How to Clean Mechanic Tools – Ultimate guide

At an early stage in my life, my father told me that the quality of tools you use will tell you about the quality of your mechanics.

If you’re a man who prides himself on his tools, you must know how to clean mechanic tools. This ensures there will be no grease or any grime on your tools.

Sometimes, there are too many products that you have to purchase to get rid of rust. This article is no DIY hack but it will give you some really good tips on how to keep your mechanic tools clean without having to purchase a range of products.

How to Remove Grease and Dirt

Grimed up tools just don’t look good. Not only that, grease can affect the proper functioning of tools. For example, they make socket sets not fit well. As a true mechanic, you may want to avoid this. There are some pretty simple processes that you can do every day.

Using WD-40 and a rag

Step 1: Wear some latex or vinyl gloves to protect your hands from this organic solvent.

Step 2: Spray the tool with WD-40 then wipe down with your rag until the grease and dirt come off or until the tool stops feeling greasy.

How it helps: In just a few minutes, all the grease and dirt is gone. Plus, the WD-40 leaves a fine protective layer on the tool that will keep it from rusting, especially on tools that are not chrome plated.

Using Degreaser

Step 1: Wear latex or vinyl gloves to protect your hands from these highly corrosive substances.

Step 2: Apply a little citrus degreaser or Green Simple Degreaser on your tool then wipe it down.

How it helps: Degreaser works better on tougher stains than WD-40 does.

Extra tip:  If you’re buying degreaser, I recommend that you buy Extreme Simple Green. The others are highly corrosive.

Using Soapy Water and a Sponge

Step 1: Pour some dish soap into a bucket of warm water.

Step 2: Dip a sponge in the soapy water and scrub your tools with it.

Step 3: To access hard to reach areas, use a toothbrush that has been dipped into the water solution. For example, when cleaning the teeth of your pliers or when cleaning a wench.

Step 4: Rinse with fresh water, getting rid of the soap completely.

Step 5: For more stubborn stains, you can use a mild vinegar solution, repeating the above process.

Step 6: Make sure that you rinse the vinegar off completely.

Step 7: Dry thoroughly.

Step 8: Using a microfiber cloth buff thoroughly and for the sake of preventing rust, spray on some WD-40.

How it helps: This process is much less corrosive on chrome plated tools than degreasers and WD-40. Also, it’s much safer on your hands as the others are organic solvents that can easily be absorbed into your skin and cause illness.

How To Remove Rust

When removing rust, it’s important to consider the extent of the rust you are dealing with and the material of the tool you’re cleaning.  The best advice is to not rush into the harshest method of removal; you may end up damaging your tools.

Mild Rust

Using aluminum foil paper

Using a simple chemical reaction that you learned in school and with a few materials straight from your kitchen, you can easily remove rust from your tools.

Step 1: Pour water or white vinegar into a basin. The water or vinegar will act as a medium for the chemical reaction between rust and aluminum.

Step 2: Cut foil paper into small pieces, do this making them roughly proportional to the areas that are rusted on the tool.

Step 3: Dip the aluminum foil into the basin

Step 4: Scrub the aluminum foil onto the rusted areas gently until the rust comes off

Step 5: On pitted areas, crumble the aluminum foil into a ball and scrub

Step 6: Gently clean the area with a sponge and then dry thoroughly

 Step 7: Spray on some WD-40 and buff with a soft cloth to keep it from rusting

How it helps:  It is a very effective method on chrome plated tools. Very inexpensive since these are materials that you will easily find at home. Also, it will not damage the tools.

Using lemon juice and baking soda

You’ll be raiding the kitchen again for this method but I assure you it’s worth it.

Step 1: Mix the baking soda and the lemon juice to form a paste.

Step 2: Apply the paste to the rusted area.

Step 3: Scrub using a wire brush or steel wool. Though the steel wool would be much harsher on your tools.

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly then dry completely before applying a nice layer of WD-40 then buffing. Store it well.

How it helps: It will work well on mild rust. The baking soda is abrasive enough and the lemon juice will penetrate the rust. The materials are readily available you just need to take a little trip to the kitchen.

Using an oily rug and a wire brush

Step 1: Work on the rusted area with a wire brush

Step 2: Wipe down with an oily rug (brake fluid or WDN-40)

How it helps: It works really well for tools that don’t have a chrome plating, especially for those with a black oxide finish. The damage is done but it will at least reduce it.

Stubborn Rust

The methods are all the same for removing stubborn rust, it’s just a matter of which materials are easier for you to find.

Using Coca-Cola/ Kerosene/White vinegar and a wire brush

Step 1: Dunk the rusted tools in a container containing Coca-Cola, kerosene or white vinegar. Then cover it. Leave it overnight

Step 2: Remove from the container and work on the rusted areas with a wire brush

Step 3: Rinse off the penetrative liquids completely and dry completely.

Step 4: Clean the tool off with rust preventive metal primer and you’re good to go.

How it helps: The Coca-Cola, white vinegar or kerosene acts as a penetrative liquid through the rust. Leaving the tool overnight will help ‘loosen’ the rust. It’s a good way to restore aged tools and to make sure that they are long-lasting.

Cleaning Powered Tools

For those with battery-powered impact wrenches, the cleaning process may be a little more cumbersome but remember, you want all your tools functioning well.

Step 1: Unplug the powered tool.

Step 2: Using an air compressor to get rid of the dust and cobwebs in your powered tool.

Step 3: Wipe down your tool with some machine oil.

Step 4: Lubricate the moving parts of your tool that need to be oiled.

Final Words

Hopefully, these tips will help you know how to clean mechanic tools for longer use and make them function better. You can stay with a tool for up to 30 years. Personally, I got my grandpa’s wench and it still works like a charm.

For those who have passed down tools, some of the steps above can be used to restore your tools and maintain them so that you can pass them down too.

If you have any more suggestions on how to remove grease or rust and how to clean power tools as covered above, feel free to comment.

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