How to Remove Rust From Your Fixtures

Time: 15-60 minutes

Most homes have at least a few metal parts that are subject to rust over time. Rust occurs when ferrous — that is, iron-based — metals become oxidized and turn that classic red-orange color. This form of decay can eat through the metal and cause structural failures to pipes, metal roofs, wrought iron fencing and even doors. If you see something, do something! Here's how to remove rust from household fixtures and prevent further damage.

What's in it for you?

  • Improved curb appeal
  • Longer lasting fixtures
  • Protection from damage and decay

How to Remove Rust From Household Fixtures:

  1. Scour with steel wool. Light rust can be removed from just about any household fixture with a little elbow grease. Use a wire brush or a steel wool pad to brush away flakes of rust. Start with light pressure applied in a circular motion, taking care not to cause any scratches or gouges.

  2. Apply white vinegar. The acid in ordinary kitchen vinegar will help break down rust, either dissolving it or making it easier to brush away with steel wool. For stubborn rust spots, apply vinegar with a sponge or cover a large area with a vinegar-soaked rag for 30 to 60 minutes.

  3. Try a baking soda paste. For areas where it's hard to get vinegar to stay in place, just add some water to baking soda to make a thick paste. Brush the paste onto the rust, and allow to soak for 30 to 60 minutes before scrubbing it away with steel wool. Repeat as needed.

  4. Apply a rust-resistant metal primer. To protect your newly clean metal surface, paint over the new metal with a metal primer. These primers are designed to seal over rust and prevent its spread, so they're perfect for areas where you might have missed a spot or two.

  5. Apply a finish coat. This step isn't necessary for basement pipes or other items that aren't seen, but anything facing the public should be repainted with an appropriate metal paint. Rust-Oleum is a classic choice, but your local hardware store will have additional recommendations.

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