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Cleaners and rust remover

What are some good cleaning advice for cleaning tools I just got some tools off someone and some of the sockets where dirty and rusty any advice on on cleaning and removing rust

PB blaster. Soak it work it clean it.

Wow. This has to be the toughest question I’ve seen so far, and the first time I’ve seen it asked.

For some tools a blast cabinet with walnut shells is appropriate. but you’d have to make an investment, and things that require some level of precision, like small sockets, that might remove just enough material to affect the fit. A socket loose on a ratchet… or worse, an extension or the bolt or nut under consideration, can make the work tougher. On a 1/4" twelve-sided socket you can strip the corners right off the object under the socket.

For the dirty grimy tools without rust, any petroleum-based solvent will do the job.

The problem with rust is that it isn’t on the surface… it IS the surface. It’s simply where oxygen has attacked the iron, and the process is irreversible. It cannot be removed, because it has become the very surface itself. Removing it can only be done mechanically and changes the dimensions of the item. Sanding, grinding, other such methods can work IF the rust is surface-only and has not become pitting. Once it becomes pitting, the only possibility is an acid bath… and that’s not a great option.

Bottom line: if the tools are rusty, replace them. If you’re going to work on your cars, the investment will pay for itself over and over again.

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I had to remove a coating of rust from a framing square a few months ago. I used a combo of wd 40, liquid wrench, and steel wool. 00 followed by 000 grade. Allowing the penetrants to soak overnight was helpful. It took a few days of this treatment to get it shining like new again, so I could read the markings.

I will looking in to this I also just seen a video they used apple cider vinegar has anyone Used this and is it possible to just use regular vinegar

Naval Jelly is the old standby:
Picture 1


1 part molasses 9 parts water, soak for a few days. Google it


Yes, you can use regular vinegar. You’re going for the acidity, not the flavor. :wink:


I have used vinegar both apple cider & white & it seem’s to me the apple cider has more acid.

I had to clean rust from some garden tools , which were in quite bad condition.
Rust converter liquid made it very nicely, leaving a coat of greyish-black protective film on the tools.
Rust is not returning for more than a year after that.

Before that, I was using “turtle wax chrome polish” with a steel wool: this was harder to get results, but also left a nice invisible, but “squiky” film preventing further rust for quite some time.

once I’ve picked up a bike on yard sale in house next to mine and it had extremely rusty handlebar and wheels, I though I’m paying $15 only to get a decent lightweight frame it had, but after using chrome polish and fine steel wool, it looks like new and my wife drives it unchanged for few years already. rust re-appeared only after ~3 years and I knew how to deal with it at the moment

Practical Classics magazine rated the molasses method top among non-commercial-product remedies for rust removal. It did well even compared against commercial products.

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:rofl::joy: you are right