How To Prevent Rust on Hand Tools

How To Prevent Rust on Hand Tools

Cortec suggests these simple options to prevent rust and ratchet hand tool maintenance up a notch.

Courtesy of Cortec

Without basic hand tools such as wrenches, hammers, and pliers, very little work would get done. Cars would go unrepaired, manufacturing equipment would fall into disrepair, and buildings would not be constructed. In spite of their critical nature, tools often suffer the brunt of abuse and neglect. Or they may simply rust over time. Cortec suggests these simple options to prevent rust and ratchet hand tool maintenance up a notch.

Preventing Rust Inside Toolboxes

The simplest way to prevent rust on tools is to store them inside a toolbox equipped with a VpCI Emitter. VpCI Emitters come in a variety of forms, but the technology is the same. Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitors diffuse out of the Emitter and fill the enclosed toolbox. These VpCI inhibitors are attracted to metal and form a molecular layer on metal surfaces—including intricate contours of metal tools. This hydrophobic layer interrupts the normal corrosion reaction that takes place in the presence of metal, oxygen, and an electrolyte. A huge advantage is that greasy rust preventatives are not needed, and the tools can be taken out of the toolbox clean and ready to use immediately.

VpCI Emitters should be dosed based on the size of the enclosure. The VpCI-101 Device is a 3” x 1.25” (7.6 x 3.2 cm) piece of foam that contains enough chemistry to protect 1 cubic foot (28 L) of space. Its partially biobased counterpart, EcoDevice, protects 1.5 cubic feet (42 L) of space. Both Emitters have a self-adhesive backing that makes them easy to install inside a toolbox. For larger toolboxes, users can choose from different sizes of BioPad (a USDA Certified Biobased Product) or VpCI-130 Series foam; VpCI-150 or VpCI-170 foam tape; or VpCI-105 or VpCI-111 Emitter cups, which include an adhesive backing and convenient installation date label.

VpCI Emitters are especially important to have when tools are exposed to high moisture environments. One example is the use of tools outdoors in frigid winter temperatures and sometimes snow. When the tools are brought inside, the snow may thaw or the change in temperature may cause moisture to condense on cold tools inside the toolbox. While drying the tools before putting them away is ideal, sometimes this does not happen or is not enough. Fortunately, the multi-phase action of VpCI chemistry allows the Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitors to fight corrosion even in the presence of moisture.

Other Tool Maintenance Tips and Technologies

In addition to creating a protective environment inside the toolbox, workers should seek to keep tools clean to help them last longer and perform optimally. A container of Corwipe 300 wipes is great to keep on hand for this purpose. These wipes are similar to normal wet wipes used to clean surfaces but are specifically designed for metal. Each Corwipe 300 can remove grease, oil, and light corrosion deposits while leaving behind a thin film of corrosion inhibitors to fight flash rusting. A quick wipe with the Corwipe 300 is a convenient way to keep tools in good condition after completing a dirty or greasy job. Corwipes are safe to use on carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum.

Tools that require a deeper cleaning can be sprayed with EcoAir 414 Cleaner/Degreaser, allowed to sit up to three minutes (for grease penetration), and wiped off with a clean towel. Severely rusted metal tools that look salvageable can be placed in a tub of VpCI-422 rust remover (a USDA Certified Biobased Product), then cleaned and neutralized with EcoAir® 414 Cleaner/Degreaser once the rust has dissolved away.

Start a New Tool Maintenance Habit Today

Good maintenance and rust prevention on metal tools is a great way to keep them in good condition and lasting longer. Even if the solution is so simple and convenient that it seems insignificant, the benefits can be substantial by comparison. Get started on a better tool rust preventative maintenance habit today by contacting Cortec!

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