Rust is what occurs when iron or steel is exposed to air and water. Removing rust stains from surfaces (especially clothing) can be expensive, but it is actually rather simple. Using cleaners containing chemicals is one way to go about it; however, there are many greener remedies and easier ways to remove rust. Some of them are also right in your kitchen. Let us discuss 15 easy ways to remove rust.
1. Tartar and water (to remove rust from clothes)
This is one of the best ways to remove rust stains from clothing and you won’t spend a fortune on this remedy. Simply mix tartar cream with little water (or lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide for non fabrics) and rub it into the stains. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Wash off as usual. This is excellent remedy for Formica and plastic laminates.
2. Salt and lemon juice
This easy way to remove rust stains is especially useful for knives, forks, plastic surfaces or even clothes that are stained with rust. Mix a cup of salt with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. (Note: add the juice little by little at a time to the salt to make a thick paste). Let the paste sit on the stain for 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes, the stain is still there, let it sit for 10 more minutes. If possible, leave the rusted cloth/object in the sun for 10 minutes. Wash the object/cloth after the stain has lightened.
3. Tips for preventing rust
Prevention is always better than the cure and this is especially applicable in case of rust. To prevent your bike, car or other metal objects from rusting, do the following:
- Wax- Waxing, buffing or polishing helps create a barrier that protects the metal surface from interacting with atmospheric moisture. So apply a coating of antirust grease or wax regularly to the object you want to protect.
- Oil- Rubbing oily rags on the metal surfaces can also prevent rusting. This is a technique used by machinists in factories to prevent rust.
- Mineral oil and lanolin- A rag sprayed with anhydrous lanolin and mineral oil also protects the metal from moisture.
- Silica gel-Silica is a dessicant or hygroscopic substance that absorbs the moisture and prevents rust. Through regular use, you can prevent moisture from condensing on the surface of the metal.
- Camphor tablets- These prevent moisture by creating an oily barrier on the metal.
- Kerosene- To prevent rust gathering on garden tools, keep them in a wooden box as wood is dessicant and absorbs moisture. You can also keep a rag soaked in kerosene and use it to wipe down the tools every time you come in after gardening work.
4. Wire brush and sandpaper
The best way and easiest way to remove corrosion that has gone out of hand is to use sandpaper or a wire brush. These abrasives can help you get rid of the surface corrosion. Other surface abrasives like Scotch Brite® which are impregnated with fiberglass and nylon also gently lift rust to reveal the shinier metal beneath. To remove rust from chrome (cars) use aluminum foil.
5. Tomato juice and/or rhubarb juice
Tomato juice can easily remove rust stains from washable surfaces. For delicate fabrics having rust stains, apply some boiled rhubarb juice to the fabric. This remedy will remove rust stains without injury to the fabric.
6. Oyster shells
To prevent containers like tea kettles from rusting, place a clean oyster shell in it.
7. Beeswax or paraffin
This is a remedy to remove rust stains from flat irons used for ironing clothes. Apply some yellow beeswax or paraffin when the iron is warm (not hot). Rub the iron and then run it through sand or salt to immediately remove the stains.
To prevent rust on new tinware, rub it with lard and heat it in an oven. It will never rust afterward even when placed in water.
Vinegar is one of the best ways to remove rust from sinks and faucets. Use white vinegar on a rag and wipe down the sink and faucets with it. This will erase the spots and brighten the sink. (To remove rust from faucets, you can also apply salt and lemon and let sit for 10 minutes before wiping clean.)
10. Coca cola®
Soft drinks like Coca Cola can be used to remove rust stains from the sink or toilet. Pour the entire can on the rusted surface and let sit for a few minutes. Scrub gently with a brush before rinsing clean.
11. Lighter fluid
Note: lighter fluid is flammable-so use this remedy with caution. Pour lighter fluid on the rusted sink/toilet and let it sit for 10 minutes.(Do ensure that the area is well ventilated. Also, always wash off the surface with water when using this rust removal technique). Rinse and polish afterward.
12. Commercial rust removers
There are many good quality commercial rust removal liquids available in the market. Make sure you read their labels first before use. Note that some of these may harm delicate fabrics and many cannot be used on dark colored fabrics.
13. Kool Aid®
This is an easy way to remove rust from concrete. Pour a glass of Kool Aid® on the concrete surface and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Next, use a brush or scrub on the surface, then rinse clean.
14. Tang® breakfast drink for dishwasher rust
This is an easy way for removing dishwasher rust. Pour the Tang® in both detergent cups and run the machine’s easy cycle. You may need several applications in case of heavy staining. Do not add detergent or your dishes when using this rust removal remedy.
15. Onion juice
This is an easy and effective remedy to remove rust from knives. Stick the rusted knife in an onion for 10 minutes. (Rub the knife back and forth so the juice can work its magic!). Rinse clean.
Let us know which remedy helped you!