Help with cleaning VERY dirty tools.

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Forum topic by saunderl posted 07-01-2014 04:09 PM 1785 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 2514 days

07-01-2014 04:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tools dirt clean

I’ve had my tools stored for a few years. They were not stored very well though … and they were in my old shop (garage) that did not have any dust collection in it.

So, now that I’m trying to get my new garage shop up and running, I’m looking at a bunch of very dirty tools.

I’ve removed all the rust from the CI but that just added to the mess on the sides of the tools. How can I clean (or would wash be a better term?) all the accumulated oil/grease/WOOD DUST/etc as well as the run off of the rust remover from my tools?

I know that water would be BAD, and I’ve read that mineral spirits will remove my paint and gas is just too flammable, so .. kerosene?

Please help – any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

16 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17800 posts in 3246 days

#1 posted 07-01-2014 04:13 PM

Simple Green would probably be my cleanser of choice after a go blow down with some compressed air.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Slemi's profile


117 posts in 1781 days

#2 posted 07-01-2014 05:05 PM

You can go to your local paint supply store and ask for “Wax and grease remover” of “surface preparation cleaner”. It’s simmilar to paint reducer, but this does not damage the paint. It is also great for removing residue of adhesive from tape.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2201 days

#3 posted 07-01-2014 05:11 PM

Water’s only bad if you get it in places you can’t dry it out of so don’t spray forcefully or use a rag and bucket, etc. Simple green is good stuff, dilute with water to make it as concentrated as you need to get the gunk off. Compressed air again to dry the areas a towel can’t get to. Then WD-40’s actual use is displacing water where you can’t get anymore out other ways.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2817 days

#4 posted 07-01-2014 05:30 PM

+1 on simplegreen.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5317 posts in 1960 days

#5 posted 07-01-2014 05:35 PM

I too would recommend Simple Green. First I’d go at it with a stiff nylon brush and vacuum to get as much of the accumulated dirt off as possible.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View saunderl's profile


19 posts in 2514 days

#6 posted 07-01-2014 05:46 PM

Fantastic. I’ve never heard of Simple Green, but a quick google search shows its easy to get! So, what I see as the process is:

Blow down the tool (Not much will come off – its really on there …)
Take some watered down Simple Green in a bucket with a rag and wipe down as much as I can.
wet and blow (rinse and repeat until clean) what I cannot simple wipe down.
Blow dry
wd-40 any areas that are un-accessible to dry with just air.

And of course a round of carnauba paste wax on the CI.

So, does that about sum it up? And more tips/tricks/things I’ve missed?

Thanks again.

View bandit571's profile


22016 posts in 2923 days

#7 posted 07-01-2014 07:28 PM

Go out and get a CHEAP toilet bowl brush, and use that to scrub things down with the Simple Green.

Platic gloves are needed around the Simple Green, DAMHIKT….

Take the tool out side to clean them off.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View CharlesNeil's profile


2469 posts in 4110 days

#8 posted 07-01-2014 07:51 PM

Krud Kutter, also try it on your router bits and saw blades ..

View hairy's profile


2783 posts in 3772 days

#9 posted 07-01-2014 08:51 PM

I have a parts cleaner for doing mechanic work. I use Kerosene as the solvent. It will cut through a lot of mess. I can get it at plenty of gas stations for about the price of diesel fuel.

Then, to get the Kerosene off, I use brake spray cleaner in an aerosol can. Most auto parts stock it. It will not leave a film. For storage, spray on some WD-40, wipe off most of it.

For rust:

-- My reality check bounced...

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2201 days

#10 posted 07-02-2014 02:24 AM

If it’s really stuck on there the compressed air isn’t going to do you much good, but worth a shot. The scrub brush with a vacuum before the simple green is a good suggestions and then brushing with the simple green if that doesn’t do much is another. You can let the simple green sit and soak a bit and move to different areas and try brushing. If you don’t mind kerosene, that probably will work well as a solvent if the simple green doesn’t do much. Simple green is good for so much stuff it’s no loss to have around so give it a shot.

View saunderl's profile


19 posts in 2514 days

#11 posted 07-03-2014 01:10 AM

Wow, that Simple Green worked well.

Lots of scrubbing, sponging, and spraying with compressed air.

My bandsaw and jointer look almost like new.

Now I just want to know why Jet thought it was a good idea to use white as their paint color?! :-)

View bigblockyeti's profile


5317 posts in 1960 days

#12 posted 07-03-2014 01:43 AM

Glad it worked out for you, any pictures?

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View ColonelTravis's profile


1954 posts in 2134 days

#13 posted 07-03-2014 01:52 AM

That Simple Green stuff is awesome. Took me a while to realize it was concentrated (way to go, idiot) and diluting it with water makes the cleaning not just easier but better.

Glad you’re able to get your stuff back in good order.

View saunderl's profile


19 posts in 2514 days

#14 posted 07-03-2014 02:22 PM

I never thought to take any before pictures. Just take my word that they were filthy and the CI was solid red rust.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2201 days

#15 posted 07-03-2014 03:07 PM

Wow, awesome results, glad you got them cleaned up.

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