How to Keep Moisture Out of Your Toolbox

Putting your tools away after each use into a toolbox may not be enough to keep them from rusting. If your tools are rusting inside of your toolbox, follow these guidelines for removing and keeping moisture out of your toolbox.

Suggested Materials and Tips

  • Charcoal is a cheap moisture-sucking option, though it can be messy
  • Desiccant silica gel packets can be reused
  • Indicating desiccant beads are more expensive, but they will turn colors to tell you when they need to be changed out
  • Large, thick Ziploc bags can add an extra layer of protection around your more expensive tools

Step 1 - Inspect Your Toolbox

First, inspect your toolbox to decide if you want to invest in a better one. Check to see if the gasket looks worn or if it even has one. Paying a little extra for a toolbox that seals well can be a productive investment. If the toolbox is in good shape, but the gasket isn't, measure and order a new one.

Step 2 - Store Your Toolbox Carefully

Unless your toolbox is mounted into the bed of your truck, store it in a cool, dry area. Keeping somewhere the temperature dramatically rises and falls may cause condensation to arise. If storing in a garage or shed, store on a higher shelf to try to keep them above dew point temperature.

Step 3 - Choose a Material to Remove Moisture

Choose something to place in your toolbox as a last line of defense. Sometimes it is difficult to keep moisture out, so place a moisture-fighter into your toolbox to protect you tools from moisture.

  • Charcoal is an excellent product that removes moisture from the air and deodorizes at the same time. Place a piece of charcoal in a sock, tying a knot on the end, to keep it the dark coal dust from getting onto your tools. One piece is enough for a small toolbox. For a larger toolbox, use a piece for each compartment or several for one large compartment. The charcoal can still be used in your grill, however it's hard to tell when the charcoal is no longer effective until it is too late. As a rule of thumb, change out charcoal every month or so.
  • Silica gel packets can also be ordered or purchased in different sizes. When they get damp, dry them out in the microwave and reuse.
  • Desiccant beads can be also be used that will indicate when they are used up and need to be recharged. Generally, they can be recharged by placing in a 250 degree oven for several hours. Prices vary, but an average price for a bead is about $10. For a large tool box, several beads will be more effective. In general, for a multi-layered toolbox, place one bead in every drawer.