Electrolysis Rust Removal - Parts

This is a quick and simple way to remove rust from metal parts.

you need;
- 12v battery charger
- plastic bucket
- soda crystals
- bit of copper wire
- bit of mild steel (bar,rod or old tool, etc)
- water

WARNING the process of electrolysis produces hydrogen, so no smoking or naked flames!!

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Step 1: The Solution

Fill the bucket with enough water to cover the item to be treated.
Add 1 table spoon of soda crystals for ever litre of water and mix.

Step 2: Wiring Up the Part

Tie one end of a 40cm piece of wire to the part to be treated and hook the other over the rim of the bucket.

Step 3: Wiring Up the Electrode

Tie one end of a 40cm long piece of copper wire to a chunk of mild steel, anything will do!!
hook the other end over the rim of the bucket as before

Step 4: Give It Some Power!!

Connect the positive (red +) to the electrode
Connect the negative (black -) to the part
make sure that the electrode and the part are not touching and turn on the power.
the smaller the part the quicker it will work.
as a guide I will leave the part shown here for 2 hours

The part will start to fizz before it gets to cloudy to see it anymore
Rust particals will form a scum on the top of the water

Rinse when done and dry throughly

Step 5: Just a Last Note on the Power

although i have used a 12v battery charger for a alternative i also use a old laptop power supply which puts out 19.5v. Not sure how much quicker it is but it shows you can use any extra low voltage DC supply. For real power you could even use a arc welder!! if you where doing something massive like a car body in a swimming pool......

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    11 Discussions

    Hi professor sparky,

    Could you get in touch with me on your rust removal method. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice job. Quick question: is it safe to flush the leftover water/rust/etc, down the toilet, without harming my septic tank?
    Thanks for posting!

    1 reply

    yes, the leftover will contain nothing to stop the septic tank digesting waste, so pour away with confidence!!
    thanks for reading


    6 years ago on Introduction

    " For real power you could even use a arc welder!! if you where doing something massive like a car body in a swimming pool......"

    This is a great idea. I hope I get the chance to drive a rusty old car into a pool and then charge the whole thing, thank you


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is great idea but can you give me a better definition of "soda crystals"? Is it baking soda or boric acid or just a chemical name. thanks. Karl

    1 reply

    Soda Crystals are made from dissolving Sodium Carbonate with water and cooling the solution to form the hydrated easily soluble crystals. There environmental fate is good - there is no biodegradability issue. Soda Crystals are not derived from oil - which most detergent based products are. The raw sodium carbonate is either taken from natural lakes in africa or spain or made synthetically from limestone, salt and ammonia. This is quite energy intensive can use limestone from the Peak District.
    hope this helps,


    6 years ago on Step 5

    When looking at chargers, the amperage is what is important. A small wall charger is not likely to have enough current (amperage) to get the job done. It may work for small stuff, but in my experience a car battery charger capable of 6A seems to work pretty well for a wide range of things.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Soda crystals are just sodium carbonate. A cheap source for sodium carbonate is the stuff pool supply stores sell for increasing Ph.

    Ah so that's how you make hydrogen :D hahaha jk this is neat I've seen this done differently by electroplating a spoon with some copper.