Learn how to easily clean rusty pruners to help keep them looking and working like new.

How to easily clean rusty pruners using common household products

Have you ever accidently left your pruners outside? They get wet from the rain or sprinklers and then you have unsightly rust covering one of your most used garden tools.

Rusty tools not only look bad but most importantly the rust can affect their function because they become stiff and will not open and close smoothly. I have even had some pruners that were rusted completely closed! Luckily, rusty pruners are very easy to clean with just a few common household products and they will be good as new in a day or so. Read on to learn how to get your pruners back into tip-top shape!

As a side note, I recommend NOT buying pruners with a green handle. I cannot tell you how many times I have set these down and not been able to find them because they were so camouflaged among my plants. This is probably why they got left out and rusty in the first place 🙂

Materials Needed to Clean Rusty Pruners

Materials to clean rusty pruners

Luckily, you only need a few common household items to remove rust from your pruners. You will need:

  • A glass jar, tall plastic tub, or small bucket big enough for your pruners to fit inside
  • Vinegar, 3-4 cups or enough to cover the rusty parts of your pruners
  • A scouring pad, steel wool, or a wire brush
  • WD-40 or other lubricant
  • A pliers or a wrench to take your pruners apart so they are easier to clean (optional)

How to Clean Rusty Pruners

Step 1: Soak the Pruners in Vinegar Overnight

Place your rusty pruners in a glass jar or plastic tub. Any container will work as long as it is deep enough for the rusty parts to be submerged.

Pour in enough vinegar to cover the rusty parts of the pruners. This may be 3-4 cups depending on the size of your container. Let this sit overnight.

Soak the rusty pruners in vinegar

Step 2: Take the Pruners Apart (optional)

After the pruners have sat in the vinegar overnight the vinegar will become cloudy and you will see some of the rust has already started to come off.

Rust comes off after soaking in vinegar

If you have the type of pruners that can come apart, I highly recommend doing this so they are easier to clean in the next step. Take pliers or a small wrench to remove the bolt. Put it in a safe place so you do not lose it!

Take the pruners apart

Step 3: Clean the Pruners with a Scouring Pad

Use a scouring pad to clean the remaining rust off of the pruners. The rust should have softened considerably overnight and be easy to remove. I like to use steel wool but a wire brush is also very helpful to get in the small areas. Give the pruners a final rinse and then dry thoroughly with a cloth or paper towel (you don’t want them to get rusty again!). If you took your pruners apart earlier, now is the time to reassemble them.

Clean the pruners with steel wool

Step 4: Apply Lubricant

Apply some WD-40 or other lubricant so the pruners open and close easily. This will also help to protect them from rust in the future. When you are finished store your pruners in a dry place to help them stay in tip-top shape!

Add some WD-40 to protect the pruners

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Now you know the best way to clean your pruners so they are ready for the season. As always, happy gardening!

Rust free pruners

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