Rust happens slowly. Without you noticing it builds up on pots, pans, furniture and metal fixtures. Removing rust is a tricky task that everyone eventually has to do. Tricks for getting rid of rust without introducing unpleasant chemicals into the mix can make this cleaning a lot more palatable.
Another good strategy is to take measures to prevent rust from springing up in the first place. Rust happens as metal oxidise. Iron comes into contact with water and rust forms.
Use a toothbrush
You want to use something that’s tough but won’t scratch whatever you’re trying to get the rust off. You don’t want to damage it or create additional opportunities for rust to form. A toothbrush is gentle but has enough bristles to have a lot of cleaning power.
Vinegar is a powerful cleaner. It can kill mould and bacteria. It also doesn’t agree with rust. You can dilute it with water or spray it directly on the rust. Let it sit for longer for stubborn rust. You can leave it for up to 24 hours. You can get large jugs of cheap vinegar at most grocery stores. Open a window or the room will smell like vinegar for a day or two.
Leaving metal items from tweezers to pots and pans to air dry is a recipe for rust. Dry items that might rust with a towel.
Use charcoal briquettes
Briquettes absorb moisture from the air making them a great way to keep metal objects you don’t want rusting dry. Put them in a cloth baggie to avoid the spreading or dust and charcoal. Place a sack in with your tools or other metal objects.
Lime and salt
This combination is perfect for following a tequila shot and can help get rust off as well. Spread salt on the area of rust and squeeze a lime on the salt. Let it sit for two or three hours. You can use the rind to scrub with. If you don’t have a lime you can use a lemon in a pinch.
Combine baking soda and water until you have a paste. Spread the paste on the rust. Let it sit and then scrub it off with a toothbrush.
Potato and soap
When a potato and dish soap are combined a chemical reaction takes place that helps break down rust. Cut a potato in half or into the shape of the rust, put dish soap on the cut section, place it on the rust and let it sit. When you come back after a few hours the rust should be much easier to get off.
Wipe down tools
Tools rust in part because they are exposed to moisture from human hands. While you use them your sweat transfers to them. Wipe them down as you put them away to prevent them from rusting.
Use a dehumidifier
In rainy and wet places like Vancouver moisture can build up in the air putting your stuff at risk of rust. Put a dehumidifier in your garage, kitchen, basement or other areas that are really humid or where you store items you don’t want to have rusting.
Many products come with silica pouches designed to keep them fresh. You can keep these and put them in with things you don’t want to rust or have exposed to moisture. Throw them in a drawer with your cast iron skillets or a toolbox.