How Do You Clean Rust Off Metal?

To clean rust off metal, sand or grind the rust off of the surface. Alternately, use a chemical rust removal product to dissolve the rust or seal and repaint the item.

To sand away rust from metal, use steel wool, a wire brush or sandpaper to scrub away rust on the surface. For items that are only lightly rusted, this may remove all or most of the rust. For deeper rust, choose a power sander, oscillating tool or grinder to work at the rust. Choose a sanding tool that matches the shape of the item.

To remove rust from metal using chemicals, make sure the item is clean and free of grease before applying any solutions.

Many commercial rust removal products include harsh chemicals such as hydrochloric acid. However, sometimes rust can come off without the use of harsh chemicals. Try acids such as lemon juice or white vinegar before attempting to use commercial products.

If lemon juice or vinegar do not work, try removing rust with a commercial product. Some products are designed to work as baths and some are designed to brush on the rust. Use the product as directed by the manufacturer.

To remove rust with a sealant, clean the item thoroughly to get rid of dirt and debris. Use a wire brush to remove dust and flaky paint, and then brush on a rust converter product. Rust converters are products that kill rust and keep it from spreading to other parts of the item. Brush or spray the converter onto the item as directed.

For painted items, apply a coat of paint to cover up the rust mark. For unpainted items, apply a second coat of converter to seal in the rust.