Humidity and rusted tools

Our products are commonly used to protect tools, sports equipment, hunting gear and fishing gear from moisture and rust. But what causes rust and what can you do when it damages your equipment?

What is rust?

Rusting is a chemical process that occurs when iron is exposed to a combination of moisture and air and undergoes a chemical change to become iron oxide — also known as rust. Rust actually eats at the metal surface of tools. Because iron is consumed in the reaction, the process is irreversible. Iron is luckily a hard material, so the process is usually very slow and superficial. It is often not too late to save your favourite saw, spanner or screwdriver!

When do tools rust?

Rust can develop on your iron tools when they are stored under humid conditions:

●      Storing unclean tools that are still wet or covered in moist soil/dirt.

●      Keeping tools in a damp toolbox, shed or garage. Temperature changes inside can create rust-causing condensation on the tools or equipment.

How to remove rust?

Thick rust can be removed with a wire brush, steel wool or a scouring pad. There are also various commercial products available to chemically remove rust from tools, which usually contain an acid that attacks the rust itself. Grandmother would likely say a good scrubbing with a paste of lime juice and salt will work just as well. You can also try putting the tools in regular Coca-Cola for a few hours. After cleaning, the iron surface will likely be damaged and pitted due to the rust having eaten at it. Polishing can put some shine back on the tool, but it will not replace the lost metal.

Store your tools properly

Always clean your tools after using them. Wiping them with an oily cloth using WD-40 or a silicone spray will leave a protective film against rusting. Make sure your tools and gear are not stored in a very damp environment. Ventilate your garage, cellar or shed to prevent moisture build up. Tools stored in enclosed spaces, storage boxes or tool chests can best be protected with a compact, non-leaking dehumidifier like a Pingi Mini (LV-150) or Pingii-Dry L (ID-300).