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Have you ever gone to grab your gardening tools, only to realize that they’ve gotten a bit rusty? (Or even worse, they’ve gotten a LOT rusty!) It’s easy to think that your tools are beyond saving, but don’t throw them out just yet! There are plenty things you can use to remove rust from metal. And you probably already have many of them at home!

Today I’ll be sharing 6 different ways you can clean rust and rust stains, using everyday items from around the house. These methods are quick, easy, and effective at removing rust from all kinds of items! Give them a try, and you’ll find that rust is no match for your cleaning prowess! 🙂


6 Ways To Remove Rust Using Everyday Items

removing rust with vinegar

1. Vinegar

The best way to remove rust from small items is to soak them in vinegar. Just let the rusty item soak for a few days, then give it a scrub. Repeat as needed until all the rust is gone. It’s effective, and it requires almost no effort. (Just a bit of patience!)

Related: 50 Amazing Uses For Vinegar You’ll Want To Know

removing rust with lemon and salt

2. Lemon & Salt

If you need to remove a rust stain from clothing or other fabric, grab a lemon and some coarse salt. Sprinkle the rust stain with salt, then squeeze half a lemon over the salt. Let it sit for an hour or two, then scrub the stain with the lemon rind. Launder as usual to remove the rust residue, salt, and lemon juice.

removing rust with baking soda

3. Baking Soda

If you have rust in a hard-to-reach area, a baking soda paste is likely your best bet! Just mix a handful of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Then spread the paste over the rusty area, and scrub with an old toothbrush. Let the paste sit for an hour or two, then scrub again. Rinse the paste off, then dry the item thoroughly.

4. Potato & Dish Soap

As strange as it sounds, you can use a potato and a bit of dish soap to remove rust! Start by cutting a potato in half, then place the cut end of the potato in a shallow dish of Dawn dish soap. Let it soak in the soap for a few minutes.

Next, use the soapy potato to rub the rusted area. The soap helps remove general grime, while the oxalic acid in the potato helps break up the rust. Once the rust is gone, rinse and dry the item thoroughly.

removing rust with sand paper

5. Sand Paper

If you’re dealing with a really thick layer of rust, it’s best to start by removing some of it using good ol’ elbow grease. Grab a coarse grit sand paper and start scrubbing at the rusty area. As you remove more rust, switch to a finer grit sand paper to avoid damaging the metal underneath.

Once you’ve sanded the rust down to a more manageable level, try one of the other methods listed here to remove the rest.

removing rust with bar keeper's friend

6. Bar Keepers Friend

If you’ve tried other methods and nothing seems to be working, reach for Bar Keepers Friend. This scouring powder contains oxalic acid, which reacts with iron compounds in the rust and makes it much easier to scrub away. (But be sure to wear protective gloves when using BKF, because it can easily irritate skin!)

removing rust with bar keeper's friend

Use a wet sponge and a sprinkle of Bar Keepers Friend to scrub the rusty item. Then let it sit for a minute or two, and rinse the item thoroughly. Rust doesn’t usually stand a chance against this stuff!

tools on a magnet

How To Prevent Rust From Forming

The best defense is a good offense, and it’s no different with rust. You don’t have to remove rust if it never forms in the first place! 🙂 So how do you keep your things rust-free?

The most important thing you can do is keep things dry. Moisture is almost always the culprit behind rusted metal. You should dry any metal item promptly if it gets wet. And be sure to keep your tools somewhere you know they will stay dry!

What’s the rustiest item you’ve ever cleaned up?

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