With winter finally behind us, you’ve probably started to prepare for the warmer weather ahead. That means putting away the snow blower and snow shovels and getting out the lawnmower, rakes, garden tools and patio set. You may have noticed that many of your stored items, look at little worse for the wear… they’re covered in spider webs, dirt and rust. While it’s no secret that you can clean off the dirt and spider webs with a little water and elbow grease, you may be unaware of your options when it comes to fixing the rust.
Most of the rust you encounter can be fixed with a little help. Not only will the item look better when you’re done, but it will usually perform better and last longer.
Before you get to work, it’s helpful to understand what rust is and why it occurs? Rust is the common term for corroded steel or iron. The reddish oxide is caused by exposed metal coming into contact with oxygen and moisture.
Since moisture in the air is one of the most common causes of rust, decreasing the humidity around your stored items can reduce the likelihood of rust forming. If you usually keep your stored items in the basement or garage, moving them into a climate-controlled part of your house can help. A dehumidifier can also help reduce humidity, but they can be expensive to purchase and operate. Since running a humidifier or moving the stored items is not always practical, you may need to explore other methods.
For smaller items that can be stored in cabinets, drawers or tool boxes, you can invest in moisture control products, like the Tool Buddy Moisture Eliminator. Each packet reduces moisture in an area between seven and ten cubic feet. Sold in a five packet box, the Tool Buddy is an inexpensive and convenient way to prevent rust from forming.
The most important thing to know when it comes to rust, is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Spend a little more time when it comes time to storing your items, and you won’t uncover the ugly rust spots when you take the items out again.
For those items that can’t be stored in a less humid environment, we recommend applying a rust prevention product before storage. First clean your item to remove salt, dirt, grass clippings, etc. Then thoroughly dry the item. Next apply a protective coating to any unpainted surface. There are many different options available. We recommend either Boeshield T-9, a convenient aerosol spray or Bull Frog Rust Blocker which is non-flammable, non-toxic, non-polluting and biodegradable.
For those items that have already suffered from rust damage, we recommend a rust remover or converter product. There are several types of rust removal products available. Evapo-Rust is a safe and easy-to use on items that can be soaked. Bull Frog Rust Remover is an organic, non-toxic gel that also protects the product against future rust formation. It works particularly well in household applications as it does not contain any harsh chemicals or emit strong odors.
And lastly for those items where it is not practical to remove the rust, you can use a rust converter product to turn rust into a black protective surface than can then be painted over. Rust Converter works particularly well on lawnmower beds, snow blowers and vehicles.