If your metal objects have become rusty, you don’t always need to throw them away! There are plenty of ways to clean the rust from your metal possessions. So, how do you clean rust off metal and stainless steel? What can you use to remove rust easily? We answer those questions right here – from using DIY rust removers, acids, or WD-40, our guide below explains all the the best rust removal methods:
Did you know that WD-40 Multi-Use-Product can be used as a rust stain remover spray? Using WD-40 for rust removal is one of the best rust treatments as it is so simple and quick. Simply spray the item with WD-40 and scrub it with a clean wire brush. Just test a small area first to ensure this method doesn’t cause any damage to your metal. This can be used to clean metal bike chains, clean rust off furniture and much more.
To prevent the rust from coming back, apply WD-40 to protect your metal items after use. You can also use WD-40 Specialist Penetrant as a rust treatment for metal. It is designed to penetrate rust and grime for easier removal. You can learn more about preventing rust in other blog posts!
Now, go grab that trusted blue and red can – it’s a game-changer!
Another rust removal option is to scrape off the unwanted rust using tools that have abrasive surfaces. This involves a lot of effort and hard work, but it is possible to remove rust this way. There are a number of household objects you can use for this such as screwdrivers and steel wool. You can use any metal tool for the job, but make sure to use fine-grain sandpaper afterwards to remove any scratch marks.
Alternatively, you can go to a hardware store and rent some tools. If you need to remove rust from larger surfaces, it is best to use an electric rust remover, such as an electric sander. You should always start with the area that has the roughest grain and gradually move to the less rusty metal areas. This way the roughness of the object is minimized.
Chemical rust removers are usually made using oxalic or phosphoric acid and therefore are hazardous for the skin so should be used safely. Make sure that you take all necessary precautions before using a chemical remover to remove rust from a metallic object. Carefully read and use the product according to the directions provided as the usage can differ from product to product.
Keep in mind that these chemicals need to be applied for several hours and require you to scrub afterward, so be prepared for a lot of work. You also need to be aware that chemical rust removers are usually expensive and only applicable for smaller objects. Find our top picks for chemical rust removal solutions below:
You could buy a rust converter which prevents the rust from reacting further with the metal. Rust converters are like spray paints and serve the function of a primer for a paint layer on the surface. This is effective for preventing the rust from spreading further, but it does not help in completely removing rust from a metal object. You should only use rust converters if you intend to paint the surface of the metal.
Citric acid (usually found in a powered box format) is an effective chemical to use for removing rust and can be purchased from most shops.
Put the powdered citric acid in a container made of plastic and add some hot water.
Place your rust covered objects into your rust cleaning solution to restore your tools, equipment, and surfaces back to bare metal. Make sure the container you make the solution in is large enough to fit your metal object in. Completely cover the metal object in the citric acid rust cleaner. Leave it for the night and rinse in the morning. Dry with a clean cloth afterwards.
You can also use oxalic acid to remove rust. Since this is a strong chemical agent, ensure that you have taken protective measures prior to use. Be sure that you are wearing protective clothing; goggles and rubber gloves – and make sure that you do not inhale the acidic fumes. Create a diluted mixture of water and oxalic acid (25ml acid and 250ml water). Soak the object in this mixture for around 20 minutes or you can also wipe the object with a brass brush or cloth. Once complete and the rust is removed, ensure you wash the item thoroughly and subsequently dry it.
Don’t have the time to go to the shops? Not a problem – there are several household items you can turn into a homemade rust stain remover; from mildly acidic fluid-like white vinegar to aluminium foil. Find our top picks of DIY rust removers below:
You can use white vinegar for effective rust removal. The rust reacts with the vinegar and later dissolves. Simply soak the rusty metal object in white vinegar for a couple of hours and then just wipe to remove the rust. If the object is too large, simply pour white vinegar evenly over the surface of the object and give it some time to settle. Alternatively, you can also use a cloth soaked with white vinegar to wipe the object.
Another solution to clean rust is to use a piece of aluminium foil dipped in vinegar to wipe the rust off the object. Using regular vinegar is also an option, however, it will take more time to remove the rust. Try soaking the object in regular vinegar for 24 hours; this will lessen the amount of scrubbing that would be necessary.
Lime and salt are another solution to help remove rust from metal items. Simply Sprinkle some salt over the area of the object that has rusted and ensure that it is completely covered. After, squeeze lime or lemon all over it. Make sure you squeeze as much juice as you can and then leave it for about 3-4 hours before you scrub it off. It helps to use the left-over skin for scrubbing the resulting mixture. It is powerful enough to clean rust off metal without causing any damage. A lemon, in replacement of the lime, can also be used in the same way.
Using baking soda and water creates a thick paste that is easily spread over the metal as a rust cleaner. Give it some time to set and then scrub it off. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste off and then wash it with water. This mixture can be diluted according to your preference. There is no exact specification for the amounts to be used.
Dish soap and potato are also valuable household items when it comes to cleaning rust. Cut a potato into two pieces and apply dish soap on the cut end. This will ensure that there is a chemical reaction between the end and rust, which will make it easy to wipe off.
Put the potato on the surface of the metal object and let it stay for a couple of hours. If you need to apply again, simply cut the used end off and put dishwashing soap on the fresh end. After that, place it again on the metal surface for longer.
So, there you have it – nine effective methods to remove rust stains from metal. From home ingredients such as lemons and limes to your trusted household lubricant, WD-40 – there is a process to suit everyone. Which rust remover is the best? That’s up to you. It’s important to note, any method that you take will involve time and patience, as it is a tedious task. But with a little effort, you can easily clean it off of several metallic surfaces.
Now you know how to clean rust, why not read our guide on specifically how to remove rust from a bike, how to remove rust from a car, or how to prevent rust in the first place. Want to find more tips and tricks? Discover more of the amazing uses for WD-40 here and learn how to improve your DIY game from Bleeding a Radiator to Removing Scuffs from Tiles all with the help of WD-40!
The uses shown and described for WD-40 Multi-Use Product were provided to WD-40 Company by the users themselves. These uses haven’t been tested by WD-40 Company and do not constitute a recommendation of suggestion for use by WD-40 Company. Common sense should be exercised whenever using WD-40 Company products. Always follow the instructions and take heed of any warnings printed on the packaging.
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