Rusting is a form of corrosion that happens when iron reacts with oxygen, creating an iron oxide layer on the tool’s surface.
This can happen for several reasons, including:
- Excessive exposure to moisture
- Exposure to oxygen over time
- Exposure to high temperatures
- Presence of different environmental chemicals
Typically, rust begins to form on a tool’s surface. If left untreated for too long, the rust can corrode the tool itself.
If your ratchet spanner is in the early stages of rusting, you should be able to tackle the problem with basic household items. Otherwise, you might need a stronger solution.
Here are our recommended steps for getting your ratchet spanner clean and rust-free.
- Clean the spanner with a damp cloth and soap
To prepare your ratchet spanner for rust removal, you’ll need to wipe it down with a damp, soapy cloth. This process will remove any extra residue from the tool, making it easier for you to achieve a clean result.
If there’s grease buildup on the spanner, you can wipe it down with degreaser spray.
- Try the sanding method
For small amounts of rust buildup, sanding may be an effective approach. It’s a great starting point before moving on to harsher or more expensive approaches.
Use a wire brush or steel wool to begin cleaning the rustiest areas, removing as much as possible. You can then use coarse sandpaper to remove thicker patches.
Fine-grain sandpaper can help you remove any remaining specks or finer layers of rust.
Once you’ve finished sanding the tool, rinse and dry it. If it isn’t 100% rust-free, you can move on to the next step—applying an acid-based rust remover.
- Apply an acid-based rust remover (homemade works, too!)
You can buy rust remover from any hardware store, but you can also make an effective solution at home using common household items.
A vinegar and salt blend is one such solution, which works well on tools with large rust patches. To remove rust with this method, you’ll need to:
- Place the tool in a large container.
- Mix ¼ cup of salt per litre of white vinegar. Pour the solution into the container, ensuring the tool is completely covered.
- Give the solution time to break down the rust—this takes one to three days on average.
- Once the rust has sufficiently softened, use steel wool or a stiff metal brush to scrub off the build-up.
- Clean, rinse, and thoroughly dry the tool.
Alternative, you can use baking soda for smaller rust stains. The process is the same, although your tool should only need to sit in the solution for a few hours. Use a one-to-one ratio of water to baking soda.
Finally, if your DIY solutions don’t do the trick, it’s time to reach for a commercial rust remover. There are many options available here, from rust and stain cleaners to calcium, limescale, and rust removers—whichever option you choose, make sure to follow the instructions on the package.
You should have no trouble removing rust buildup from your ratchet spanner or other tools using the tips above. Remember to store your tools in a clean, dry, and cool location to prevent future rust issues.