Easiest way to clean an old tool chest and tools?

My dad was a retired auto mechanic and I'd like to keep the large (on wheels) tool chests and tools he had but they're all covered in grease/grime.  I figure it would probably be safe to use Dawn dish detergent to clean the tools (mostly Craftsman) since they'd be easy to dry with rags so they wouldn't rust?  I'm concerned about cleaning the tools chests though since they're so large and have corners and nooks and crannies for water to 'hide' that I may not see and dry and then it'll cause rust.  Granted, there's some rust already on the the chests but I'd rather not make it worse.  They're in pretty decent shape after 50+ years of use.  I also don't know how to get whatever I clean them with off.  Figuring the tools I'll clean with soapy water then rinse with the garden hose and then dry.  But can I take the tool chests outside, clean them with soapy water and rinse with the garden hose?  I can't think of how else to get the cleaning solution off - whether it's soap or like Fantastic or CLR - without hosing it off. 

6 Answers

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  • 2 months ago

    I'm old, and Whitewall tire cleaner is amazing stuff, and cheap. Try it on kitchen grease sometime it makes so called kitchen cleaner look like water.

  • Scott
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Buy some degreaser or even brake cleaner and spray or soak the tools. Dry them off and you're good to go. Wear rubber gloves while doing it.

  • Barry
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    Kerosene is ideal for cleaning greasy tools. It will remove the oil and grease and leave a thin coat which will prevent rust. Use rubber gloves and old rags.

  • 2 months ago

    I have a whole SHlTLOAD of old tools currently soaking in RUSTOUT.

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  • 2 months ago

    Use a commercial degreaser.  I use Goo Gone.  You can wipe everything down with the cleaner and rags.  Then wipe everything off with dry rags.  The degreaser will prevent rust.  If you leave steel open to the environment, it will rust from moisture in the air.

  • Ian K
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Wipe tools off with a rag and some brake cleaner, use gloves.  Don't use soap/water.  

    Source(s): Simple as that.
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