Rust, where do we start? Not only is this hideous orange-brown color unsightly, it can ruin patio furniture, tools, and other household items. It is therefore important to remove rust from metal as soon as you spot it.

Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies out there that will help clean metal and remove rust from your favorite items quickly. Think vinegar, baking soda, dish soap like Dawn, and even potatoes …

First, how does rust even come about? Mini science lesson in depth. The iron reacts with H20 and oxygen, creating rust, also known as hydrated iron oxide. In layman’s terms, rust creeps up when things are left out in the rain … (you know you did). Keep scrolling, grab your cleaning tools and gloves, and get ready to successfully tackle the rust on all of your metal objects at home.

Placing metal tools, rusty pots and pans, and other heavily rusted items in a white vinegar bath is very effective. Soak everything completely and leave it overnight. Then scrub with steel wool or a scouring pad if delicate or thin metal, and a little elbow grease when you’re done will peel the rust off nicely.

It may take two times when your items are far away.

Remove rust from metal garden tools

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This method works well with rusty tools if you’re looking for an alternative to vinegar, and it will also help with small metal plant pots and similar items. You can either make a paste with baking soda and water and use a toothbrush to apply and scrub it directly on rusted areas. If you have a more rusty product, clean it up and sprinkle the baking soda directly on the affected areas while it’s still damp. Leave this on for about an hour, then scrub the rust with your steel wool or other cleaning tool of your choice.

How to remove rust from sinks and surfaces

Potatoes aren’t just for french fries, oh no. They contain oxalic acid, which actually dissolves rust, making it a treat when you’re looking to remove rust from a sink or other easily affected surface. First, cut a potato in half and brush the open end with Dawn or another dish soap. Next, sprinkle baking soda (salt works if you’re all outside) on the potato and rub it over the rusted area. The combination of the abrasiveness of the salt / baking powder and the cleaning as well as the dissolving power of the potato and the detergent should decompose the rust well. Clean the mass and dry it thoroughly.

Another easy to find product: use this method on unpainted surfaces such as tools and the like, as it will remove paint. Combine 2 cups of warm water with 2 tablespoons of citric acid and soak the items, if possible and for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. Scrub off the residue with an abrasive sponge, rinse it off, and dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth.

You need a clean board before painting metal furniture. And to remove dirt and rust from patio furniture, you want upcycling or maybe a dining table and chairs, elbow grease and a scrub or Brightness pad is your answer. Combine this with any of the methods above if you want the natural route for great results. Note that citric acid will strip the paint off. So make sure it’s completely rinsed off before priming your objects.

If that doesn’t work, something super strong Evapo-Rust® will do the trick. Make sure you have read the instructions completely.

Rowlinson Havana Lattice Bistro Set

(Photo credit: Amazon)

How to prevent rust

  • Cover and protect: Keep patio furniture in a garage or under good quality blankets when it is drizzling. If caught, dry them off ASAP.
  • Dry as you go: Chef’s knives and other metal objects in the kitchen should be dried as soon as they are washed and then stowed away.
  • Oil where you can: On tools, something like WD40 can help prevent rust from occurring, which is great for secateurs and other garden tools too. You can use mineral oil for knives.

Get a handy natural cleaning kit