How to Remove Rust From Yard Tools


Rusty yard tools are not only less effective and rather unsightly, they can also pose a health threat if you accidentally injure yourself with one. If your yard tools have been cooped up in the shed all winter and developed a nice, thick coat of rust, do not use them as is. Instead, take a few minutes on a warm, sunny day to get those tools clean and shining once more.

Step 1

Soak the tools in vinegar overnight. Vinegar will naturally break down rust and dissolve it. Fill the 5-gallon bucket full enough to cover the rusted metal on the tools, then prop them up so that the rusted metal is submersed.

Step 2

Rinse off the vinegar and use the sandpaper and wire brush to scrub off any remaining rust. It should come off easily after the vinegar bath. When you are done, the tools should be rust-free. Wear your gloves.

Step 3

Fill a 5-gallon bucket with a mixture of sand and motor oil. Fill the bucket nearly to the brim with sand, then stir in 1/2 qt. of motor oil. Push the tools in and out of the sand-and-oil "bath" to sharpen edges and restore shine. If you store the tools in this mixture, it will help keep them clean and prevent rust.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Vinegar
  • Wire brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Motor oil
  • Sand
  • 5-gallon buckets


  • The Rust Store: Be Good to Your Garden Tools and They'll Be Good to You
  • Old Fashioned Living: Caring for Garden and Yard Tools
Keywords: rusty garden tools, rusty yard tools, clean rusty tools

About this Author

Carole VanSickle has over five years experience working with scientists and creative scholars to promote and explain their work. She is based in Atlanta, Ga., and specializes in scientific, medical and technical writing, SEO and educational content.