Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Taking Care of Your Tools

In today's throwaway society, taking care of the tools you own seems quaint and old-fashioned. However, I believe it is important to do to live frugally. This isn't just about taking care of garden or other outdoor tools, although those are probably what come to mind first. I believe we should take care of all our tools, and that is what I will be showing today!

I have a few old pans from the 50's and a flour sifter from the 20's or 30's (hard to tell exactly when it was made). These tools tend to rust if just washed & dried and then put away.  Even more so if my husband puts them in the dishwasher. In the picture below you can see some rust on the pan in the middle. But believe me, all of them have rust on them! What do you do? Oil them!

The first step is to scrub well and remove the rust. I use a steel wool soap pad. (Actually, I use a piece of one - I always cut mine up into thirds or fourths. Any bigger isn't needed and just wastes money.) Then rinse and dry well. I usually let them air dry for a bit after I wipe them with a dish towel to make sure they are completely dry.

Then pour a little oil in the pan. I use olive oil. You don't need much.

Take a paper towel and wipe the oil over the entire surface. Inside and outside. Don't forget under the rim! That is where I find most of the rust.

After you wipe the oil over the pan (or what ever tool you are coating), let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, come back and wipe it again with a dry paper towel. This is the same principle used in cleaning guns, wipe it on and then wipe it off. You will leave a thin coating of oil on the pan, but not enough to make it feel overly greasy. (It may feel a bit greasy but that feeling will go away once it completely dries.) You can put the pans away now. Here are mine all set to go back into the kitchen cabinets.

If you wash them by hand, the coating will last for several washings. Mine only go into the dishwasher if I leave them in the sink waiting to be washed for a day (or two) because I am busy doing other things. My husband doesn't like dishes left in the sink and he will put them in the dishwasher. In those instances, they will need another scrubbing and coating of oil before they are put away.

Over time, you will find the more you coat them, the less often you will have to do it! These pans get a lot of use at my house, but now, I only need to coat them two or three times a year.

Daily frugal habits like this one will save you money! While it is only a few pennies every day, it really does add up at the end of the year! 


  1. My mom used to dry them in the oven because it had a pilot light and always stayed slightly warm. I have at least one loaf pan like your's and need to oil it. It goes in the dishwasher more often than not - I think I need to start treating it like cast iron. - Claire

    1. Putting them in the oven is a great idea! The pilot light can be used for a lot of things, helping bread to rise is the one that comes to my mind first.

      I think treating them like cast iron is the way to go. These old pans can't take a lot of water (such as they will get if you leave them in the sink for a while). As soon as you are finished with pan, it should be washed and dried and put away. That is the way to keep them in mint condition!

      Thank you for your comment!


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