Rust is a fact of life, especially if you live in a humid climate. Removing rust from metal items can be relatively easy and inexpensive. The secret ingredient for this process is plain old vinegar. Vinegar is a mild ascetic acid solution that works great not just as a rust remover but also as a pretty good degreaser.
To use vinegar to remove, you’ll need a few items. First, of course, you’ll need something rusty from which to remove the rust. You’ll need a container that can hold the rusty item. Remember that vinegar is a mild acid, so it can attack metal as well as rust. Use an old pan of some kind or find a container made of glass or plastic. Last, you’ll need some household vinegar. Plain white vinegar is sold at the grocery store in gallon bottles.
Removing the Rust
Place your rusty items in your container and pour in enough vinegar to cover the items. Let the items soak until the rust is gone. You might want to do this out of doors, since vinegar can be a bit smelly. Check on the items periodically, and remove them from the vinegar bath as soon as the rust is gone. Depending on the level of rust, this can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight.
Prevent Further Damage
Since vinegar is an acid, once the rust is gone, you will need to rinse the items well in warm water to remove all traces of the vinegar. To prevent further rusting, dry the item very well. A blow dryer is great for removing any last traces of moisture. If the item is one that is not frequently used, you should consider applying a light coat of oil to protect it from atmospheric moisture, especially if you live in a humid climate.
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“Tried and True Recipes for a Less Hazardous Home.” Outagamie Cooperative Extension. University of Wisconsin, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2010. <outagamie.uwex.edu/documents/TriedandTrueRecipes.pdf>.