How to Clean Rust From Galvanized Metal

Written by jacqueline gonzales
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How to Clean Rust From Galvanized Metal
Most chain link fences have galvanised metal to protect them from the elements. (Peter Starman/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Galvanised metal generally has a zinc covering over steel or other metals prone to rusting. Galvanisation can protect the metal underneath from rusting, but over time galvanisation itself can rust. This will be a white rust instead of a typical red rust. If the rust is allowed to continue, the metal underneath may begin to rust. Cleaning rust from your galvanised metal can add years of life to your products.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wire brush
  • All-purpose household cleaner
  • A phosphoric acid/water mixture with no more than 5 per cent phosphoric acid

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  1. 1

    Brush the rusted area with the wire brush. Remove as much of the rust as possible using the brush.

  2. 2

    Spray the rusted area with an all-purpose household cleaner. Brush the surface with the wire brush, working the cleaner into the metal.

  3. 3

    Rinse the area with water, removing the cleaner completely.

  4. 4

    Wash the rusted area with the phosphoric acid solution then immediately spray the area with water. Brush the area with the wire brush until the rust comes off.

  5. 5

    Allow the metal to dry completely before stacking it or spraying it with a new layer of galvanisation.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are cleaning small parts like tools or hinges, you can soak them in Coca-Cola for up to three hours in place of the phosphoric acid treatment.
  • Phosphoric acid is dangerous and can burn you or others. Always wear protection when using phosphoric acid and store it in a place where small children and pets cannot reach it.

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