How To Remove Rust From Nail Clippers

Rust is often an unwelcomed part of using metal objects—it forms any time iron, moisture, and oxygen meet, so even the best housekeeper must contend with it.

It is unsightly and can even be dangerous because rust can cause tetanus.

However, you don’t need to panic when you discover rust on your nail clippers.

We’ve done the research, and rust removal is easy, even from something as small as your nail clippers.

All you need are a few common household items to have your nail clippers shiny and ready for service once again.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need a few common household items to remove rust from your nail clippers.

Now that you have everything you need, read on for step-by-step instructions to learn how to remove rust from nail clippers.

1. Take clippers apart and soak them in vinegar

Rust removal from nail clippers is straightforward; start by disassembling the clippers if possible.

Doing this will allow your cleaning efforts to reach every part of the clippers equally, but if you find that your clippers do not easily come apart, don’t panic.

You can still get the rust off if the nail clippers won’t come apart.

Place all the pieces in a watertight container and add about a cup of distilled white vinegar.

Then, allow the pieces to soak in the vinegar for at least five minutes.

The goal is to submerge the nail clippers completely.

Pro tip: A five-minute soak may be enough for small spots of rust, but if the rust is more extensive or old, it may need to soak in the vinegar for longer.

Try leaving it for thirty minutes or even overnight.

2. Scrub each piece thoroughly with toothpaste

After soaking the pieces, apply a little toothpaste to an old toothbrush.

Scrub each part of your nail clips thoroughly with the toothbrush and toothpaste.

The goal is to scrub off the surface rust, which the vinegar should have loosened. 

Pro tip: If you find the toothbrush is not making adequate progress against the rust, you can also use a nail brush or steel wool. Just be careful not to be so abrasive that you scratch the metal of the nail clippers.

3. Soak and scrub once again

After scrubbing off as much rust as possible, place the nail clippers back into the vinegar, and allow them to soak for a few minutes longer to loosen the rest of the rust.

Then, scrub the pieces with the toothbrush to remove the last rust. 

4. Rinse all pieces and dry thoroughly

Remember, moisture is crucial for creating rust, so dry your nail clippers completely to prevent more rust from forming.

After all the rust is gone, rinse your nail clippers in fresh water to remove all of the vinegar, rust particles, and toothpaste.

Then, dry them thoroughly with a new cleaning cloth or a towel.

Finally, if you took your nail clippers apart to clean them, put them back together and enjoy having clean and shiny nail clippers once again. 

Here is a video showing how to remove rust from nail clippers.

0:39—Take apart the nail clippers.

0:49—Place all the pieces in a bowl and add one cup of distilled white vinegar.

1:01—Allow the pieces to soak for five minutes.

1:07—Apply a little toothpaste to an old toothbrush and scrub each part thoroughly. 

1:29—Soak the nail clipper pieces in the vinegar for a couple more minutes.

1:37—Scrub the pieces once again with the toothbrush and toothpaste.

1:52—Rinse the pieces in fresh water.

2:15—Dry using a fresh cleaning cloth or a towel.

2:37—Put the nail clippers back together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use if I don’t have any vinegar?

There are a few other cleaning methods you can try if you do not have any vinegar at home.

Baking soda is an effective way to remove rust.

Rinse the nail clippers and sprinkle on enough baking soda to cover all the rusty areas—the baking soda should naturally stick to the moisture, so you don’t need to panic about making it stick.

Allow the baking soda to sit on the rusty areas for at least an hour.

Then, take a metal brush or some steel wool and scrub.

This method will take some elbow grease, but you should see the rust scrub away from your nail clippers.

Once it is gone, rinse and dry like normal.

Can I Clean My Nail Clippers using a Potato?

You can also try cleaning your nail clippers with a potato.

Potatoes can help you fight rust because they have oxalic acid so they can be a toxin-free rust cleaner.

Don’t try to eat the potato after you have used it to clean your nail clippers.

To unleash the cleaning power of the potato, cut it in half.

You can sprinkle a little salt or pour a little dish soap on the exposed side to increase its effectiveness.

Then, rub the exposed side of the potato on the rust stain as if it were a metal brush.

The oxalic acid should lift the stain, and the soap or salt should finish removing the rust.

This method can be a little messy, so we recommend doing it outside or in a sink so that it is easy to clean afterward.

How can I prevent rust on the nail clippers?

Rust is caused by moisture meeting with oxygen and iron.

It’s part of a chemical reaction, but the moisture on your nail clippers is the easiest thing to control.

Although washing them regularly is necessary to keep them clean, don’t allow water to sit on your nail clippers by drying them immediately.

You can also minimize the moisture they are exposed to by washing your nail clippers with rubbing alcohol instead of soap and water.

The alcohol will evaporate, leaving your nail clippers clean and dry.