3 Natural Fixes to Remove Rust from Metal

What do ketchup, limes, and vinegar have in common? They’re all excellent—and natural—solutions for removing rust. Read on to learn how these pantry staples can restore your metal pieces to their original shine.

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How to Get Rid of Rust - Rusty Metal Pan

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Few things are more unsightly than a sudden smattering of rust spots plaguing your smooth metal surfaces. Whether on a garden tool or the kitchen sink, that dreaded orange color tends to age your favorite belongings, making them appear old and dirty even when they aren’t. While you can’t always prevent this common, moisture-caused chemical reaction from occurring, you can naturally remove it. Try one of these rust-busting recipes to get your metal items looking shiny and new again.

 

MARGARITA METHOD

How to Get Rid of Rust - Salt and Lime

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Believe it or not, a little green lime and its larger yellow cousin—the lemon—can help eliminate rust in its early stages before it reaches the interior metal. Combined with the abrasive benefits of salt, the acidic properties of the citrus fruit make for an effective scrub (and a great margarita!). Start by coating the affected area with a sprinkling of salt. Then, squeeze the juice over the salty surface. After letting the mixture sit for two to three hours, use the rind to rub off the residue and reveal a rust-free result. Finish up by rinsing and drying the piece completely.

 

CONDIMENT CONCOCTION

How to Get Rid of Rust - ketchup

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For this DIY remover, you’ll need to reach into the fridge and grab a popular hot dog topper: ketchup. Mixed with washing soda, this condiment can work wonders, returning your metal items back to their former gleaming glory. To create the concoction, put water and washing soda in a spray bottle, and shake the bottle vigorously. Saturate the rust spots with the mixture, then apply some ketchup to the affected areas. Allow the items to sit for two hours, then rinse with water and wipe dry.

 

“POWER OF THREE” PROCESS

How to Get Rid of Rust - Baking Soda

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Individually, vinegar, baking soda, and salt all make wonderful cleaning agents, but together, they form an extremely effective rust remover. While this process may take a little longer than the others, it’s ideal for cleaning a collection of items at once, such as a set of kitchen utensils. Start by adding ½ cup salt to ½ gallon vinegar in a plastic container. Drop your rusty extras into the solution, and let them soak for about 12 hours. Next, pour out the salt-and-vinegar solution, rinse the metal objects in water, and then immediately return them to the container. Now fill with ½ gallon fresh water and ½ cup baking soda to neutralize any remaining vinegar trapped inside the crevices. After about 10 minutes, rinse the items in warm water, and finish by drying them thoroughly.


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