Q:

What are some do-it-yourself methods for removing rust stains?

A:

Quick Answer

Do-it-yourself methods of removing rust stains include sanding, applying natural rust removers and trying chemical removal. Rust-converting products are available for home use, but they only stop the spread of rust and don't remove the rust or the stains.

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Full Answer

To sand or grind rust away, use tools such as a grinder, sander or oscillating drill with the coarsest sandpaper possible. Then, move to finer grit sandpaper, and finish with 400-grit sandpaper. This method takes time and work. The benefits of sanding are a smooth finish and easy painting, with no time wasted waiting for chemicals to work.

Some natural rust removers remove rust and stains without much effort. Drop small tools, nuts, screws or bolts into a bucket filled with vinegar, and let them soak overnight. After soaking, many items can simply be wiped clean. Alternatively, apply vinegar to the rust stain, sprinkle with baking soda and scrub with a ball of aluminum foil. Baking soda by itself can remove some rust; just scrub with a damp toothbrush. Try covering rust with salt and squeezing the juice of a lemon or lime onto the salt. Let it sit for several hours, then rub with the citrus peel.

Chemical rust and stain removers can remove rust, but the process takes time and won't remove the pits that sanding can. Some newer removers aren't as harsh as older products, but soaking and scraping are required with both types. Chemical removers can be expensive, particularly if there is a large amount of rust to remove.

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