Natural Solutions for Rust Removal From Metals

Written by kaye wagner
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Natural Solutions for Rust Removal From Metals
Remove rust from antique furniture. (Jupiterimages /Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Rust is a layer of oxidation that can form on some types of metal. Rust can stain the metal, weaken it and is not generally aesthetically appealing. Remove rust as soon as you see it to prevent it from covering the entire piece of metal. Commercial rust removers, however, contain caustic chemicals that are highly toxic to adults as well as pets and children. Use natural solutions to remove built-up rust instead.

Salt and Lime

Salt and lime work together to help grind away rust on metals. The acid in the lime juice will work to counteract the alkaline rust and the salt will act as a tough abrasive to grind away the rust. To use it, squeeze lime juice over the rust until it is completely wet. Sprinkle salt over the lime juice and scrub the salt into the rust with the rind. Use an old toothbrush if necessary to remove the rest of the rust. Work until the rust is gone.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a mild acid that will work to counteract the rust stain. White vinegar will also kill any bacteria, virus or mould cells that are on the surface of the metal. To use it, apply the white vinegar to the metal and let it sit for several hours. Reapply the white vinegar as it dries from the surface. Scrub the rust off with an old toothbrush. Use a wire bristled brush if it still won't come off. Rinse the area with water and dry it completely with a clean cloth.


Onions are effective in removing light rust marks on thin pieces of metal such as knives or silverware. To use it, stick the rusted metal into an onion and let it rest in the onion for several hours. Remove it and rinse the metal as you normally would. Throw the onion away as it is now contaminated with rust.


Potatoes contain a small amount of oxalic acid, which is a chemical found in many commercial rust removers. This makes potatoes effective in removing light rust marks that have developed on baking pans or on silverware. To use it, cut the potato in half and rub it over the rust until the rust is gone. Sprinkle salt over the area if the rust does not come off easily. Work until the rust is gone. Rinse and dry the metal completely.

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