A Bub­bly So­lu­tion to Rust

The fix for rusty wrenches may sur­prise you.

Power & Motor Yacht - - BOATYARD | TIP -

Okay, so you’ve left a bunch of per­fectly good, chrome­plated box-end wrenches at the bot­tom of an on­board tool­box, some salt wa­ter has got­ten in some­how, and now your darn tools are crusted over with rust. One by one, you pull ’em out, stu­diously ex­am­ine the brown, even black­ish dis­col­orations

and ask your­self, Should I just dis­pose of these ba­bies? They’re still us­able, yeah, but

they look hor­ri­ble. Most guys would be em­bar­rassed to own up to ’em in pri­vate, let alone in pub­lic.

Dis­posal? Em­bar­rass­ment? As luck would have it, there’s a third al­ter­na­tive, and a very pos­i­tive one at that. Coca Cola—yup, the bev­er­age that first bub­bled up in a phar­macy in At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, in 1886 and is now fa­mil­iar to just about every­body in the world—will re­move rust from al­most any chrome-plated tool, as long as you give the sweet, fizzy brown liq­uid enough time to work.

Here’s what you do. Get your­self a stout, ap­pro­pri­ately sized plas­tic con­tainer and im­merse all of your rusted wrenches (or other rusted chrome-plated tools you have on hand) in a bath of Diet Coke. Go with the diet prod­uct here be­cause sugar has no restora­tive ef­fect and tends to add ex­tra stick­i­ness to a project that can some­times get a bit messy. Make sure the Coke cov­ers all ar­eas of rust or at least half (you can end-for-end later on) and then place the con­tainer in a lo­ca­tion where it will be out of the way and where mod­er­ate tem­per­a­tures pre­vail.

Now twid­dle your thumbs. Most likely, the restora­tion of your wrenches to their orig­i­nal ap­pear­ance will take a few days at least, and per­haps sev­eral. When con­ve­nient, pull a wrench or two from the bath and do a quick scan. If all the rust is gone, fine—spray the tool with WD40, wipe it off with a rag and stow it, dry. If rust re­mains, pop the wrench back into the bath and keep twid­dling. There’s no ques­tion that Coke works on rusted chrome like gang­busters but other car­bon­ated Cola prod­ucts with phos­phoric acid will do the trick as well, although with not quite as much panache. And in­ci­den­tally, if you have any Coke left over, use it to wash down a few potato chips. Nice lit­tle combo, Coke and chips.

Con­tainer short­statured? End-for-end your wrenches and keep on soak­ing.

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