The Best Cleaning Tips On How To Get Rid Of Rust

Rust does not always mean the end of the road for your metal equipment. Before you think of throwing the rusted object or calling a professional to help you get rid of it, you can use rust removers or try several DIY methods that are effective.

Old rusted tools on wooden table 

When you leave your metal items exposed to moisture conditions for days, an oxidation process occurs, leading to the formation of rust stains on the tool. The longer these stains stay on your tool, the worse the corrosion on its surface. Luckily, some household items can be used as rust removers. You just need to learn how to use them and say goodbye to rust once and for all.

What is rust and why should you get rid of it?

Rust is a reddish or yellowish-brown coating on iron or steel. It’s formed through the oxidation process when iron and oxygen chemically react in the presence of moisture.

When rust starts forming on metal or iron surfaces, you need to remove it as soon as possible. Rust can form on garden tools and other metal objects if you leave them in moist places. The reasons for removing rust from your chrome materials or any tools and items extend beyond the beautiful appearance you seek to maintain. If you don’t address the issue in the first place, the tools’ performance may be reduced and may not work optimally. 

How to get rid of rust with home remedies

1. Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is mainly preferred to remove light rust stains forming on items. You can also use it to remove rust from thin metallic items such as pans. Here are some steps to follow:

Baking soda in a glass jar

  1. Mix water and baking soda to form a thick paste.
  2. Spread the paste on the rusted metal surface using a toothbrush and leave it there for at least an hour.
  3. Take steel wool or wire brush and scour the surface to remove the rust
  4. Rinse the surface with water to remove the paste and then dry thoroughly.

2. Using Dish Soap And Potatoes

All potatoes have oxalic acid. In case you don’t know, oxalic acid is one of the critical components in cleaning products. It dissolves rust without using elbow grease. Just by using dish soap and salted potatoes, you can quickly get rid of rust through these steps:

  1. Slice potatoes in pieces and cover the cut sides with dish soap.
  2. Sprinkle salt on the potato pieces to help scrape off the rust when dissolving.
  3. Use the potato pieces to rub off the rusted surface to remove rust stains.
  4. Rinse and dry the surface thoroughly.

3. Using Citric Acid

You should be careful when using citric acid because it can remove paint and coatings on surfaces. However, it easily removes rust without causing damage to the steel. It chelates the iron oxide, leaving behind a clean iron surface and rust that can be washed off with ease. You can get citric acid from health food stores and follow these steps to remove rust on items:

  1. Boil water and put it in a bowl. Add three tablespoons of citric acid to the boiled water.
  2. Submerge the rusted item in the bowl and leave it overnight.
  3. Clean rust from the item the next day by scrubbing it off.

4. Using lemon juice and salt

The acid found in lemon can do miracles! When applied on metal, it can break down any rust and stains. This is what you need to do:

  1. Apply salt on a rusted surface and squeeze lemon juice over the salt. 
  2. Let the mixture settle, and then scrub away the rust. If you can still see stains on the surface, repeat the same process but now leave the mixture of to settle for over one hour.
  3. If the spots are hard to get rid of, you can use steel wool or wire brush to scrub the surface.
  4. Rinse with water and dry it thoroughly.

5. Using White Vinegar

Vinegar cleans almost everything, and it’s not only to clean your washing machine or shower glass. There’s no wonder why so many households have been saved from daily troubles thanks to it! Rust removal is also one of them. Here’s what you have to do:

Glass jar with white vinegar on a black table

  1.  Place your rusted tools and items in a bowl of vinegar and let them there overnight
  2. Remove them from the bowl the following day and scrub them with sandpaper or wire brush to remove the rusted rind. You may need elbow grease to perform this task. 
  3. If you can still see some rust spots on the object’s surface, repeat the whole process, but now soak the objects in white vinegar for a more extended period than the first time. 
  4. Once all the stains have been eliminated, you can use dish soap and water to clean and thoroughly dry the object.

6. From Painted Surfaces

Sometimes, rust can form on painted metal such as cars and frying pans. Dealing with these rusted areas requires a little knowledge and care. If your painted items or tools are in trouble, you can use these steps to avoid causing any damage to the paint. 

  1. You will need ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of vinegar, and two tablespoons of lime juice.
  2. Apply the paste on the rusted surface using a toothbrush and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Rub the paste with a toothbrush in a circular motion and repeat if you still notice the rust spots
  4. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.

7. Using Rust Remover

Rust removers are used on heavily rusted items and tools. They remove rust through a chemical reaction, which is why when using any of them to get rid of rust, ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep the safety precautions by wearing rubber gloves before handling them.

8. Using Aluminum Foil

Aluminium foil is also an effective way of removing rust from your tools and items.  It acts as an abrasive. This is how:

  1. Take a small piece of aluminium foil and dip it in vinegar.
  2. Rub against the rusted surfaces using a steel brush.

Things you need to know for preventing rust

You can always prevent your tools and items from rusting. Prevention is with no doubt the best way to deal with problems like this. Every year, corrosion on machinery, equipment, and tools cost companies and households billions. Understanding what causes rust can help prevent it and avoid such costs. 

Here are some ways you can use to save your home:

1. Keep your items clean and dry

Water is what causes rust to occur when it combines with oxygen. This is why metals such as gates and iron sheets tend to rust in our homes. Always ensure your tools are cleaned and dried properly before being stored. Remove any type of mud or anything that can hold water on your tools.

Stainless steel kitchen tools

2. Using stainless steel

Although stainless steel alloys have iron in them, they are rust free because they also have a high chromium percentage that oxidises quicker than iron, forming a protective layer on metal surfaces

3. Galvanisation

Galvanisation involves coating a piece of steel using liquid zinc. The zinc offers three forms of protection on the steel: 

  • Acts as a barrier to prevent water from reaching the steel
  • Offers cathodic protection in case a section of the metal is scratched and exposed to rust conditions.
  • It highly reacts with oxygen to form a protective coating (zinc oxide), thereby preventing further oxidisation.

4. Bluing

Bluing involves submerging the steel items or tools in potassium nitrate, water, and sodium hydroxide solutions. This method offers short term protection for small steel items.

5. Performing regular maintenance

Performing regular maintenance on your tools and items can help you prevent rust build-up by halting the progress of any rust that’s forming. Regular maintenance can involve using a sharp razor blade to remove any forming rust. You can also use hot water and soap to get rid of grime and then apply a rust-resistant coating on the surface.

6. Painting

Painting metals, like your metal garden furniture, is one of the most commonly used ways to prevent rust. Any good quality paint can help prevent moisture from getting into contact with steel and oxidise it.

7. Powder coating

Evenly apply a dry powder on a clean metallic surface and heat it. The powder forms a thin film that prevents moisture from reaching the metal. 

8. Applying oil

Oil does not just offer lubrication on metal parts; they also create a protective layer against rust. With oil coating, moisture cannot reach the metal which prevents it from rusting

Tools with rust on wooden table

Rust is always an eyesore when we see it occurring in our tools and household items. When left for long, it can affect the performance and efficiency of these tools. That’s why you need to prevent it! But if you’re a little late with the prevention, there are always ways to eliminate it by applying any of these simple methods. You can’t keep throwing your items once rust forms on them!

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