Remove rust off your gear and tools with vinegar or ketchup
Did you know that vinegar is a great way to remove surface rust off of metal objects like tools, stoves, or camping gear? I didn’t, but after seeing it done on YouTube I gave it a try and it worked quite well.
I do take care of my tools, but have inherited and found some used tools that were neglected and gathered some rust.
The following two were my fault though. The small pair of wire cutters and the rust on this parang were from me not applying a protective layer of oil on them.
The first step is to scrub everything down with soapy water to remove any grease or oil that is on there. This is an important step because I forgot to do that the first time I put all these in a vinegar bath and not very much rust came off. After washing them properly and then soaking in vinegar again, it worked much better.
Because it would take quite a lot of vinegar to submerge the parang, I opted to try spraying it and the wire cutters down with some ketchup on just the areas that have built up rust.
The rest of the tools I submerged in vinegar for 24 hours. Without even touching them, look at the rust that has just flaked off.
Taking a brass wire brush, I lightly brushed off the remaining rust and the tools are looking much nicer now!
Some of the files and punches still had some of the 20+ year old rust on them, but they do look much nicer now and I’m happy with the results. Another soak or two with additional brushing probably could get them back to new.
The parang however didn’t show any signs of improvement. I’m not sure why, because the ketchup worked great on the wire cutters. Maybe it is the type of steel it is made out of.
I then put some oil on a rag and wiped all the tools down to prevent this from happening again.
Neat little trick, but hopefully I never have to do it again and can prevent this from happening with proper maintenance in the first place.
Further reading: How to maintain garden tools with a bucket of sand and oil