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Rust on metal doesn’t always mean the item is destined for the bin. If you take time, patience and a little elbow grease, you can remove rust from many metal surfaces and have your tools, knives and pans looking as good as new.

In this blog we look at 5 ways to remove rust from metal, like stainless steel, using simple household items.

1. Vinegar bath

Best used on items that are all steel or on tools with significant rust, a vinegar bath takes very little elbow grease to work away the rust once soaked. Despite the fact the item needs to sit overnight for the best results, this rust removal method is simple to perform and can be left to work without the need to keep an eye on it.

Method: Leave your rusty item in white vinegar submerged fully overnight. Once soaked, remove and scrape the rust with a metal brush or steel wool. For items that cannot be removed and submerged, you can soak a rag in white vinegar and wrap around the rusted area.

2. Potato and soap

For rust on easy-to-reach surfaces with less-stubborn, smaller stains, the potato and dish soap method is an easy and fast technique for removing rust. It works great on kitchen appliances, but should be done over a sink as it can get messy.

Method: Slice a potato in half and cover the exposed end in dish soap. Use the potato like you would a scouring pad, as this creates a chemical reaction with the rust that makes it easier to remove.

3. Lemon and salt

If you’re looking to remove rust stains from items with small amounts of rust, including kitchen knives, this method is for you. The lemon and salt option uses two items commonly found in the home and requires much less effort.

Method: Coat the area of rust in a layer of salt and squeeze the juice of a cut lemon or lime over the salt. Leave the mixture to sit and then scrub the rust away with the rind of the fruit. Repeat the process until the dust disappears completely before rinsing and patting dry.

4. Baking soda

This cheap common ingredient works wonders for rusty baking pans, thin metal and light rusted rings. Although it can often take one hour to work away the rust, the initial process is simple to follow.

Method: Rinse your metal item and shake dry before dusting it with the baking soda, covering all areas of rust. Leave for an hour and then scour with a metal brush or steel wool before rinsing and finally towel drying.

5. Citric acid

For larger patches of rust found on items such as tools, citric acid is the perfect solution. However, it will remove paint and so should be used on metal items that can be submerged without compromising any surrounding surfaces.

Method: Use 2-3 tablespoons of citric acid in a bowl of hot water. Place your metal item fully into the bowl and let it sit overnight. Remove and scrub off lingering rust with a brush, before rinsing and patting dry.

Metals like stainless steel are popular and versatile materials to use. However, they are prone to rust, particularly in the household where they are exposed to regular use and the potential for oxidation.

At Metals Warehouse, we have over 20 years of experience providing metals for a wide range of applications from industrial to everyday DIY jobs. Contact us today and see what we can do for you!