I have always been a lover of rust, patina, character and charm when it comes to the things I surround myself with . . . and I don’t think that comes as a surprise to anyone here! I love the colors and textures that age gives to pieces of the past, but there are times when rust inhibits the beauty of a piece or is harmful to the future of a beloved heirloom. Today on Before & After Basics, I will present some simple steps for putting a little love into those rusty spots and making them fresh again. — Barb
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- wire brush or metal cleaning pad
- steel wool
- rust removal kit
- commercial rust cleaner (in this case, use gloves and a mask for protection)
- baking soda and vinegar (the environmentally friendly way!)
1. First remove all loose rust by scrubbing with a wire brush, steel wool or metal cleaning pad. These will all do the trick for most small- to medium-sized rust projects. You can also purchase rust removal tool kits at your local hardware store for more intense projects.
2. Apply the rust remover of choice to your piece. There are several commercial products that you can use, like Rustaid, but I prefer Naval Jelly. I like the Naval Jelly for its thick, gel-like consistency, which clings to the piece and because it tends to work rather quickly . . . and by quickly, I mean 10 minutes. Then you simply wipe off with a rag. Just make sure that you are either working outside or in a well-ventilated area while using these harsh chemicals. Gloves and a mask are also needed for your protection.
3. There are some home remedies that can be just as effective. A cocktail of white vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice works great for small projects that you can soak. Just place the item in the vinegar solution for about 10 minutes, and then remove and wipe down with a rag or steel wool. Really stubborn stains may require a second soak, and for larger items that you can’t soak, just scrub them down with the vinegar solution, wait 10 to 20 minutes, and then give them a once over with a wire brush. For really tough stains, this will take some elbow grease!
4. After all of the rust has been dissolved and removed, make sure to protect your item using a finishing wax, or paint it with a rust-free primer and paint.
The thing to remember about rust removal is that even though there are only a few simple steps to this project, it is a messy job that takes patience and sweat to accomplish. It will come off, and some things quicker than others, but don’t give up! If you research this topic at all on the Internet, there are several different products and approaches to removing rust, but those mentioned above are the ones that I have found get the job done the best . . . for me. Happy scrubbing!