How to Clean Your Home Improvement Tools

Lead Image
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5-15
What You'll Need
Dawn dish soap
Saw cleaner
Aluminum foil

Keeping your home improvement tools clean is important, and most of the time it's fairly simple. Clean tools are safe and functional, which means your DIYs get done faster, and no one has to lose a finger. Maintaining your power tools year-round is critical to keeping them in great working condition as long as possible.

How to Clean a Hammer

To clean a hammer, start with a piece of unused sandpaper. The grit should be small to medium. Place the sandpaper rough side up on a table and run the head of the hammer over the paper gently but firmly. The sandpaper will clean the hammer up as well as smooth it out.

If you have a rusty hammer, you’ll need a mason jar and vinegar. Put the rusted part of the hammer into the mason jar and pour vinegar over the top. Let the hammer soak for at least six hours. Once you pull the hammer out, scrub any remaining rust away with crinkled aluminum foil and then rinse the hammer with warm water.

sheets of red sandpaper

How to Clean a Drill

To clean your drill, start by creating a bucket full of warm, soapy water. If you have a specific drill or tool cleaner you like to use, you can dissolve it in the warm water instead of soap, but if you don’t—dish soap works just fine.

Dust off all the bits with a damp rag and do your best to remove any dirt, grease, or buildup. Then drop the bits into the water and let them soak for about thirty minutes. To clean the body of the drill, you will have to spot clean with your damp rag. You don’t want to get the electric part of the drill wet at all. If the spots on your drill won’t budge with your rag, try a Scrub Daddy sponge dipped in the same solution.

Because drills are harder to clean due to their electric nature, it’s best to get in the habit of cleaning up your drill every time you use it so the buildup is kept at a minimum.

gloved hands holding a sponge above a bucket of soapy water

How to Clean a Saw Blade

Saws need love too. To clean your saw blade, start by purchasing a cleaner designed specifically for saw blades. If you purchase a spray cleaner, use an old rag and protective gloves to carefully clean the saw blade while it is detached from the saw. You’ve seen the blade rip through wood, so you know what it could do to your fingers if you’re not careful.

If you buy a saw cleaner that doesn’t have a spray tip, simply pour the cleaner in a large, container and fill it with just enough cleaner to cover the blade. Then lower the blade into the cleaning mixture and let it soak for a few minutes. After the soak, all you need to do is take a damp rag with warm water and spot treat the blade.

If you are cleaning a handsaw with buildup, you can use sandpaper or a blade scraper to work on removing buildup. You can also wash the blade down with paint thinner after you’ve used sandpaper to get anything extra off.

How to Clean Greasy Tools

If you’ve got greasy wrenches, screwdrivers or other household tools, cleaning them is really quite simple. Get a large bucket and fill it with hot—not boiling—water. Add two tablespoons of dawn dish soap to the water for every two gallons of water that you place in your bucket. Stir the soap into the water until a few bubbles form and then drop the tools into the solution. Let the tools sit in the soapy water for about thirty minutes.

After thirty minutes, pull the tools out and use a microfiber cloth to pull off any remaining grease. If the grease is really giving you a go, use a tough sponge. After all of the grease has been removed, wash the tools off under running water, making sure that all of the soap is gone. Then use a cloth to dry the tools off and leave them to layout on a newspaper for about a day.

Now that your tools are as good as new, try tackling a new power-tool-centric DIY like building a log dresser or crafting a dollhouse.