Everything looks great when it’s shiny and new, but as time takes its toll, unwanted buildup begins to collect and rust can start to take over surface areas that were once gleaming and sparkling. Whether you have bought some awesome copper pots and pans that need to be cleaned up, or you want to get your atomic chrome items looking their best to get top dollar when you sell, there are lots of simple tricks to get the most out of vintage metal items. Here are a few methods to effectively remove rust from various metals.
Removing rust from copper can be done relatively easily. Three DIY methods that can be done with common household ingredients include:
Usually, cast iron in the home comes in the form of skillets and pans. Cleaning the rust off is a 2 part task. First, you have to clean off the rust and then you’ll have to “season” it in order to ensure it’s going to stay rust-free for a longer period of time.
For the cleaning step, you’ll need to first use fine steel wool to scrub the areas with rust. Next, use warm water and gentle dish soap while scrubbing the cast iron again.
After the washing and drying are done, it’s time for the “seasoning” which is really just a funny term that involves coating the now clean cast iron with a small portion of oil (any cooking oil works). Once it’s covered with a thin layer of the oil, simply put the cast iron upside down into the oven and bake for an hour at 350 degrees. (It is definitely a good idea to place a sheet of foil at the bottom to catch any drippings.) After the hour is up, turn the heat off and wait for the cast iron to cool down.
With chrome, it’s often safest to use specialized chrome cleaner first and then apply chrome polish after to the rusted area(s). Rub extra polish with steel wool and be sure that when you’re rubbing the rusted area, you consistently make sure the area does not get dry. (The steel wool will scratch the surface if there isn’t some moisture there.) Avoid any instinctual urge to scrub the area too aggressively- this will damage the chrome surface. Once you’re finished, rinse the chrome with clean water and you should be good to go!
If you’re feeling adventurous, Coke has also been known to be effective against rust on chrome. Depending on the surface, either soak the chrome in coke for 15 minutes and then rinse and dry off, or if it’s a large surface, wet a piece of aluminum foil with coke and rub the rusted area with the foil. (Again, like with the steel wool, always keep whatever you’re rubbing with moistened or you will get scratches.)
Cleaning off rust from aluminum can be done a few different ways. For a more natural approach, try either lemon and vinegar or boiing tomatoes in a pot and then using the liquid to scrub the aluminum. For both these methods, the key is the acidity from the liquids. Once the aluminum is scrubbed down with the solutions, the discoloured aluminum should brighten up instantly.
If the rust is of the persistent nature, you may need to try commercial cleaners that are targeted specifically for rust. Steel wool plus the cleaner will usually do the trick!