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A person rubbing a rusty hammer with steel wool

Overview

It's important to keep your tools clean and rust free because they will work a lot more efficiently. We'll show you how to use an abrasive chemical and steel wool to clean your tools. You'll also learn how to clean heavily rusted tools with a wire brush.  

Steps

1Apply an abrasive chemical to loosen the rust

As you will be using an abrasive chemical cleaner, make sure you wear protective gloves. If you're not working in a well-ventilated area also put on a face mask. Give the tool a gentle squirt with the abrasive chemical. You don't need to leave it on for very long.


A person spraying a rusty hammer with an abrasive chemical

2Rub over with steel wool

Gently rub the tool over with steel wool to remove the rust. Don't use sandpaper as this is too abrasive, it will scratch the tool and you'll get more rust developing. Apply more abrasive chemical and rub down again if necessary.
A person rubbing a rusty hammer with steel wool

3Apply a protective lubricant

Wipe down the tool and then spray it with a protective lubricant. Wipe it over the surface of the tool, being careful not to dry it off as you want to leave a nice, even coating.
A person spraying a hammer with protective lubricant

4Use a wire brush on heavily rusted tools

For heavily rusted tools start with a wire brush to remove the worst of it. Spray the tool with the chemical, then scrub it with the brush and then wipe it off. Repeat the process if necessary. You want to get the worst off before finishing the job with steel wool and protective lubricant as before.
A person spraying a chisel with an abrasive chemical

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.