Cleaning Rusty Metal Furniture

Does anyone here know of a relatively easy way to clean rust from metal furniture? Is there a solvent or cleaner I can soak them in thet will remove the rust? This would be the ideal way to clean them off rather than tking a wire brush & steel wool to all those surfaces. Also, once cleaned, what’s the best preventive measure to keep rust away?Thanks for any help.

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Vinegar and lemon juice @ a 10:1 ratio if I recall correctly. The rust that doesn’t come off will brush off easily. Rinse and dry immediately after taking iron out of the solution, then coat with oil or WD40 to protect from new rust.

Vinegar and table salt will also work. Both create a dilute hydrochloric acid, so gloves are advised.

See these previous Briar Press items, and make your own decision!

I’ve found vinegar and lime juice to work well—I’m betting lemon is just fine also. I wasn’t too precise in measuring it out though there was more vinegar than lime juice. Scrubbed with a sponge, dried, and wiped with a rag covered in WD40.

The one thing to be very careful about if you use the vinegar or lemon juice formulas is not to splash any of it on your clothes. If you do, be sure to rinse whatever got splashed-on with water ASAP. If allowed to stay for a period or dry on the clothing, the mild acid created by these formulas will slowly eat the fabric. This will not be evident at all until the next time you decide to wash the clothing and discover the holes eaten through the material where the formulas had splashed against them! This will manifest itself once the material has been re-dampened. I have had this happen a couple of times until I figured out what was going on.


Thanks for everyone’s insights & experiences!

Hello emthree,

I use Evapo-Rust ( I just plop the furniture in a plastic tub, cover with Evapo-Rust, and walk away. I come back in an hour or so (longer for heavy rust), and the rust is gone. It works by chelation, so only the rust is removed. Then I rinse, dry, and lightly coat with oil to prevent further rust. You can use the Evapo-Rust again and again. You can get it from their website but I’ve gotten it at Harbor Freight, too.


Alternatively, to avoid an oily residue on your items that may collect dust in future, consider spraying the treated parts with Rust-Bandit (same manufacturer: Orison), a rust inhibitor which dries clear and non-sticky. If kept in a dry environment, your furniture should glide and slide easily for years to come.
Orizon offers package deals, they throw in a spray bottle of Rust Bandit if you order 2 gallons or more of Evaporust (scroll to very bottom of this page):

As Barb mentions, the stuff works absolute wonders.

Electrolytic Rust removal is a great process for getting rid of rust. It takes a bit to set up, but doesn’t require any elbow grease.

This website explains how it works and what you need to do it:

You can check out this video to see it working,

Also, I find that just rubbing the pieces down with Johnson’s Paste Wax after de-rusting keeps future rust from forming and even repels ink.