Q&A: Preventing Wintertime Tool Rust

rubber_sealed_toolboxQ: How can I stop my tools from rusting in their toolbox? They never get wet and I keep the lid closed, but somehow rusting happens each winter. Summer is no problem, but winter always is. What’s going on?


A: The wide swings in temperature we get here in Canada cause more tools to rust than anything else except leaving them in the backyard during a thunderstorm. When garage temperatures warm up after a cold spell, it causes condensation to develop on the cold tools in the same way it does on a cold drink during summer. And a little moisture is all it takes to trigger rust.

I struggled with the problem of winter rust on tools at my own place until I figured out the two secrets for fixing it. First, you need some kind of sealed toolbox to store tools; and second, some way to make the inside of that tool box drier than it normally is.

moisture_grabberStart with a weatherproof toolbox of the kind that has a rubber seal around a tight-fitting lid. Stanley makes great tool boxes of this kind. Next, get a desiccant to put inside the box. This is a pouch or canister of moisture-hungry granules that pulls water out of the air. One of the most widely available desiccants happens to be Canadian. Moisture Grabbers come in large and small pouches. One will keep the largest toolbox bone dry all winter long, with no tool rusting.