Introduction: Remove Galvanization

Picture of Remove Galvanization

Galvanization is the process in which steel or another metal is coated in zinc to stop the base metal from oxidizing. In this instructable I will tell how to remove this coating of zinc. Some people may be wondering why you would want to do this. Well, when galvanized metal is welded it gives off toxic fumes that can be harmful.

(NOTE: I apologize for the poor image quality)

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

for this instructable you will need:


a wire brush

a small glass bowl

a small flashlight (optional) 

Step 2: Soak It

Picture of Soak It

First, fill your bowl with vinegar, then put in the piece of metal from which you want to remove the zinc. Its that simple. It took about half an hour to remove the zinc from a screw about 4 cm. After a short period of time bubbles should appear on the surface of the vinegar and there should be small semitransparent lumps that come off the piece of metal. I used a glass bowl so I could shine the flashlight through the vinegar  to see the bubbles and the lumps better, but this is optional.

Step 3: Brush It

Picture of Brush It

After the half hour has passed, take out the piece of no-longer-galvanized metal. Once you take it out, rinse it under cool water and scrape it with your wire brush. After you have brushed all over the metal, rinse it off again and its safe to weld it.

NOTE: Because screws have threads I would not recommend using them, they take longer than rods or another shape that doesn't have threads.


OisinL1 (author)2015-07-21

How do I dispose of the residue? I'm using HCl and baking soda to neutralise. Where can I dump to solution that is left over?

This does work really quickly though and the foam is easy to remove.

Frosttoys (author)OisinL12017-08-12

Vinegar is acetic acid, all you need is baking soda and its neutralized

solarbipolar (author)2015-08-11

If you've been welding for 12 years, you should have known that welding zinc is harmful. It isn't the responsibility of your employer to educate you.

Frosttoys (author)solarbipolar2017-08-12

Its 60000000000000 times the responsibility of your employer to educate you of the hazards on the job, its actually a massive liability because if you werent trained or made aware by signage or anything they can actually be sued for such a failure.

VictoresNox (author)2016-05-24

will running a piece through a dryer w/ no heat in a bag of sand clean it off?

DerekB2 made it! (author)2016-04-18

Trying to artificially rust pipe for a project. Soaked it with vinegar inside a heavy-duty garbage bag for 2 hours. Wire brushed clean! Funneled vinegar back into the empty gallon, labeled for shop, (not that the rusty brown color doesnt give it away). Soaked the pipe in bleach water new bag. Viola, rusty pipe!

blhack (author)2015-10-26

This so awesome! I always end up just grinding the surface off. Thank you so much!

RichardW5 (author)2014-10-16

Awesome info. Thanks

aeray (author)2010-12-17

Hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid, available at hardware stores) works well too. And very quickly.

tranoxx (author)aeray2010-12-17

it probably does but this is cheap and can be done with supplies found around the house

aeray (author)tranoxx2010-12-17

Hydrochloric makes NASTY fumes too, so I'm sure your method is safer as well.

bombmaker2 (author)aeray2010-12-19

In addition to those fumes, it also makes hydrogen gas. Dangerous, but fun.

dratman (author)bombmaker22014-09-16

I think vinegar would make hydrogen gas too.

tranoxx (author)bombmaker22010-12-19

yeah but mostly fun

bombmaker2 (author)tranoxx2010-12-19

Oh so true.

killerjackalope (author)2010-12-18

Surely not buying galvanized screws would be less effort ;-p good idea though...

tranoxx (author)killerjackalope2010-12-18

well yes but i dont have access to ugalvanized screws or bar

anvil_man (author)tranoxx2011-02-24

check the phone book or look for weld shops we use bare steel all the time.
unplated screws are hard to find but you can if you look.

Dr Qui (author)tranoxx2010-12-18

I find that statement extremely hard to believe.

SCKStef (author)2010-12-18

Nice method,

But This method only Works for Small Objects wich are not Fire galvanised...and the Most of the time you have to weld pieces wich are Fire galvanised.

Fire galvanised iron have the Most of the Time an too thick Zünd overlay from 0,10 to 0,50 mm and more on the edges.

aeray (author)SCKStef2010-12-19

"fire galvanized" = hot-dipped galvanized, I believe.

tranoxx (author)aeray2010-12-20

that clears things up thanks

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