How to Remove Rust

  • Rust is a very annoying but inevitable occurrence that appears due to humidity, salts, dirt, and other chemical reactions.
  • Although it requires time and effort to remove the rust from the particular surface – there’re some time tested techniques that can help brush the rust off the metal, cars, cast iron, and concrete in a fairly uncomplicated way.
  • The sooner you notice the signs of rust – the easier it is to get rid of it.

Removing rust from metal

There is a pretty wide variety of different techniques on how to get the rust off the metal surface depending on how heavy the rust is.

  • Mechanical way

Warning: this method can abolish the paint coating and is not suitable for soft metal that scratches easily.

How to do this? Roll up your sleeves, grab some sandpaper, a piece of steel wool or wire brush, and start scrubbing the rust away! 

  • Special chemical solution. Experts say – the best cleaners are the ones that contain phosphorus or hydrogen chloride.

How to do this? Spray the cleaning solution to the rusted surface and let it sit for 15-30 minutes or as instructed. Afterward – rinse with the clean warm water and drain with a cloth. 

Important: precautions are very important when chemical solutions are used: use rubber gloves, goggles and ventilate the room during the process.

  • Baking soda. Perhaps, there’s no such dirt that this powder could not remove…

How to do this? First, moisten a metal surface with clean water. Then, sprinkle rusted areas with a baking soda (it should stick to the damp surface). Leave the surface covered with soda for a couple of hours. Afterward – brush the rusted areas off with a piece of steel wool, wire brush or toothbrush. Finally, rinse the item with water and dry it!

TIP: If the rust is pretty massive – use the white vinegar instead of the water.

  • White Vinegar.  Another effective way to remove rust from the metal surfaces is a vinegar bath. This method works best for delicate items that require a gentle approach.

How to do this? Immerse the rusted items in a vinegar bath and leave it there overnight. Next day – grab some steel wool and brush the rusted areas off. 

TIP: Badly rusted items should be wrapped in a cloth soaked in vinegar.

  • Potato and dish soap. Crazy as it may sound – this method does work almost every time!

How to do this? Peel off the potato and split it in two. Apply some dish soap on each slice of potato and rub the rusty spots.

Important: This method is for lightly rusted objects only, such as knives, boiling pots, pans.

Removing car rust

Noticed that your car has some rusty drops? Don’t wait any longer – take action right away! Little innocent brown dots can quickly turn into huge and expensive problems.

  • Sandpaper. Although there are various different techniques to get rid of the rust from the car you will most likely have to get on your knees and brush the rusty areas off using sandpaper. When the brushing process is done – apply some primer and then spray the paint that matches the color of your car. Done!

Important: Brushing and painting processes should be done almost at the same time. Otherwise, scrubbed areas will become vulnerable again and all your hard work will be just a waste of energy.

  • Coca-cola. Sorry to disappoint you… Not the first time when this delicious drink appears to be a perfect cleaner.

How to do this? Grab a bottle of Coke and the aluminum foil roll. Now, pour some drink over the rusted surface and wait for a couple of minutes. Then, start scrubbing the surface using the crumpled aluminum foil. You’ll notice the change before your eyes!

By the way, there’s another (even simpler) way to clean the rust with the Coke – just drop the rusted items into the container full of this drink and leave it soaking for about 24 hours.

TIP: The Coca-cola method might be way less complicated and funny but it will leave the items very sticky. Therefore, make sure you get a good amount of water and soap to rinse the items after the procedure.

Removing cast iron skillet rust

Red-brown flakes on the cast-iron surface means it’s rusty. No worries, there are some simple ways to fix it!

  • Sandpaper. This technique should be tried before any other methods as most of the time it works from the very first time.

How to do this? Simply scrub the rusty areas off using a piece of sandpaper. Didn’t work? Apply some kerosene on the surface and continue scrubbing until the desired result is reached. Finally – cover cleaned space with some paint.

  • Handmade ammonia solution. 

Warning: Ammonia vapors are super harmful – make sure there’s appropriate ventilation in the room!

How to do this? You’ll need 50 grams of hydrogen peroxide, 100 grams of ammonia, rubber gloves, a clean and dry bowl.

Pour ammonia and the hydrogen peroxide in the bowl and gently stir the mixture. As soon as it starts foaming – apply it to the rusty areas using the sponge or napkin. Important: use your rubber gloves! 

After all rusty areas are covered – let it sit for about 10 – 15 minutes or more, if necessary. Afterward, rinse the surface with the warm clean water and drain it properly. 

TIP: It is very important to take care of the cast iron pan properly after each use. Remove any food leftovers, rinse the pan with clean warm water and drain well with a soft cloth. After that, apply a small amount of oil to the pan surface and heat it up for a while over the stove – the pan will absorb the oil much better. 

Removing concrete rust stains

Unlike the previous methods, this kind of method requires some chemicals you probably don’t have at home. Therefore, read the instructions carefully, make a short shopping list and go to any closest drug store!

How to do this? You’ll need to make a cleaning solution from the glycerin, sodium citrate, lukewarm water, and some calcium carbonate powder. 

First off, mix all the liquid ingredients, and then pour as much calcium carbonate powder as needed to reach the thick paste texture. Then, apply the paste to the rusty areas and leave it to dry.

Later, grab any wooden tool (like a baking spatula) and scrape the paste off the surface. Final step – rinse everything thoroughly with clean water and let it dry.

If the result doesn’t meet your expectations – repeat the procedure once again.

Congratulations! You’ve just become rust removal expert. However, rust is like an uninvited guest – tends to appear in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are some useful tips below that might help to prevent your items from rusting for a longer time.

Useful tips

  • No matter which cleaning method you choose – drain the items immediately at the end – otherwise, they’ll rust all over again.
  • For cars – the best protection against rust is a generous coat of paint. Thus, the minute you notice the spots of rust – repaint that part of the vehicle. 
  • Things made of cast iron cannot be washed in a dishwasher. 
  • Humidity accumulates the rusting process very fast – keep the items in a dry place.
  • Wash your car regularly in both winter and summer seasons. Winter – especially! Dirt and salty water accumulates the rusting process, therefore it is very important to rinse the car with clean water at least once a week.
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