How to Remove Rust From Metal

How to Remove Rust From Metal

We’re often asked, “How can I remove rust from metal?” There are actually several remedies you can try to get the rust off of your metal. First, let’s explore what causes rust and how to prevent rust in the first place.

What causes rust?

Metal objects can rust for many reasons. Moisture is a significant factor, as metals don’t mix well with acidic substances, water, or oxygen. If your metal gets wet and you don’t dry it off properly, rust can form — and it can take some time to remove.

How to Prevent Rust in the First Place

Many options are available to prevent your metal from rusting. Mainly, you want to avoid exposing your metal to the elements and failing to dry it properly. Here are some other ways to prevent rust for your metals:

  • Use an alloy
  • Apply a galvanized coat to your metal
  • Apply a thin coating of oil to your metal
  • Apply a dry coating to your metal
  • Paint your metal
  • Store your metal items properly

6 Ways to Remove Rust From Your Metal

Removing rust with patience, elbow grease, and a few household items is possible! Here are a few of our suggestions:

1. The White Vinegar Hack

For this option, you will want to completely cover your item with white vinegar and let it sit for 12-24 hours. Once it has soaked, remove your metal and scrub it with steel wool or a scouring pad.

You’ll need some elbow grease for this process — you do not want to be gentle on the rust! If you can’t get all the rust the first time, repeat the process until you have non-rusty metal.

2. Little Lemon and Some Salt

This combination may seem simple, but trust the process because it works! When you combine the acid from a lemon with salt, it can remove those stubborn rust stains.

Here’s how: cover the rust with salt and then apply some lemon juice over the layer of salt. Use fresh lemon juice from an actual lemon, not bottled. Let the salt and lemon mix sit for two hours or more.

From there, use the lemon rind as a scrubber to help remove the rust. If this does not work, you can use a harsher cleaning tool such as steel wool or a scouring pad. Once you clean your rust off, ensure you rinse off all the lemon juice and salt before drying your metal off completely.

3. Battle With Baking Soda

This method works well for items with light rust stains, and begins with creating a paste with baking soda and water. Once the paste is ready, use a small tool, like a toothbrush, and spread the paste all over your metal object.

Allow the paste to sit on your object for at least an hour. Then, you will want to use a harsher cleansing object like steel wool to scrub and remove the rust. After the rust is removed, rinse and dry thoroughly.

4. Try Cola to Combat Rust

Did you know most common cola drinks contain phosphoric acid? This acid can be used to remove rust from metal. You only need to pour it over the rusted item and let it sit for a few minutes. Then you can use a wire brush to scrub the rust away. From there, rinse off all of the cola and — you guessed it — dry thoroughly.

5. Use Aluminum Foil to Remove Rust

This may be the easiest hack of all. Crumple a sheet of aluminum foil, and use it to scrub to remove the rust.

6. Soap and a Salted Potato

You read that right — when in doubt, use dish soap and a salted potato. All potatoes have oxalic acid, a key ingredient in many cleaning products under your kitchen sink. Fun fact: oxalic acid also dissolves rust.

To try this method, first slice and cover a potato in dish soap. From there, sprinkle salt or baking soda on the potato; salt or baking soda act as a mild abrasive to help scrape the rust off your metal item. Next, rub the potato on the rust until all the rust is gone. The last step is the same as the others: rinse and dry your metal object well.

Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for Quality Metal and Metal Processing Services

Do you need help with metalworking and keeping your metal fresh? The experienced professionals at Tampa Steel & Supply are here to help. We provide the highest quality of services to our customers.

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