It’s the end of a long day and the couch is calling your name.
There is one more thing you should do before settling in for the night. It’ll only take a few minutes—and that time will pay off in the long run because it can help keep your tools in prime condition and extend their life. Here are four tool storage ideas just for plumbers.
1. Clean Your Tools
At the end of the day, it’s important to take a moment to wipe all your tools down with a cloth or rag, removing all dust, dirt, debris, and grease. If they’re really dirty, you may want to use soap and water, making sure they’re completely dry before putting tools away.
Your plumbing tools are only as clean as where you store them, so you’ll occasionally want to wipe down your tool belt, tool box, or storage area as well.
To clean power tools, you’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions, but it’s generally a good idea to remove dust and debris and lubricate all moving parts. Make sure, of course, to unplug all tools before cleaning or inspecting them.
2. Lubricate Your Tools
After you clean your tools, the next step is to protect them from rust and corrosion. This can be done by applying a thin film of WD-40 to saws, blades, and other metal tools. (Fun fact: WD stands for “water displacement,” so you know this product will get the job done.)
An additional step you can take is to apply a little linseed oil to the wood handles of your tools.
3. Inspect Your Tools
This is something you’ll probably naturally do while cleaning your tools, but here are a few things to look for:
- Cracked or splintered wood handles. If the damage is minor, you can sand the handle down a bit and apply linseed oil. If the integrity of the tool is compromised, however, you’ll want to replace it as it could easily break while you’re using it—a potentially dangerous situation.
- Rust. If the tool is not too far gone, a bit of WD-40, the scrubby side of a sponge, and elbow grease should do the trick. For more major damage, there are numerous products available in your local hardware store that could save the tool.
- Frayed power cords. These should be replaced immediately by someone with the expertise to do it. Check the prongs while you’re at it and replace or repair them if they are bent or loose.
4. Store Your Tools Properly
The ideal situation is to keep tools in the original plastic cases in which they came. This helps protect them from both damage and moisture (more on that in a minute).
Don’t forget about instruction manuals. It can make life a whole lot easier to have these organized and ready to read—in the same area where you store and inspect your tools.
Back to moisture. You obviously want to keep your tools in a dry place, but it’s also important to protect them from extreme temperature changes.
You know those little silica gel packs that come in the pockets of new coats? Save them (or you can buy them on Amazon) and stash them in your tool box, where they’ll absorb moisture.
Lastly, if your business is growing and your garage or van isn’t getting the job done anymore, consider renting a self storage unit. That’ll not only free up your garage (hello sports car) it’ll provide a well-lit and clean area to consolidate your tools and supplies.