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How to clean rust from a spanner

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Rusty corrodes steel spanners

Step 1 – Choose your chemicals!

Rust is a layer of iron oxide on top of the steel. If the rust has not corroded too far into the tool, it can be removed using household items. You need either lemon (or lime) and salt, or vinegar (apple cider is best but cheap white vinegar is fine too) and salt, or baking soda. An old toothbrush will also be useful.

Lemon or lime juice helps remove rust from iron steel of spanners

Step 2 – Prepare your chemicals

Either mix the salt and lemon (or lime) juice together into a thick liquid…

Baking soda mixe with water helps remove rust from spanners …or mix baking soda with water to form a thick paste…
Vinegar can be used to remove rust from spanners …or mix vinegar with a liberal amount of salt.
leave in vinegar or lemon mixture for a few hours of overnight to remove the rust from the spanner.

Step 3 – Apply the mixture

Cover the rusty parts of the tool with the chosen mixture and leave for a few hours or until the next day, depending on the extent of the rust.

A toothbrush can be used to remove rust from spanners

Step 4 – Use the toothbrush

Use the toothbrush to rub the mixture into the tool and remove the rust gently. Using a wire brush or wire wool would scrape the rust of faster but could damage the metal underneath.

Leave rusty spanners for longer

Step 5 – Repeat the process

Repeat Steps 2 to 4 as many times as needed to remove the rust. You can try a different mixture or leave the tool for longer so the mixture has longer to work if the rust is being particularly stubborn.

Wash the spanners after covering them in lemon, lime, vinegar, baking soda or salt.

Step 6 – Wash the spanner

Wash the spanner with soap and water to remove the mixtures you have been using. They are all corrosive and will corrode the metal themselves if they are left on. Air dry the spanner or use a hair dryer to ensure it is completely dry afterwards.

Coat the spanners with oil.

Step 7 – Rust-proof your tool

Apply a thin layer of oil (you don’t want it slippery with oil!) to cover the whole surface of the spanner or use a corrosion inhibitor spray to help prevent the rust returning.