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How to Clean Rust and Remove It

Nobody likes to see rusty surfaces around the home. Check out how to remove rust from metal and a variety of other materials below.

When iron is exposed to oxygen and water, like moisture in the air, it forms a reddish-brown layer of iron oxide, which is rust. In humid or moist environments, it will often form on door hinges, tools – even metal clasps and fittings. Here are a few easy ways to remove rust from your household items and clothes.

How to Clean Rust & Rust Stains

Before undertaking any of the tips below, make sure you test your products on a small area first to make sure they won’t damage it. Always read product labels carefully, and remember to rinse whatever you’ve been cleaning with clean water and allow it to dry.

Commercial rust removers

You can pick up a huge array of commercial rust removers. They all work quite differently, so you’ll need to read the product’s specific instructions. These products are often very powerful, so you’ll need to wear safety gloves and work in a well-ventilated space.

White vinegar and salt

Because vinegar will dissolve the rust off metal, this is one of the most popular solutions.

  • To get rid of rust on small objects, just soak them in white vinegar for up to 24 hours.
  • For larger objects, pour a layer of vinegar over them and the add a layer of salt. You can also dip aluminium foil in vinegar and scrub your item like a brush.
  • When removing rust from fabrics, saturate the stain completely with white vinegar, then cover it with salt and gently rub it in. Let it soak for a few hours before you rinse or blot the stain away.

Lemon or lime juice and salt

This simple solution is not as harsh as vinegar.

  • Pour salt over the rust stain, and then fully saturate it with lemon or lime juice. Mix it all together and let the stain soak for a few hours.
  • If you’re cleaning white clothing, leave it out in direct sunlight for 60 minutes and the stain should be completely gone.
  • In the case of metal objects, scrub the rust away afterward with the rind of the lemon or lime.

Baking soda paste

This method uses the abrasive quality of baking soda to remove the rust stain.

  • Combine baking soda with water until it forms a paste, then spread it over the stain or the metal. Let the paste soak in, then scrub the rust using an old toothbrush or steel wool. Repeat this method until the rust is gone.

Now you have four simple solutions for removing rust at home or in the garden. It only takes a little bit of work to make that rust history!

how to clean rust

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Knowing how to remove rust from stainless steel or other types of metal can be hard. Luckily, there are specialist rust treatment products that can make removing it a little easier. You can also use regular household items for removing rust. Vinegar, for example, can help dissolve rust on metal. Always test any cleaning products on a small area first to make sure there’s no damage.

Key Step: Dos and Don’ts for Removing Rust

DON’T use bleach. Not only does bleach not remove rust – applying chlorine bleach to rust or a rust stain can actually make it a lot worse.

DO scrub it off. For superficial rust, you can usually simply scrub it off before applying any removal solutions. Make sure you only do this on things you don’t mind getting a little scratched, such as tools, dishes and metal fittings. For this, use a wire brush or even a crumpled ball of tin foil to scrub it away. Rust on clothing should not be scrubbed.