How Do I Clean My Tools?

Ask any veteran mechanic, construction worker, landscaper, plumber or electrician and it’s likely they’ll tell you the reason some of their tools have been around so long is because they keep them clean.

Just about any job in building or repairing something requires at least one, and in most cases a variety of tools. Keeping them maintained is key to not only being able to perform the work, but in saving money as well. It all starts with cleanliness.

Screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers – these are just a few of the many basic hand tools that can be found in every garage, basement or workshop. As such, they become caked with grease and grime. Fortunately cleaning them is a pretty easy – but important – process.

For routine cleaning, simply spray a bit of multipurpose degreaser, which can be found in any hardware store, onto a cloth rag. Then wipe the contact points and grips of each tool after each use. A can of multipurpose degreaser is specially formulated to remove stubborn grime and grit from any metallic surface. So, using this method after each use will keep your tools looking like new and lasting for a long time.

For older tools or those that have not been maintained as meticulously, deep deposits of grime as well as rust and other scuffs may have set in. This is where more advanced cleaning may be necessary.

Start by filling a bucket of warm water with some drops of commercial cleaner, such as Ajax. Soak the tools for a few minutes to help loosen up any significant buildup. Next, take a small wire brush and scrub the tool to remove any stubborn grime, especially those between teeth and grooves (like on pliers and the tips of Philips-head screwdrivers.) Rinse completely with warm water, and then air dry on top of a clean, cloth towel.

If rust is apparent, use a steel wool pad to scrub the affected areas as close as you can get them, and then repeat the soaking steps above with the commercial cleaner. Once dry, clean them again with a multipurpose degreaser and rinse, then dry completely. Having no moisture remaining on the tool is critical to preventing additional rust from forming.

By taking these steps, your tools will be protected – and possibly rejuvenated – for many years of serviceable use. For more great tips on maintaining your tools and equipment, give us a call.