Rust Removal With Under-the-Sink Acid




This is a pretty easy instructable, and most of this is well-known. I was just doing my own test and decided to post it here, as it may help someone.

One of the easiest ways to remove rust is using acids.

This 'ible was test to see which under-the-counter acids work best for rust removal.

I purposely did not use regular vinegar, as the standard acidity in vinegar is 4% (though there are several brands with higher).

I had 2 pretty rusty tire chains that I wanted to clean before winter, so I thought this would be a good test, as they were identical items with near-identical rust values.

If you try this at home, you should be wearing rubber gloves. The rusty liquid that this precipitates is very difficult to get off of your hands.

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Step 1: Soaking and Rinsing

I put each chain into a separate Ziploc bag, and mixed each bag.

One bag had 1:1 ratio of Heinz apple cider vinegar with 5% acidity and water.

The other bag had 1:1 ratio of lemon juice with 5-6% acidity (does not say on label, but this is an industry standard) and water.

I then put the bags in a bucket to prevent spillage, and waited about a week.

When the bag looks like it is filled with foam or muddy water, it is ready.

I rinsed the chains off in the bathtub, and almost all of the rust came off immediately.

The remaining rust was fairly easy to remove with a wire brush, about 5 minutes on each chain.

The chain with lemon juice had more rust left on that needed to be removed with a wire brush.

Apple cider vinegar had pretty much nothing on it as soon as it was rinsed.

I then hung it outside for a few hours to dry.


Side note: The water that you rinse with needs to be dried quickly, i.e. with a fan, blow dryer, or oven, or a thin layer of rust will reform. If this happens, it can easily be scrubbed off though.

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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Karellism - Please give jaksherry and any other contributors to this thread a break!! Internet usage is as varied as those who use it. There are so many resource on the internet where you can find answers to your particular question as well as countless others. Why come back here with this rigid presentation? Youre obviously frustrated; but my guess is that your level of frustration is pervasive and away beyond the scope of rust stains. Your approach comes across as hostile and mean-spirited. Do yourself a favor and learn to give yourself a break as well. I assure you, your interpersonal relationships - but, more importantly, your relationship to yourself will vastly improve. So will your life.


    3 years ago

    could i use this in a spray bottle and spray it on to rusty objects ???

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    yes, but i would use straight vinegar for that. if it is a deep rust, it is better to soak, but a light rust should be fine with a spray bottle and just let sit for a few minutes.


    3 years ago

    "vinegar with 5% acidity" - the percentage doesn't say anything about the acidity, but how much acetic acid is in the vinegar.

    4 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Exactly- this gives you the amount of acidity of the solution. For example, if there were 100 ounces with 5% acidity, that means there are 5 ounces of acetic acid.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Not sure exactly what you are looking for. You didn't ask a question.