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How to clean rust from chisels

Updated July 23, 2018

Rust is a chemical reaction that happens when air and water meet metal. When tools don't get cleaned or stored properly, rust is the eventual result. When removing rust from your chisel, protect a wooden handle from moisture. Tape a waterproof covering over the handle and do not submerge it into any cleaning products. You may find just one of the following tips will remove the rust from your chisel.

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  1. Soak the metal section of the chisel in a container of vinegar overnight. Wipe the chisel with a clean cloth. Repeat soaking until the chisel is clean.

  2. Treat the rust with an all-purpose spray-on lubricant and wipe it down with steel wool. Clean off any residue with a clean, dry cloth.

  3. Combine equal parts of lemon juice and table salt on a plate or container and mix into a paste with an old toothbrush or a spoon. Rub the paste into the chisel with a dry cloth. Repeat applications until the rust is gone and wipe the chisel clean with a cloth.

  4. Stir 1 tablespoon of black treacle into 118 ml (1/2 cup) of water in a container. Soak the chisel in the mixture, checking it every 24 hours until the rust breaks down. Dry the chisel with a cloth.

  5. Rub the chisel gently with a fine-grit sandpaper to remove a light coat of rust.

  6. Tip

    Prevent rust from forming on your chisels and other metal tools by cleaning them regularly and storing them indoors. A light spray of all-purpose lubricant after cleaning may deter rust from forming. Wipe off the lubricant before each use.

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Things You'll Need

  • Several containers (large enough to fit chisels)
  • Vinegar
  • Cloth
  • Lubricant
  • Steel wool
  • Salt
  • Lemon
  • Old toothbrush or spoon
  • Black treacle
  • Sandpaper

About the Author

Jo Burns

Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.

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