How to Clean Rust

Skip the commercial rust removers. These common ingredients in your kitchen can remove rust from knives, tools, even furniture.

When water sits on metal for too long, you get ugly, damaging rust. Rust can happen on tools, outdoor furniture, a car or anything made of metal. It’s a sign of wear and tear and if you leave it, it will corrode and destroy the object. Here’s how to clean rust from just about anything. There are commercial rust removers available, but you can also make your own cleaners from ingredients you probably have in your home.

Lemon Juice

The acid in lemons is a well-known natural cleaner. It works for rust, too. You’ll also need salt to make this work. Rub salt all on the rusted areas you want clean. Once it’s coated, cut a lemon in half and squeeze its juice onto the salt. You can also use limes. Let the salt and lemon juice mixture remain on the item for two hours. Now, scrub it off. For tough stains, use steel wool or a scouring pad. If you don’t want to scratch the metal, use a soft-bristle brush or a cloth. You’ll have to scrub a lot harder with a gentler tool.

You can also use lemon juice to remove rust from fabrics. Here’s how you get rust stains out of carpet. Put lemon juice on the rust stain and then sprinkle cream of tartar onto the top of the juice. Rub in the solution and let it sit on the stain until the rust is gone. The citric acid will take the rust off. Some stains are tougher than others, but 15 to 30 minutes should work just fine. Rinse with clean water and soak up excess water with a towel.

Baking Soda

Pour baking soda in a bowl and add enough water to make a paste. Apply it to the rusted area. Let it sit for a couple of hours. Use a toothbrush to scrub off the paste. Rinse with clean water and dry the area with a towel.

Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners around. It will attack rust. To remove rust from small items like knives and hand tools, soak them in a bowl of vinegar. You’ll need to let them sit overnight. Remove the item and scrub with a metal brush or steel wool. Rinse with clean water and dry with a towel. For items too large to soak, soak a rag in vinegar and wrap around the rusted area. Let sit overnight and scrub. This is a slower method for how to clean rust, but it works.

Knowing how to clean rust from metal surfaces will help you lengthen the life of your tools, kitchen knives and outdoor furniture, and keep them looking their best.

How to clean brass depends on how dirty or tarnished it is. For light cleaning, hot, soapy water and a soft cleaning cloth may be all you need. Wipe down the surfaces with the cloth. Use a toothbrush to scrub in crevices. Rinse the item with clean, warm water and dry thoroughly  If your brass is really dirty or tarnished, you can use commercial cleaners. Use them sparingly, though, because they’re abrasive and frequent use can scratch the surface of the brass.   There are a couple of ways to clean your brass naturally and more gently, and the ingredients are in your kitchen. The first natural cleaner for brass is ketchup. Yes, ketchup. The mild acid in tomatoes removes tarnish and dirt from brass. Rub ketchup onto item with a soft cloth, rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly. You can also soak small brass items in a bowl of tomato juice to clean them. Put them in the juice and let them sit for five minutes (longer, if they’re really dirty.) Pull them out, rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly.   Lemon juice also contains a mild acid that will clean brass. There are two lemon-based cleaners you can make that will leave your brass shiny and bright. For light tarnish, cut a lemon in half and sprinkle it with table salt. Rub the salted lemon over the surface of the brass. Once you’ve covered the surface with the lemon juice and salt mixture, wipe with a soft cloth and buff till the piece shines. For heavy tarnish, make a paste using two parts cream of tartar to one part lemon juice. Apply the paste to the item and let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. Rinse the item thoroughly with warm water, then buff with a dry cloth.  To prevent your newly clean brass from tarnishing, rub it with a thin coat of mineral or linseed oil. Also, avoid touching brass items as much as possible because the oil on your hands will hasten tarnishing.