How to Reduce Sugar to Remove Rust

Written by matthew badger
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How to Reduce Sugar to Remove Rust
Give new life to rusted metal with help from a sweet source. (rust 2 image by Stanislav Halcin from

A handy rust remover can be made using molasses and water. Iron oxide is the chemical name for the rust that appears on cars, metal hardware and tools. Molasses is a byproduct of refining sugar cane by boiling and extracting the crystallised sugar. The process by which iron-oxide is removed from a metal by molasses is called chelation. Molasses compounds bond and suspend iron oxide molecules away from the metal surface.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1-liter beaker or jar
  • Molasses
  • Measuring cup
  • de-oxidene (phosphoric acid)

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  1. 1

    Pour 900 millilitres of water into a 1-liter container. Measure out 100 millilitres of molasses and add it to the 900 millilitres of water.

  2. 2

    Stir the two together until the water is a uniform brown colour. Immerse the rusted tool or metal piece in the solution.

  3. 3

    Leave the object in the molasses solution for one to three days. If the rust is especially severe, the solution mayl take a week or more to show results.

  4. 4

    Scrub the object with a wire brush after soaking for a few days. Rinse the object with de-oxidene to prevent rust from rapidly recurring.

Tips and warnings

  • For best results try a mild molasses with a higher sugar concentration.
  • Metal will rust almost immediately after the treatment when exposed to open air and humidity.

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