When water finds its way to the surface of a metal tool and sits there for days on end, the result is that an oxidation process can take place and leave your tool rusty. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of the road for that item; it will take elbow grease, but you’ll be glad to know that the rust can be removed from a metal surface.
1. Baking soda
Rinse the metal item and shake dry. Dust with baking soda (it will stick to the damp areas), making sure to cover all rusty areas. Leave the item for an hour or so, then scour with steel wool or a metal brush, removing it down to the metal. (If cleaning a pan, use a scouring pad.) Rinse, and towel dry. This method is best used on less severe rust, baking pans, light rust rings, thin metal. An advantage of this method is that it is a simple method using one cheap, common ingredient. Regarding the disadvantage, we can say that it takes up to one hour before you can really start to work away from the rust. The key to rust removal is using the steel wool or scouring pad, so be prepared to use some elbow grease.
2. Vinegar bath
Submerge your item in white vinegar and let sit overnight. Remove your item and scrape with a metal brush or steel wool. If your item can’t be submerged, soak rags in white vinegar and wrap the rusted area. This method is best used on significant rust found on tools or items that are all steel and can be submerged without compromising the integrity of other surfaces. An advantage of this method is that it is very easy “let sit and forget” method. Takes hardly any elbow grease to work away from the rust once you remove an item from the vinegar. Regarding the disadvantage, we can say that the item needs to soak overnight, so it takes a while to achieve results.
3. Potato and dish soap
Sounds crazy, but it works like a charm! Cut your potato in half and cover the open end with dish soap. Use the potato like you would a scouring pad and watch the rust fade away as it reacts with the soap and potato. This method is best used on small, less-stubborn rust stains on easy-to-reach surfaces. An advantage of this method is that it is an easy and relatively fast method for removing rust. Works great on kitchen appliances. Uses items you probably already have in your pantry. Regarding the disadvantage, we can say that this is probably the messiest method for removing rust. Be sure to work over a sink, or somewhere outdoors where cleanup is easy.
4. Citric acid
You might not have this laying around the house, but it can be easily found at most health food stores. Add a few inches of hot water to a bowl and sprinkle in 2-3 tablespoons of the citric acid. Submerge your item and let sit overnight, remove in the morning, scrub off lingering rust flecks with a brush, rinse, and pat dry.
5. Lemon and salt
Generously coat the rusted area with a layer of salt, cut a lemon (or lime) in half, and squeeze the juice over the salt. Let the mixture sit, then scrub away the rust with the rind. If rust remains, repeat the procedure and let the salt and juice sit for another hour or two, until rust disappears completely. Rinse, then pat dry.