How to clean rust off of metal with this all natural removal method using inexpensive pantry items! Skip the chemical rust removers and use this non-toxic technique to restore your cast iron, tools, knives and more in just minutes.
I used to think it was hard to remove rust from metal items- and only through harsh chemicals. A few years ago, I pulled out my cast iron pans that I hadn't used in a while only to find a layer of rust on a couple of them. I didn't want to have to run to the store for a chemical remover, so I did a little research and found a couple of great all-natural ways to clean rust. I was skeptical at first, but couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how quickly this one in particular worked!
- white vinegar
- aluminum foil (for tough stains use steel wool)
It is easier to do this rust removal technique if you pour the vinegar into a bowl rather than trying to pour it directly onto the metal item itself. I just use a small ramekin. For larger projects, you may need a larger bowl. Just remember you will be throwing away (or storing in a separate container) any leftover vinegar. Luckily vinegar is pretty inexpensive and I typically buy it in the large gallon to 2 gallon containers.
Cut a foot long length or so of aluminum foil and scrunch it up into a loose ball. Dip foil into vinegar and immediately begin to scrub rusted area with foil. Pat dry with an old towel. There may be black or rust on it still, so it's best not to use a towel you care about just in case it stains.
It comes off relatively quickly and easily. I couldn't believe how fast this iron handle on my copper pot cleaned up! This technique works wonderfully on cast iron cookware, knives, and other rusted metals. If you have a small item that has significant rust, you can always soak the item in vinegar as well.
Here are a couple of other alternatives if you don't have vinegar on hand:
- Lemon juice and salt- cut a lemon in half and dip it in salt. Scrub the area with the lemon and use steel wool after if it isn't cleaning up easily.
- Baking soda- make a paste of baking soda and water. Coat rusted area with paste and let sit for a few hours. Use a toothbrush to scrub off the paste, then rinse and pat dry.
I hope some of these easy DIY rust removal techniques help you to restore your favorite tools and cookware! Are there any all natural methods that I missed? I would love to hear about them in the comments!
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This is so great to know. I have a few metal pieces that have been stored way to long and have become rusty in spots. I have a washboard the metal grates are rusty so I sanded them a bit but I can still clearly see the rust. Do you have any suggestions for rust on fabrics and mildew on fabrics that were stored in totes and I had them outside and didn't realize the rain had gotten inside. Thanks so very much!
Fabric is much harder and usually stains. I have had good luck with soaking them in Oxyclean though!
I always clean copper with salt and lemon. Works great. Also use a battery operated toothbrush on hard to clean
spots especially antique silver frames.