Testing out homemade rust removers

Read on to discover our guide to removing rust with vinegar or coke.

Updated 14 November 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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Key Steps

  • Soak or spray the rust with vinegar or Coke

  • Leave the vinegar to soak for three days, or Coke for 24 hours

  • Scrub away the rust

  • Use baking soda and water for stubborn rust spots

  • For a faster solution for outdoor surfaces, try a specialist cleaner like Cif Outdoor Rust Spray

Ever wondered what gets rid of rust? Did you know that plenty of everyday household products in your cupboard can help easily remove rust on taps, furniture tools and more?  Here, you can find two tried and tested methods for removing rust with vinegar and baking soda as well as coke.

Wondering what removes rust without the soaking time? Vinegar and Coke are handy when you don’t have a specialist cleaner in the cupboard, but Cif Outdoor Rust Spray is a quicker solution for a range of outdoor surfaces.

How to remove rust using vinegar: rust removal tips and tricks

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use homemade rust remover, vinegar and salt or baking soda will do the trick. According to a University of Hawaii study, the acetic acid in vinegar is an effective rust remover.[1] Here is our guide to using vinegar for rust removal.

  • If you have things which are rusty and can be removed, you can place them into a bowl.

  • Add white vinegar to completely cover the rusted area.

  • Add ¼ cut of salt to your bowl and evenly spread over the rust.

  • Leave for up to three days to soak off the rust.

  • Buff away the rust using steel wool or a metal scrubbing brush.

  • Rinse the items thoroughly and ensure they are fully dry to prevent rust from returning.

  • Using two-parts water and one-part baking soda, create a second soak.

  • Allow your rusty items to soak for around ten minutes.

  • Any stubborn rust spots should now be easier to scrub away.

  • If your item is too big to soak, or cannot easily be removed, simply pour or spray vinegar directly over the rusty area; allow it to soak and scrub off the rust.

How to use Coke to remove rust

With the steps above, you can remove rust with vinegar and baking soda... but did you know you can do the same with Coke?

  • The steps for using Coke to remove rust are similar to removing rust with vinegar: leave to soak, scrub and rinse.

  • Instead of soaking for three days, Coke only needs 24 hours.

  • If you have items which cannot be soaked, such as taps, motorcycle parts and more, simply dip aluminium foil into Coke and scrub the rust away.

  • Don’t forget to dry the item off thoroughly after removing the rust.

Quick Tip: You can also use Coke to clean tarnished chrome.

How to remove rust with a potato and baking soda

Because of the oxalic acid in a potato, the vegetable can also remove rust.[2] Besides, potatoes can also act as a gentle abrasive material. Here’s how you can use the vegetable as a DIY rust remover for metal:

  1. 1

    Take the potato and slice it in half.

  2. 2

    Sprinkle about a tablespoon of baking soda onto the cut side.

  3. 3

    Use the cut side to scrub the rusted area of the metal.

  4. 4

    If you’re dealing with serious corrosion, add more baking soda to the affected area.

  5. 5

    Rinse the rusted spots with water and use a clean towel to dry them.

Using cream of tartar as a DIY rust remover for metal

You can also use cream of tartar, which can usually be found in the baking aisle of supermarkets. Here are the steps:

  1. 1

    Mix a cup of white vinegar with one-fourth cup of cream of tartar until you get a paste-like consistency.

  2. 2

    Apply the paste onto the rusted areas.

  3. 3

    Let the paste sit on the affected spots for more than five minutes.

  4. 4

    Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the rusted spots.

  5. 5

    Rinse the area with warm water and dry it with a clean cloth.

Pro Tip: Check out our guide on how to remove rust in the kitchen and bathroom for more cleaning hacks!

How do you remove rust with ketchup?

Ketchup, with its acidic properties, can be used as a surprising remedy to remove rust from certain surfaces. The natural acidity in ketchup, primarily attributed to the vinegar and tomato content, helps break down rust over time.

To use ketchup for rust removal, simply apply a generous amount to the affected area and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Then, scrub the rusted surface with a brush or sponge, and rinse thoroughly with water. Repeat the process if necessary. It's important to note that this method is more effective for smaller rust stains and may not work on heavily rusted or corroded surfaces.

Now you know what removes rust and can be found at home you can be sure to keep metal around your home sparkling and rust free. For more rust removal tips, why not read our article on 'how to remove rust from metal'.

FAQs on homemade rust removers

Q. What is the best homemade rust remover?

A combination of vinegar and baking powder can be a potent rust remover. Create a paste using the two ingredients, then rub it onto the affected areas. Let the paste work for over 30 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

Q. What dissolves rust quickly?

Oxalic acid is a commercial-grade product that can quickly dissolve rust. You can use it if you’ve found that using vinegar, baking soda and sanding doesn’t do the trick.

Q. Can vinegar dissolve rust?

Yes, but you’ll need to soak the rusted material in vinegar for at least 24 hours before you can see the effects.

Q. Can baking soda remove rust?

Bicarbonate of soda is effective enough in removing light rust stains. To boost its potency, use it with vinegar and lemon.


1. Ross, E. (1964). The Effectiveness of Dilute Acetic Acid Solutions in Removing Rust Stains from Eggs. Poultry Science. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.0431601

2. Giacomelli, C., Giacomelli, F. C., Baptista, J., & Spinelli, A. (2004). The effect of oxalic acid on the corrosion of carbon steel. Anti-corrosion Methods and Materials, 51(2), 105–111. https://doi.org/10.1108/00035590410523193

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