How to Remove Rust from Metal Equipment or Tools?
As per the dictionary, ‘rust’ is the formation of a reddish brown coating of iron oxide on the on iron or steel due to the presence of moisture in the air. Rusting is the corrosion of iron and steel through the process of oxidation. This is a chemical reaction, and it takes place when iron or steel reacts with water and oxygen. The amount and the extent of rust depend on the extent of the exposure to water and oxygen. There are different types of rust. Some of the rusts are more common than the others, but all of them can be prevented with the help of the correct corrosion prevention or rust prevention techniques.
Here are some of the quick and easy ways of removing rust from metal objects.
Salt & Lime
This is a very primitive and one of the best household methods of removing rust from metals. To remove the rust from the object, it needs to be coated with salt thoroughly. Not even a small patch should be left open. Then sprinkle lime juice over the salt coated metal surface. The lime juice should be in ample amount, as the salt coated iron object needs to be soaked in lime juice so that the reverse chemical reaction can take place. Then allow the salt coated, and lime sprinkled metal to sit for 2 to 3 hours. Within this time the chemical reaction will take place dissolving the rust. After this process is complete, a metal scrubber or a scourer should be used to scrub away the salt gently without damaging the metal any further. The rind of the lemon can also be used to scrub away the salt. The citric acid in the lemon helps in reacting with the rust and dissolving it.
Vinegar is known to have acidic properties that help it to react with the rust and dissolve it. Acids such as citric acid, acetic acid, and others are brilliant in removing rust. What needs to be done is the rusted item should be soaked or submerged in the acid and needs to be kept for some time for the chemical reaction to take place. The acid removes and dissolves all the rust as well as removing any paint that may be on the metal item. There is no need of scrubbing the item after removing from the acid as it will be shiny as new and there will not be any rust left. This is a very easy and effective method and does not require much work. But it can only be used on items that can be completely submerged in the acid and takes a long time for the chemical reaction to take place (generally 24 hours) depending on the amount of rust.
This is a scrubbing method and is performed by scrubbing away the rust from the metal surface with the help of a metal scrubber or steel wool. This method is used on the surfaces that cannot easily be scratched or if scratched would not matter. The process is just scrubbing off the surface of the metal where the rust generated. It needs to be kept in mind that this process cannot be used on soft metals as they would corrode the metal away as well. This process requires more work and sometimes may harm the metals as well. This method also cannot be used on the metal items that require a polished and shiny look.
Vinegar & Aluminum Foil
We have also already seen that vinegar helps to dissolve the rust and works great for removing the rust from metal items, but an aluminum foil along with vinegar can bring the shine back on the metal item. This method is applied to the items that cannot be submerged in the vinegar or parts of machinery that cannot be removed. What need to be done is a piece of cloth needs to be taken and soaked in vinegar. The cloth then needs to be applied on the rusted part of the metal. Take an aluminum foil, dip it in water and then gently rinse the rusted part with the foil. Apply this process several times to get a rust free polished look. This method can easily be applied to items that require a polished look as well as fragile items.
Potato & Dish soap
Dishwashers have a chemical that on reaction with the starch in the potato creates an acid that easily dissolves the rust from metals. This is also a very good homemade process that helps clean the rust off the metal tools. This may sound impossible, but actually, it is true. It is generally used for a small amount of rust and kitchen utensils. This is a relatively faster method than many others and all the items required are already available in the kitchen. For this process, potatoes need to be cut, and the cut ends need to be covered with dishwashing liquid. The cut end is then placed on the rusted part of the metal objects. Use the potato like a scouring pad and the acid reacts on contact, dissolving the rust leaving a polished look.
Citric acid is like vinegar and has the same acidic properties as vinegar. If this is something that is not available at home can easily be found at the health or food stores. This is a great way of removing rust with making a mess. And it is applicable for items that can be submerged in the acid solution. Make a bowl of hot water; add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the powdered citric acid and place the metal object in the water. The hot water acts as a catalyst and speeds up the chemical reaction. Let the object sit in the water for near about 24 hours before removing it to get a shiny look.
Rusting is a very common phenomenon and is largely seen in metallic household items. Rusting turns the metallic objects brittle and may easily break it. When rusting occurs there is a development of reddish brown flakey substance on the metal surface. Rust is harmful as if it comes in contact with blood from the wounds may cause harmful diseases and infections. If it is ingested may cause severe health problems.
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