How to Clean Rust & Paint Off of Metal Stairs

Written by ryan lawrence
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How to Clean Rust & Paint Off of Metal Stairs
Use a wire brush to remove rust from metal. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Rust is a natural process that begins when metallic surfaces are exposed to moisture and oxygen. If you need to clean rust and paint off of metal stairs, you're in luck, as metallic surfaces are durable enough to withstand some of the more aggressive removal techniques. Still, use caution, or you could end up suffering unforeseen injuries. In addition, protect the stairs from future rust outbreaks, or you will find yourself repeating the removal process, over and over.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Wire brush
  • Steel wool
  • Paint stripper
  • 2- to 3-inch oil paintbrush
  • Metal putty knife
  • Pressure washer
  • Iron oxide primer
  • Oil-based enamel paint

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  1. 1

    Scrape away large chunks of rust, using a wire brush. Wear safety goggles and work gloves.

  2. 2

    Loosen smaller, stubborn bits of rust, using steel wool.

  3. 3

    Apply paint stripper to the paint, using a 2- to 3-inch paintbrush, engineered for use with oil paints.

  4. 4

    Wait one minute for the stripper to loosen the paint adhesives. Scrape loose the paint, using a metal putty knife and the wire brush.

  5. 5

    Rinse the metal stairs with a pressure washer.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear safety goggles to prevent rust particles from entering your eyes.
  • Finish the metal stairs with primer and paint, or you will see a recurrence of rust. Choose a rust-inhibitive iron oxide primer and oil-based enamel.

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