acidic quality which might be used to clean rusty tools. Some seasoned gardeners’ advice to use cola or strong black tea instead of citric acid and vinegar for their cheap rates and easy availability.

    • First, soak the tools in the cola or black tea for a good amount of time.
    • After that, rinse the tools with wire wool or rag to remove the rust.
    • Additionally, you might use aluminum foil paper for rinsing to get a better result.
    • Strong black tea and cola take time to react against the rust. So, it often consumes your time.

    Minimize scrapping

    While removing rust from your gardening tools, try minimizing the scrapping. To minimize scrapping try light circular motions in repeated time until you get a satisfactory result.

    • It removes rust without scratching or thinning the meta.
    • While scraping use protective gloves in hand, eye wear and a face mask if possible.
    • Ensuring tetanus vaccination is protecting you is helpful too because often rust causes virus attacks.


    Rust always kills the sharpness of your gardening tools. So, before storing them after removing the rust, focus on sharpening the edges. You might choose either of these options-

    • If you prefer a whetstone, first thoroughly wet it. Then start stroking the whetstone in one direction either from down to up or up to down along the side of the edges. In order to wet the whetstone, you might use either mineral water or motor oil.
    • Occasionally you might use a sharpening steel or flat file to get the job done.
    • If you choose to get finer edges, use a finer grade whetstone for a precise result.


    Finally, test the sharpness of your tools on a plant. If you get a satisfactory result, store it in a dry and cool place after oiling it to avoid further rust attack.

    Prevent Rust

    Instead of putting so much effort to clean rust from your garden tools, follow these simple steps to avoid rust-

    • After each use of tools clean them properly and don’t let them get stored in wet condition.
    • Choose a suitable storing place for your gardening tools preferably in a cool and dry place.
    • Instead of storing them congested, keep them separately using a small hanging rag.
    • Some experienced gardeners store their gardening tools in a bucket full of sand and a little amount of edible oil. It works efficiently against the rust.
    • Avoiding air while storing is a good solution because it is the air which carries the chemical components of the rust.

    Extra Tips

    Before you start removing rust from your gardening tools, make sure that the tools are free from debris and other wastes. Clean them with water to remove the debris away. Then inspect for any probable damages caused by the notorious rust. You might use a leaf blower to clean the tough debris.

    Rust easily gets over the gardening tools. However, to get a satisfactory performance and a long lifetime of your gardening tools, avoid storing them in wet condition to stop rust doing its job. And inspect carefully whenever you use your tools to see rust attack and remove them immediately if found.

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    About the Author Kim Brown

    A passionate blogger! Editor at Toptennotch. I love to travel & writing. Regularly writing about different topic for various magazines, newspapers and websites. Happy Reading!!!

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