How to Remove Rust from Tools

Whether it’s a wrench that has been passed down to you from your father, or a set of old screwdrivers you found in the garage, nobody likes to see their tools go rusty.

Unfortunately, it’s very common for households to neglect their tools. They may have only been used once when you were putting together that bedside table a few months ago, only to then have them lying around in the shed, or in a toolbox in the attic for the rusting process to take over.

This doesn’t mean you have to splash out your savings to buy a new set of tools, however.

Luckily for you, we have two solutions to restore these products to their original efficiencies.

Let’s first look at what rust is and why it occurs.

What is Rust and Why Does it Happen?

Rust is a chemical process that takes place when iron – or an iron alloy, like steel – is exposed to water and oxygen. The metal surface is eaten away by the rust, making this an irreversible process and can ruin the effectiveness of your tools if left long enough.

Luckily, iron is a hard material, so this normally occurs very slowly and can take days, months, or years depending on the severity of exposure to oxygen and moisture.

Solutions for Removing Rust

You have two main options when it comes to removing rust from your tools – rust converters, and rust removers. Let’s take a look at how they differ and what option is best for your situation.

Rust Converters

Rust converters are used to convert rust into a primer finish coating, which prevents any further corrosion of the metal. The converted rust area acts as a barrier to stop oxygen and moisture from reaching the rust and causing more damage to your tools.

Our Neutrarust® 661 Rust Converter is water based and easy to apply. After removing loose flakes of rust and cleaning the surface of the tool, you can apply the solution directly to the affected area with a brush and then leave it to dry for 20-45 minutes. Depending on the condition of the surface, we recommend two to three coats ensure complete coverage seal

and conversion of all corrosion present. The coating would be complete, and you may paint over this if desired as it is compatible with most paint products.

Having been developed over 40 years ago and approved by MOD and NATO standards, Neutrarust® 661 is a cost-effective, non-hazardous solution to dealing with rusty tools.

Rust Removers

Rust removers are used to remove rust from tools completely, as the name suggests. Your rusted tools would be brought back to their original metal surfaces. This could be applied as either a liquid or a gel.

Liquid Rust Remover

Neutrarust® Rust Remover Liquid would be more ideal for smaller tools or screws that could be immersed into the solution and left for 1-3 hours for the rust to to be removed. This may also be applied neatly to larger tools by brush or swab and left on for around 20 minutes. After this time, tools should be rinsed with clean water and dried.

The rust would be neutralised, leaving behind a phosphate coating ready for painting over to prevent the rusting process from starting again. There is very low odour in this liquid, however it contains a powerful acid additive to work effectively so caution should be taken.

Gel Rust Remover

Neutrarust® Rust & Scale Remover Gel is a non-toxic rust remover that is ideal for vertical surfaces, such as those on rakes and other garden tools or even a garden wheel barrow! The gel may be applied by brush or swab, and then left for 5-30 minutes. Tools would then need to be rinsed with clean water and dried.

As with the liquid rust remover, the surface is ready for painting over to to prevent the rusting process from starting again

Keeping Tools Rust-Free

After removing rust from your tools, it is essential to store them correctly to prevent rust becoming an issue again.

Tools should be stored in areas where moisture and humidity is controlled. If stored in a garage or shed, make sure that there is enough ventilation to reduce moisture build-up, but also check that there are no holes where rain could get in.

Keeping tools clean after using them by wiping them down will reduce the rusting process also. Leaving wet mud or sand on your tools will give rust the moisture it needs to corrode away at the iron.


Tools are an investment.

Whether you use them regularly or not much at all, you can increase their lifespan by taking due care of them by not allowing water and oxygen to react with the metal components.

The corrosion of most metals are inevitable and irreversible, however the sooner you remove the rust, the less damage will take place in the short-term. Using Neutrarust’s rust converters and rust removers can be the solution you need to bring life to your old, or neglected, tools.