Rust may seem like the end of the road, but it’s possible to save those oxidized objects. Once you learn how to remove rust, you’ll be able to make that hammer or expensive chef’s knife look as good as new.
There are a number of different methods for removing rust, and many of them use items you already have in your kitchen. Discover seven ways to remove rust and bring your metal back to life.
1. Remove rust with white vinegar
Is there anything vinegar can’t clean? To tackle items with significant rust, submerge your rusty tools or knives in a bowl of vinegar and let them sit overnight. Once they have had a good soak, remove them from the vinegar and scrub the rust off with steel wool or a wire brush. (This may require some elbow grease.) If there are some remaining rust spots, repeat the process and soak the object longer. Once all the rust has been removed, clean with dish soap and water and dry thoroughly.
2. Remove rust with baking soda
Baking soda works well on items with light rust stains. It also works well on items made out of thin metal. Mix water and baking soda into a thick paste and spread the paste all over the metal, making sure that rusty spots are well covered. Let the paste sit on the object for an hour or so. Use steel wool or a wire brush to scour the object and remove the rust. Rinse the paste off with water and dry thoroughly.
3. Remove rust with lemon and salt
This technique combines the acidity of the lemon with the abrasiveness of the salt to tackle small rust spots. Cover the rusted areas with salt and then squeeze lemon juice over the layer of salt. Let the salt and lemon mixture sit for about two hours. Scrub the object with the lemon rind, or if the spots are stubborn, use steel wool or a wire brush. Rinse off the lemon, salt, and rust residue, and dry thoroughly.
4. Remove rust with dish soap and a salted potato
You heard us right: a potato. All potatoes contain oxalic acid, which is a key ingredient in many cleaning products. Oxalic acid dissolves rust, and the For pieces of metal without detailing or relief work, you can use regular dish soap and a potato to scrub rust away. Slice a potato in half, cover the cut section with dish soap, and sprinkle salt (or baking soda) onto the potato. Salt/baking soda acts as a mild abrasive to help scrape the rust off as it dissolves. Rub the rusted area with the potato to remove the rust. Rinse and dry well.
5. Remove rust with citric acid
Citric acid, which can be found in health food stores and in the baking aisle of some supermarkets, works like a charm when it comes to removing rust, but it will also remove paint and other coatings, so it may not be the best method for all pieces. Add three tablespoons of citric acid to a bowl of hot water and submerge your rusty metal overnight. The next day, scrub off the freshly dissolved rust.
6. Use a chemical solution like Metal Glo to get rid of rust
In addition to the above DIY methods, you can remove rust from metal with a chemical solution like Metal Glo. It’s formulated for safe use on knives, silverware, cookware, and even jewelry. When cleaning your knives, make sure to rub Metal Glo along the grain pattern to avoid scratching the metal.
7. Remove rust on large objects with naval jelly (but keep it away from knives!)
If you’re looking for something to remove rust from large objects around your house (like patio furniture, barbecue grills, tools, lawn mowers, bikes, iron railings, mailboxes, lampposts, et cetera) you can also turn to a heavy-duty solution like Naval Jelly. To use Naval Jelly, you spray or paint the solution on the rusted object. The rust dissolves in 5 to 10 minutes. Note: This is only for objects with thick metals, such as those listed above. It should never be used on thin metal or stainless steel.
How to prevent rust before it ever starts
Now that your metal objects are rust-free, how do you keep them sparkling? Water is the main culprit when it comes to rust, so it’s key to keep objects clean and dry. Knives should be washed and dried as soon as possible after use. (Don’t let them sit in the sink and avoid putting them in the dishwasher.) Store metal objects, including tools, in a dry area with low humidity.
You can also apply a protective coating to prevent rust from forming on metal surfaces. Use a soft cloth to apply a small amount of mineral oil to the knife—including the joints—two to three times per year. Tools can be treated with paste wax or WD-40.
Feature Image: Unsplash
This originally appeared on AD CLEVER | Kristi Kellogg