Anything that is made of metal that has iron in it – rusts. From knots and bolts, to an entire gate—anything made of metal will surely rust when it is always exposed to water and air. These iron materials need to be protected from dust with oil or paint, but when rust still finds its way to form and accumulate, then there is a need to clean and remove it.
There are several ways of removing rust from iron materials, one of which is using chemical solutions to dissolve the rust and remove it from the surface. However, chemical solutions are harmful especially when used by non professionals in a home setting. There are several alternative ways to remove rust without the use of chemicals, which are safer, simpler (but not exactly easier), and can be done even at home.
- The most basic and simplest way to remove rust is to use a steel wool or sand paper and rub the surface thoroughly until the rust is removed from the surface. This method is okay when the material you need to clean up is not so small, and has no intricate details. Smooth surfaces are easy to scrub, but it will take a lot of manual effort. The person who scrubs should wear protective gloves and have his mouth and nose covered to avoid inhaling the dust. It is also possible to coat the surface with oil first, before scrubbing, to soften the rust somehow, and to avoid dry dust from circulating in the air. For very large surfaces, grinding or sand blasting can be done by professionals.
- Household items can be used to remove rust safely. The only materials needed are salt (not the ones that are iodized or treated) and lime extract. Sprinkle salt over the rusty surface, and squeeze lime over the salt until the surface is soaked. Let it stand for 2 to 3 hours, then scrub the surface with a scourging pad. It will be easier to scrub because the mixture of salt and lime softens the rust and separates it from the metal surface. This mixture may be more practical for rusted materials that have designs and intricate details on it, or for the more expensive metal materials at home such as ornamental figurines. Scrubbing these materials with metal wool is out of the question, because it will leave scratch marks on the surface. For delicate metal materials, instead of using a scourging pad, use a rough cloth instead to avoid scratching the metal surface.
Once the rust is removed, make sure to apply protective coating on the metal material to avoid rusting further. Also take not of the time period in which a metal material rusts again, so a scheduled cleaning can be done, and the material does not accumulate too much rust before it is cleaned again. This is especially important for vehicles and other materials and machines that are regularly used at home or in factories and manufacturing facilities.