{Green Living} How to Remove Rust from Metal

 Photo: Cat Sidh

Rust is another name for iron oxide, which occurs when iron or an alloy that contains iron, like steel, is exposed to oxygen and moisture for a long period of time. Over time, the oxygen combines with the metal at an atomic level, forming a new compound called an oxide and weakens the bonds of the metal itself.

The main reason for the rusting process is water. Iron or steel structures might appear to be solid, but water molecules can penetrate the microscopic pits and cracks in any exposed metal. The hydrogen atoms present in water molecules can combine with other elements to form acids, which will eventually cause more metal to be exposed.

Rust formation cannot be stopped easily, but metals can be treated to resist the most damaging effects. Some are protected by water-resistant paints, preventative coatings or other chemical barriers, such as oil. It also is possible for one to reduce the chances of rust forming by using a dehumidifier or desiccant to help remove moisture from the air, but this usually is effective only in relatively small areas.

We all have metal tools at home – in the shed, in the kitchen or in the garden. It is such a pity when rust sometimes takes them away from us. But there are a few very effective and cheap ways to make your metal tools shine.

Here are three videos to help you remove rust.

Of all the tools used to clean rust from metal, baking soda is one that you may already own. Use it to get rid of surface rust on smaller objects.

Here is a simple, earth-friendly advice for removing rust from any gardening tool  with the help of linseed oil, vegetable oil and sand.

To remove rust from baking pans, rinse the pan completely, sprinkle the pan with baking soda, allow the baking soda to sit on the pan for 30 minutes, and buff the baking soda using fine steel wool or an abrasive sponge.

How do you make sure your tools are rust-free and clean? Share with us in the comments!

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  1. Stephanie Danz says:

    I have a question. I have several grozing pliers that I use in my stained glass studio that have become frozen, rusted really. Any ideas into getting them to open and close again? I have used PB blaster, wd 40, kerosene, etc. I may give the coke a shot and try the baking soda. But if anyone else has a solution, I would love to hear it. Brute strength doesn’t do the trick either! :)
    Thanks for any help!

  2. Betsy Marshall says:

    a trick I use on really rusted items is to soak in cola(coke,pepsi, drpepper) for a few hours- the phosphoric acid helps stop the oxidation and releases a good bit of the oxides already formed; down side is it gets sticky and must be washed thoroughly. after that a quick rub with steel wool should get of most of what is left. top dress with a light machine oil and you should be good for many more months. hope that helps!