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Preventing Rust in Your Warehouse or Workshop

Preventing Rust in Your Warehouse or Workshop

One concern for many woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts is preventing rust in their warehouse or workshop. This is especially true in more humid environments, and when tools are exposed to constant moisture by being used outside or in a greenhouse. Rust can be devastating as it can actually eat away at your tools and ruin them completely.

If you need to prevent rust in your workshop or your warehouse, consider a few simple tips. These will ensure the life of your tools and protect your investment in your workspace.

1. Control the environment as much as possible.

If you have a humid environment, you’re going to get rust, so consider using a dehumidifier especially during summer months. You may assume this is too expensive but consider how much you paid to purchase your tools and the cost of replacing them. If you’ve invested in a good set of chisels, planes, and moulding tools, as well as saw blades and drill bits, the small cost of running a dehumidifier in your workshop will be well worth protecting that investment.

Remember too that it typically does not cost a lot to run a dehumidifier, and while this might translate into a small difference in your utility bills, it’s typically not as expensive as many people imagine.

2. Keep your shop clean.

Anything that can compromise the surface of your tools can allow rust to develop and spread. As an example, you never want to store your plane with shavings still in its mouth, and saw blades should always be given a quick wipe down after every use.

Hand tools and power tools also don’t mix. The fluids needed to keep power tools running smoothly can get into the air and settle on your hand tools. They too will always carry dust, dirt, and grime and this can compromise your tool set overall.

3. Store your tools properly.

Even if you have a clean shop and control the environment, this is no guarantee that you won’t see problems with rust or other damage. A good toolbox can help to protect your tools from humidity and dirt that settles in a workshop and it can also help to organise your tools as well.

Older metal toolboxes may not be the best solution as these are not always as secure and airtight as possible. A heavy duty box with a secure lid such as a Tuffbox can be a better option. These are weather resistant and moisture resistant, and can keep your tools more secure even when in your workshop or warehouse.

4. Know the coatings that help and that don’t help.

Some actually recommend that tools be dipped in synthetic motor oil to keep them lubricated and coated, and free from rust. However, some experts point out that motor oil actually attracts dust and dirt that can encourage rust. Products made specifically for rust prevention including mineral oil are better rust inhibitors, and old-fashioned petroleum jelly can prevent rust and take off small amounts that have already started to form. However, these should be used sparingly as using too much will also encourage dust and dirt to collect. A good wire brush can also gently remove rust especially from larger tools, and once they’re cleaned, they should again be coated with a rust inhibitor.

5. Control the dust in your warehouse or workshop.

Dust that collects on tools can cause them to rust more easily, so a good air purifier with a HEPA filter can protect your tools. This can also be beneficial to you personally when working as it will keep the air clean. If you run the purifier consistently especially after using your tools when dust and dirt are more likely to be in the air, you’re more likely to keep your tools protected and keep them from rusting.

This too is where a good toolbox such as a Tuffbox comes into play. By keeping out the dust and keeping it from settling on your tools, you can protect them much more easily and extend their life overall. Remember to clean out your toolbox regularly and remove the dust in your workshop as well. Invest in a good shop vacuum to help you keep thing clean and so that you don’t simply kick up more dust and debris with a broom.


These tips may seem simple and straightforward but they’re often ignored by many DIY enthusiasts who are simply eager to get working with their tools, giving little thought to how they’re being stored and protected. A few simple changes in your workshop such as controlling the humidity and dust can go a long way toward controlling rust. In turn your investment of those tools will be protected and you will need to replace them far less often.

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