I’ve tried almost every method to remove rust from metal parts! In the above VIDEO I show my favorite method for removing rust from metal parts – specifically traditional woodworking hand tool parts – but it’ll work for most other metal parts, like auto parts.
But first let me tell you about the other methods that haven’t worked very well for me:
- Electrolisys with a car battery charger didn’t work very well, and is quite difficult to setup
- Evaporust worked great the first time, but not so well when I bought a smaller container…go figure. But is really expensive.
- Krud Kutter didn’t work, and it’s expensive when you break it down to a per-ounce cost
- Vinegar sort of worked, but not perfectly…I had some strange issues with the metal afterwards
I hate rust because it causes corrosion and pitting on metal tools. So what worked the best at rust removal? A Citric Acid solution! Sound complicated or dangerous? Well, it’s not. It’s safe on the environment & hands, and it is the least expensive method I’ve found.
Supplies that you’ll need:
Here’s a list of everything that you’ll need to remove rust from your metal tools (along with updated links to the best prices I’ve found):
- Citric Acid (5 lb. bag will last you for a long time and is the most economical)
- Rubber gloves (will prevent pain if you have any cuts on your hands)
- Small wire brushes
- Mineral Spirits or Lacquer Thinner
- Zep Citrus Degreaser (I like the 1 gallon size) or Simple Green degreaser (I use Zep for removing grime from my road bikes)
- Spray bottle for the degreaser
- Oil or spray lubricant (I love this DuPont teflon chain-saver lube)
- Plastic container that will hold your metal parts (a used ice cream tub works great)
- Paper towels and a black towel (for quick drying)
- Place your metal parts into your plastic container and decide how much warm water you’ll need to add to just cover the parts
- Remove the parts and fill with the container with enough warm water to just cover the metal tool parts that you’ll add
- Add ¼ – ½ Cup of Citric Acid to the warm water while stirring…this creates a solution
- Stick your metal parts into the solution
- If you don’t see bubbles after a minute or two, just add another 1/4 cup of citric acid
- After an hour, use a wire brush to loosen the rust
- If it doesn’t loosen very well, leave it for another hour or two until it scrubs off more easily
- Quickly dry the parts with a large black towel and immediately lubricate with oil or spray lubricant…or else rust will appear within a couple minutes.
- That’s it! You may choose to polish the parts up since they’ll have a matte finish.
What are your favorite methods for rust removal? Please comment below!