How to Clean and Maintain Your Tools
Keeping your drywall tools clean can ensure they live a long life. It can even save you some money and time in the long run. Most of the problem with cleaning drywall tools comes from the obvious-the mud! Joint compound can get in and out of everything it touches and can harden to become almost impossible to remove. When dealing with expensive drywall tools and large amounts of mud, it's only a matter of time until you will need to clean your tools. Here's the way to do it:
Step 1 -- Scrape, Soak, Scrape and Soak Again
First, scrape off your mud. Remove as much as possible with your putty knife. You'll need a large bucket with warm water for soaking. As you scrape, continue to soak the mud for a few minutes at a time. This will help to keep the mud from becoming stiff and will allow for easier scraping. Once you've got as much as you can off, go for a longer soak. This will help to remove the pesky bits that just won't come off.
Step 2 -- Scrub A Dub Dub
Begin with a fresh bucket full of clean water. Get a scouring surface or pad and begin to remove the last bits of mud from the tool. Be careful as scouring pads can damage some plastic or stainless steel tools. Make sure you continue to add hot water during the process and scrub away. Once the tools are clean, dry them as soon as possible. Any dry towel or rag will work. Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies so that you don't miss any joint compound. Dump your dirty water in a safe location.
Step 3 -- Run Off The Rust
Anything that has gotten wet can get rusty. With all this soaking and scrubbing, you're likely to need some rust protection for your tools. This protection comes in the form of sprays, polishes and other substances that can be applied directly to your tools. You will need ventilation as these substances can pack a punch. Do not leave excessive rust protection on the tool; apply and wipe away. Always store your tools in a safe and dry area.