Have you ever gone to grab something around your home, only to realize that it was covered in rust?
When you see something covered in rust, your initial reaction may be to toss it out. However, rust-covered items are completely salvageable, as there are actually ways to clean rust.
If you’re looking to create a rust-free home, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover how to clean rust from multiple sources.
What Is Rust?
First things first, what exactly is rust?
Rust occurs when a metal surface comes in contact with water for a prolonged period of time. The rust combines with oxygen in a process known as oxidation, and this results in a corroded metal that dissolves into a red-brown chalky substance we know as rust.
Therefore, the best way to deal with rust is to prevent it from forming in the first place by keeping your metal surfaces dry. Of course, this isn’t always possible, which is why we’ve created this list of rust-removal solutions.
Let’s dive into those now.
Vinegar is one of those household items that you should always have handy, as it can be used as a cleaning agent for a wide variety of products and surfaces.
If you have a small item that’s covered in rust, one of the best ways to remove the rust is to soak the item in white vinegar. Let the rusty item soak for a few days, and then give it a good scrub down. Repeat as needed until the rust is completely gone.
Lemon and Salt
If you have clothing or a piece of fabric that’s stained with rust, then all you need to do is grab some lemon and coarse salt.
Sprinkle the stain with some salt, and then squeeze half of a lemon over the stain. Let the solution sit for an hour or two, and then use a lemon rind to scrub at the stain. Finally, launder the garment as usual. And voila! Your clothing will be as good as new!
Baking soda can help clean up all sorts of stains and messes, so it’s no wonder that it can also help you remove rust. Baking soda is especially useful when it comes to removing rust in a hard to reach area.
All you need to do is mix some baking soda with some water to form a paste. Next, spread the paste over the rusty surface and scrub at it with a toothbrush. Allow the paste to sit for an hour or two, and then scrub it again. Finally, rinse the paste off and allow the item to thoroughly dry.
Potato and Dish Soap
Potato and dish soap is certainly an odd cleaning combination, but trust us, this solution really works.
First, cut an uncooked potato in half and then place it skin side up in a dish of dish soap. Allow it to soak for a few minutes, and then use the soap-covered potato to scrub at the rusty area. The oxalic acid from the potato will help break up the rust, while the soap will work to remove the grime.
Once the rust is removed, rinse the item thoroughly and allow it to dry.
Sandpaper is also a great tool for removing rust, especially if you’re attempting to remove rust from toilets and sinks. (You can click here to learn more about removing rust from these areas.)
Sandpaper is also useful if you’re trying to remove a really thick layer of rust, as this can help gnaw away at it. All you need to do is grab a coarse piece of grit sandpaper and start scrubbing away at the rusty area.
Once a good amount of rust has been removed, switch to fine-grit sandpaper, as this will ensure that the surface underneath doesn’t get damaged. Then, once you’ve sanded the rust down to a more manageable level, you can use one of the methods above for removing the rest of the rust.
We’ve all seen that experiment where someone drops a penny in a glass of coke and then pulls it out to reveal a clean surface. The reason cola (and other sodas) can remove rust is because of their high level of phosphoric acid.
We suggest using cola to remove rust from smaller items, such as nuts and bolts. Attempting to use cola for larger items will often just result in a sticky mess, so it’s best to use one of the methods above for a larger surface.
Invest in a Rust Removal Product
Also, don’t forget that there are many rust removal products that you can easily purchase at your local supermarket.
When purchasing a rust removal product, make sure you look for something that contains phosphoric acid, as this is a key ingredient for removing rust. Other ingredients to look for include oxalic acid, citric acid, and diesel.
However, keep in mind that the abrasives and chemicals in these rust removal agents may cause allergy issues and health issues. Therefore, we only suggest using these cleaners sparingly.
If you do choose to use a rust removal cleaner, make sure you protect yourself by wearing eye goggles and gloves. Additionally, keep in mind that you may first need to dilute the solution in water before applying it directly to the surface.
How to Clean Rust: Are You Ready to Say Goodbye to Rusty Surfaces?
Now that you know how to clean rust, it’s time to put these tips into action. Before you know it, all of your surfaces and items will be rust-free.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check back in with our blog for more cleaning hacks and tips.