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Novice gardener shocked by inexpensive hack to remove rust from tools: 'Look how clean this thing got'

"This is so helpful."

White vinegar, hack to remove rust from tools

Photo Credit: @nikkis_garden_adventure / Tiktok

The single most important cleaning hack to remember is this — white vinegar fixes everything. Dirty laundry, scummy bathroom tiles, stained worktops, and now, according to TikTok, old and battered gardening tools, too. 

Novice gardener and influencer Nikki Adams (@nikkis_garden_adventure) has shared how the home remedy restored some rusty secondhand garden shears.

The scoop

White vinegar's acidity makes it an ideal cleaner because it is strong enough to dissolve tough build-ups of grease, grime, and dirt. As Adams discovers, it works for rusted metal, too. 

@nikkis_garden_adventure Cut #rust with #vinegar definitely impressed with how good it worked #gardentools #tipsandtricks also used #aluminumfoil as a #scrubbrush #fyp #handytrick #rustytools #gardeningtips ♬ Lo-fi hip hop - NAO-K

In her TikTok video, she fills a bowl with white vinegar, making sure that it is deep enough to completely submerge the shears' blades.

Then she leaves the shears to soak for three days. Even after a couple of hours, though, you can see the vinegar doing its work. Congealed rust practically slips off the blades when Adams retrieves them.

The next step would usually be to scrub the shears with steel wool, but if you don't have any, Adams says you can use aluminum foil scrunched up into a ball, which she keeps after using because "that thing was handy." 

"I was so impressed. Like, look how clean this thing got," she says, holding up her shiny garden shears. "They should be okay to use now, right?"

How it's helping

For the amount of times we actually use our tools, getting them secondhand and cleaning them up is far more economical than buying them new.

A survey in the UK showed that 10% of people never use the tools in their home, and if you applied that to the whole population, it would add up to $2.5 billion worth of tools left on the shelf, according to Property Wire. 

As an example, the average power drill is only used for around 13 minutes in its lifetime.

Rather than let these tools gather rust and dust, it's far less wasteful to share or upcycle them to prolong their lifespan.

This will help DIYers save some money, too — spending on household and gardening projects has increased since the pandemic, which restoring old tools could minimize.

What everyone's saying

TikTokers were keen to try Adams' hack out for themselves in their garden.

"This is so helpful," wrote one. 

"The foil hack is gonna save me because steel wool breaks my hands out so bad," said another. 

And one user added their advice for maintaining the shears, writing, "If your shears get dull fold up some of that tinfoil a few times and cut it. It'll sharpen your shears and scissors."

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