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How to Remove Rust From a Socket Set? Check Our Guide to Learn

So, if you’re getting ready to do some work with your socket set and notice one or more of the items is rusty, what do you do?

How to Remove Rust From a Socket Set? Check Our Guide to Learn
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So, if you’re getting ready to do some work with your socket set and notice one or more of the items is rusty, what do you do? Is it really possible to remove rust from a set of sockets and other similar tools? The simple answer is: yes, it is. Most sockets are made out of some type of steel, and many have a chrome coating over them, making it easier to remove rust than you might think.

Rust can ruin any type of tool and make it unusable, and considering the cost of most tools, this is something you never want to happen to you. Fortunately, unless there is too much rust on the sockets or it is too deeply ingrained, removing rust isn’t difficult, so keep reading to learn how to do just that.

Get Back Your Tools in No Time

If you think a little rust has to be the end of your expensive tools, think again. Rust is what happens when iron or steel is exposed to water and oxygen for too long, and although stainless steel doesn’t rust, it can corrode. When water and oxygen bond with iron or steel, this causes it to rust. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it.

Getting rid of rust is actually very simple, and you can do the job with items you likely already have around the house, including:

  • Sandpaper
  • Wool pad or wire brush
  • Salt and vinegar
  • Oxalic acid

If you’re a DIY enthusiast, handyman, or even a cook, you likely have most or all of these items already, but you can purchase them easily and inexpensively if you don’t. So as you can see, trying to remove rust from tools is simple from the very start, meaning it won’t be long until your tools are back to normal and usable.

Steps to Cleaning Rust Off of Your Sockets and Other Tools

Getting the rust off of your sockets always involves cleaning the tools first. You can do this in several ways, including using a degreaser and some tack cloth, scrubbing it with a stiff wire brush or a steel wool pad, and ending with using coarse sandpaper to get off as much of the rust as possible before you go any further. Finally, when it’s as clean as it can be, dry off the tool completely.

Remember, cleaning off the tools as good as possible is essential before you start removing the rust. Other methods work just as well, and they include:

Salt and vinegar. After the sockets are degreased and cleaned, make sure they are dry. Then place them in a container that is big enough to hold all of the pieces. Next, you can add a mixture of white vinegar and salt to the container so that the sockets are completely covered, using a ratio of 1/4-cup of salt to every liter of white vinegar that you use.

At this point, you’ll need to wait at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours, but the mixture will eventually peel off most or all of the rust.

Oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is easy to find and very affordable, and you can find it at most home-improvement or hardware stores. To remove rust with it, start by cleaning the sockets with a mild dishwashing liquid. Next, combine three tablespoons of the oxalic acid, which is usually found in powder form, with one gallon of water, and soak the tools in the solution by making sure you cover them completely.

Let the tools sit in the solution for a full 20 minutes, then you can remove them, rinse them off, and dry them well.


Now that you know how to remove rust from your metal sockets, you can ask yourself, could this task be any easier? If you thought it was going to be more complicated than this, we’re sorry to disappoint you. But the truth is, even if all you have are basic household items, you can usually easily find something that is effective at getting rust off of your socket tools.

If you have any questions or you especially enjoyed this article, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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