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How to remove rust from metal

Many household items are prone to rusting, especially those that are made of iron or steel and are exposed to air and moisture. This not only makes them look tatty, but also can make them prone to breaking.

If you’re looking to get rid of some unsightly rust on your tools, bicycles, kitchen utensils or anywhere else you find it, follow these helpful steps.

How to remove rust from metal

Removing rust from metal, including how to remove rust from tools, can be achieved in several ways. Here are a few methods for you to choose from:

Manual removal

You can remove rust from tools, utensils and metal in general using:

Wire brush: For light rusting, such as that which appears on kitchen utensils when you leave them to drip dry after washing, you can simply scrub it off with a wire brush.

Steel wool: For delicate surfaces, like polished metal, you can use fine-grade steel wool to scrub away rust. Surprisingly, a splash of water can also help, but make sure to dry it completely afterwards or you’ll create more rust!

Sandpaper: For more extensive rusting, scrub with a rough-grit sandpaper, using progressively finer grits as you progress.

If you’re looking for a professional rust-removal service, contact a local metal worker or metal restoration specialist.

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Chemical removal

To remove extensive rusting, you might need some chemical assistance. There are different acid-based chemicals you can apply to rust to make it much easier to remove. Here are some items you can use:

Commercial rust remover: There are tonnes of rust-removal products on the market, including Hammerite’s Rust Remover Gel, Rustin’s Rust Remover and CRC’s Evapo-Rust. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for safe use.

White vinegar: Soak small items in white vinegar overnight then scrub away the rust. For larger items, you may need to soak a cloth and wrap it around the rusted parts.

Lemon juice: As with the vinegar, submerge rusted items in the lemon juice or apply it to rusted areas, then scrub away once the rust is loosened after several hours.

The chemical reaction that happens when you mix acid with iron oxide (rust) enables you to easily wipe it away, making it an efficient solution.

How to remove rust stains from clothes

Rust can also create stubborn stains on your clothes, but there are ways you can remove it, such as:

Household acids: Just as with rusted metal, you can apply mild acids to it, such as those found in vinegar and lemon juice, to make the rust removable. Apply some to the stain and allow it to dry, then wash the clothing item as normal.

Stain-removal products: Both Ariel and Vanish claim their products can remove rust stains from clothes, so give these a try if your at-home methods fail.

How to remove paint from metal

Removing paint from metal is fairly similar to the process of removing rust. Here’s how you can do it:

Manual removal: You can use sandpaper to scrape away paint from metal, as well as paint scrapers or putty knives. Scrape as gently as possible if the metal is delicate.

Chemical removal: For harder-to-remove paint, use a chemical paint stripper, like Rustin’s Strypit. These products loosen the paint and make it much easier to scrape off.

Heat gun: Heat guns are sometimes used to essentially destroy the paint through heat, making it easier to remove. Heat guns are held a few inches away from the paint and moved back and forth until the paint bubbles, then the paint is scraped away.

Remember to wear appropriate safety gear when dealing with these tools and chemicals, as they can be very dangerous if handled incorrectly.

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