How to Clean Tools

How to clean tools

Tools get dirty—that’s a given! Whether they’re hand tools, power tools, or especially gardening tools, your tools are bound to get some dirt, grime, soot, rust, and even oil on them. Here’s everything you need to know on how to clean your tools, so they can keep working hard for you without losing their luster.

Materials You’ll Need for Cleaning Tools

Your tools may be sturdy, but the grease and grime on them may be even tougher to get out. Before cleaning your tools, start with the right materials that can help get the job done.

Here’s what you’ll need to better clean your tools:

  • Dish soap to tackle oil and grease, like Dawn® Platinum

  • Large bucket for hot water and dish soap solution

  • Scrubber, scrub brush, or steel wool to further clean away any dirt

  • Cloth to wipe down your tools

Step-by-Step Guide for How to Clean Tools

Tools are tough, but even greasy, oily tools need love now and again. Reach for Dawn® Platinum and show those tough messes some tough love.

Hands using soapy sponge with Dawn to clean a Hand Tool

Hand Tool Cleaning Directions

  • Add a teaspoon of Dawn® to a gallon of hot water.

  • With a dishrag or sponge, scrub away the grease and oil (do not soak hand tools*).

  • When clean, thoroughly rinse them under running water and dry them with a towel right away.

*Soaking could lead to etching on certain materials.

Types of Tools You May Need to Clean

Tools can collect plenty of dirt, grease, and grime, especially over time and after consistent use. Here are the most common tools you should clean regularly to ensure dust or grease don’t cake on. The more grease your tools collect, the more susceptible they are to rust and damage—with Dawn® Platinum, it’s So Dawn Easy to give your tools the care they need to stay protected.

Power Tools

Dust can settle on your power tools and they may pick up additional grime, even in storage! A good wipe down may not sound like much, but it really does help, especially when it comes to preventing rust.

Power tools can include:

  • Drills

  • Staple guns

  • Saws

Since these are often electric or battery powered, they cannot be submerged in any liquid. Degreasing power tools requires special care since most parts cannot be soaked.

Instead, mix a solution of hot water and dish soap, like Dawn® Platinum, and give your power tool a scrub with a steel wool brush only on the surface. Be sure to wear heavy-duty gloves and disconnect your tool from any power sources, like battery motors or electric outlets. For tough-to-reach areas, use a toothbrush to scrub away any grime. Keep away from the motor casing and electrical wiring when cleaning any power tool. Once done, wipe the entire tool with a dry towel to ensure all moisture is removed.

Handheld Workshop Tools

Hand tools tend to be used more often than power tools and are susceptible to a host of grime, including grease and oil. Especially all those tools you use when working on a car or mower in your garage.

Common handheld tools include:

  • Hammers

  • Pliers

  • Wrenches

  • Chisels

A regular cleaning can help keep your handheld tools from rusting and help ensure they stay in shape. It’s important not to soak your hand tools, instead use a damp cloth to clean away grease, oil, and dirt.

See grease or grime buildup on your garage cabinets and storage? You can —maintaining clean tool storage is also important for keeping your tools in tip-top shape. So, you can plant that family tomato garden or build a treehouse knowing your tools are at their best.

Gardening Tools

Soil and dirt go hand-in-hand with gardening equipment. When it comes to cleaning your gardening tools, a good soak may be in order. You can even pretreat any stains on your gardening gloves with Dawn® Platinum before throwing them into the washer.

Gardening tools that may need cleaning include:

  • Pruning tools

  • Shovels

  • Garden pots

  • Gardening gloves

The right gardening tools are crucial when it comes to planting and maintaining any plant, and most gardeners understand just how equally important it is to keep those tools clean and soil-free.

You should clean your gardening tools after every use to remove soil and give them a thorough soak once growing season is over. To quickly remove soil, simply use your hose to wash away any caked-on dirt. When you’re ready to further clean your tools and get rid of any additional residue, fill a bucket with hot water and a half a teaspoon or so of Dawn® Platinum—the powerful formula can help break up tough messes so there’s less scrubbing needed on your end.

Then simply rinse your tools with cool water and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Store your tools in a dry place in between growing seasons and continue to follow these tips for keeping them clean to maintain a beautiful garden—it’s So Dawn Easy to show off your green-thumb skills!

Fireplace Tools

Ashes and burn marks can line the outside of your fireplace and your fireplace tools. Wiping them down regularly can help keep them shining like new, rather than being a gray and black eyesore by your fireplace.

Typical fireplace tools may include:

  • Poker

  • Spade

  • Tongs

  • Grate

  • Log rack

Since most fireplace tools are made from wrought or cast iron and brass, special care is required when cleaning these tools—otherwise grime and soot buildup can cover your once-shining tools and lead to damage and rust, which ultimately degrades the metal itself. For soot-covered or tarnished tools, simply wipe down your fireplace tools and accessories with a water and Dawn® Platinum solution. This can help remove grime and soot; regularly wiping down your tools can help prevent the need for heavy scrubbing. However, if tough soils appear, try using a soft-bristled toothbrush to clear away the area.

Whether it’s your wrench or fireplace tools, when grease attacks, Dawn® comes to the rescue.