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How to remove rust

Removing rust can be a pesky job that's difficult to find time for. Make it an easy DIY task with our how to guide.

Removing rust from metal can seem like an impossible task. However, it’s not always an option to throw your metal item away and replace it with a new one.

Here, we’ll show you how to remove rust. But first, here are the tools you’ll need.

Tools required for the job:

  • White wine vinegar
  • Cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Aluminium foil
  • Steel wool
  • Old rag

How to remove rust

There are a few different ways to remove rust from metal. We’ve listed some of the most effective methods below.

Method 1: Use vinegar

For metal items that are fairly small, it’s best to soak them in white wine vinegar overnight.

The next morning, use a ball of steel wool to scrape the rust away. For items that are too big to soak overnight, submerge an old rag in the vinegar and wrap it around the item.

white wine vinegar

Method 2: Salt and lemon

This method is effective for small amounts of rust on tools and cutlery, for example. Sprinkle salt over the item and then squeeze the juice of a lemon over it. Use the lemon rind to scrub away the rust.

Method 3: Baking soda

Commonly found in your kitchen cupboard, baking soda is a versatile ingredient that is fantastic at tackling tough cleaning jobs.

Sprinkle it over your rusty item, leave for at least an hour and then scrub it with steel wool to get rid of the rust.

Cleaning rust off radiators

Radiators are prone to rust, but it can make your space feel a little tired. It’s best to keep on top of rust and clean it off as soon as you spot the signs of it. Here’s how we recommend doing so.

How to fix a rusty radiator

White wine vinegar is a fantastic natural cleaner that will clean your radiators without damaging them.

  1. Take a clean piece of cloth and soak it in the white wine vinegar.
  2. Use it to scrub the rust off your radiators.
  3. If possible, soak multiple cloths, place them on the areas of rust, and leave for at least a few hours.

Top tip: Aluminium foil is much softer than steel wool. Soak a strip of aluminium foil in water and slowly rub it on the rusted parts of your radiator. Be patient and you’ll be sure to see results.

Cleaning a radiator with a cloth

Treating rust on radiators

We all know that prevention is better than cure. Now you know how to clean the rust off your radiators properly, let’s look at how to prevent them from rusting in the future.

  1. Flush your radiators. Water reacts with steel to produce rust. Flushing your radiators can help to prevent leaks which can, in turn, prevent rust from forming.
  2. Protect the chrome plating. Radiators are coated in chrome plating to help prevent their stainless steel bodies from coming into contact with moisture and oxygen in the atmosphere. Try and protect the chrome plating at all costs because when this is damaged it will undoubtedly cause rusty patches on your radiators.

Top tips for rust removal

  • An unusual but effective tip for removing rust is using a potato and soap. Cut the potato in half and coat it in soap. Place the potato on the area of rust and leave it for at least a few hours to work its magic.
  • Invest in a rust converter, which will stop rust from reappearing on your radiator or metal object. It comes in a spray and acts as a protective barrier.
  • WD-40 is another way to remove rust from metal. It can also prevent rust from forming in the future.
  • You can also try Coca-Cola for removing small patches of rust! Because it’s a carbonated drink, it is known to break up rust on a variety of metals

Finally, don’t forget that if you don’t have the time to remove rust from your radiators, you can hire a professional to help you.

At Checkatrade, our approved tradespeople have to pass up to 12 rigorous checks to be in our directory, so you know you’re getting a quality service that you can trust.

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