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The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Tools

Wednesday, 04 October
Mechanic cleaning tools in box-cm

Your tools are with you through thick and thin. They bring your ideas to life, apply your creativity, and make some pretty darn cool things. To get the most out of your equipment, you’ll need to perform some cleaning here and there. Routine attention can keep your tools running efficiently, performing optimally, and lasting longer.

Clean your tools immediately.

Once you put the finishing touches on a project, nothing sounds better than sitting down grabbing a cold drink, and tuning out. Unfortunately, a lot of the damage done to tools results from the gradual build-up of various debris such as sawdust, dust, and dirt. Essentially, anything your tools come across through normal use can cause damage over time. The best way to get ahead of those problems is to give your tools a quick wipe-down after use. You can use a wet or dry rag depending on the type of equipment. Some tools might even be able to be hosed down.

Further Reading: The Science Behind Assembling the Perfect Toolbox

Remove any build-up.

If you haven’t been cleaning your tools regularly, you might see a collection of rust, dirt, or other debris. This isn’t just an eyesore. This build-up poses a significant risk to the longevity and performance of your equipment. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to do away with stubborn gunk. Start by clearing the tool with a dry rag or paper towel. Next, apply a paste-like combination of water and baking soda. After letting it sit for a few hours, scrape off the junk with a wire brush. For really challenging jobs, you can substitute baking soda for a non-corrosive cleaning solution.

Lubricate moving parts.

A little bit of elbow grease can get you far in a project, but you’ll need the real stuff to keep your equipment running smoothly and optimally. Grease even helps extend the life of your tools by protecting parts that experience the most wear and tear. Some common tools that require regular greasing include adjustable wrenches, ratchets, garden sheers, and pliers. Generally, any piece of equipment with parts that regularly rub up against each other.

Sharpen blades, teeth, and edges.

Staying safe on the job site requires a sharp mind. The same is true when using any kind of cutting or sawing equipment. As blades, teeth, and edges lose their sharpness over time, you naturally apply more pressure to get the job done. Generally, the more pressure you apply, the less control you have. You can eliminate the risk of severe injury (and a botched job) by keeping your tools bitingly sharp. Consult a tool’s user manual to see how often it should be sharpened.

Charge batteries regularly.

Wireless tools are amazing! There’s nothing more freeing than cruising along on a project without having to fret about readjusting, untangling, or tripping over cables. The catch is that the batteries need to be kept fully charged which is easier said than remembered. Make it a habit of plugging in your batteries after every use until the charge is full. Sure, it might be a little overkill, but it’s way better than taking out a wireless tool on the road only to see the red light of death.

Store tools securely.

Even the highest quality pieces of equipment face potential damage when laying around. Whether you’re protecting your tools from harsh weather or unfortunate accidents, it’s crucial to store them properly. All tools should be secured in a stable location to avoid accidental fall damage. Some more specialized equipment might even need to be protected from moisture in the air. If you have youngsters around, make sure to lock away anything sharp, pointy, or slicey.

Struggling to find the right gig? You’re in the right place! At Madden Craftsmen, we’ve been helping talented craftsmen just like you find work with leading industrial employers for decades. Visit our job search to see immediate openings near you.

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