Your tool collection isn’t just a great thing to have when you’re pursuing your latest DIY project–it’s an investment, and that means regular upkeep of your tools will help them last for decades.
I speak from experience, as I was fortunate enough to be able to use several of my grandpa’s tools while helping my mom attach the stand to a new TV. His workshop is where I learned to use and appreciate tools, and I felt privileged to still be able to access his carefully organized collection.
So how can you ensure your tools last for generations? Well, besides keeping them organized and investing in quality tools, you’ll want to regularly clean them in order to prevent rust build-up.
If you notice a light coating of rust on any of your hand tools, try coating them with a layer of WD-40 and then gently scouring with a Scotch-Brite or similar sponge. Your first instinct may be to reach for sandpaper, but this is too abrasive for the task and may inadvertently end up scratching metal.
For heavier coats of rust, you can try a rust remover like Rust Free, which sprays on the tool and then wipes off. If you want to further protect the tool, you can then coat it with a rust inhibitor.
Keep your tool storage in mind, too–you’ll want to make sure your storage area isn’t damp, which is why tool cabinets are ideal. Of course, we also love a well-organized tool wall (and so did my grandpa), so it’s really about your personal preference and space constraints.
For a more general tool cleaning, hot soapy water should do the trick. You may want to gently scrub the tools with a wire brush, which will help remove any built-up dirt or grime. Just be sure to promptly dry the tools, as air-drying may lead to rust.
Do you have any additional tool care tips? And do you use older tools that have been passed down through your family?