How to Remove Rust From Metal Tools

December 29, 2021

How to Remove Rust From Metal Tools

Chemical and mechanical processes are two popular methods of removing rust, paint, and other residues from metal tools.

The chemical method requires toxic chemicals to clean rust so it can be dangerous for beginners. Also, it is a time-consuming process. While, on the other hand, The mechanical method is performed with an abrasives wheel, wire brushes, grinding discs, and sanding belts. Cleaning rust with an abrasive tool is a safe and easier option.

Let’s understand what are chemical and mechanical methods to remove rust?

Chemical Process to Remove Rust

The old traditional method of removing rust and other residues from metal is to use acid-based chemicals.  Although the chemical method is a risky, and lengthy process.

Starting with the apply chemicals to the metal first. After that, you'll need to scrape, sand, and rub off rust or paint, and you'll have to do this several times to get clean and finished metal. 

Mechanical Way to Remove Rust

The mechanical method is a safe and easy way to remove rust from metal tools. This process requires the application of power tools like an angle grinder, sander, or a drill fitted with a surface finishing disc, cup brushes, or wire wheels. Grinding metal with an abrasive tool easily removes rust and other surface coatings.

In the next section, you will find how to remove rust from the metal surface with the help of abrasive tools.

How to Remove Rust From Metal with Abrasives?

How to Remove Rust From Metal with Abrasives

It's simple to remove rust from metal surfaces with abrasive tools and accessories. Sanding, polishing, grinding, and industrial washing are all common applications of abrasives. Abrasive tools are available in different sizes, shapes and, materials to be fitted with angle grinders, die grinders, rotary tools.

Below you will find different methods to remove rust from metal using grinding, sanding and wire cup or wire brushes, and home remedies.

1. Grinding Method

Grinding is an aggressive way to remove residues of paint and rust from metal surfaces. Grinding is also applied after welding to remove excess welds and metal surface cleaning. While using a grinding wheel on the metal surface be cautious and take precautions because excessive grinding can damage your workpiece.

2. Sanding Method

Sanding is another best way to remove rust and oxidation. When cleaning a wide flat surface, use an orbital sander with hook & loop discs; they can quickly and effectively remove surface rust. Sanding is less aggressive than grinding.

3. Wire Cup/Wire Brush

Wire brushes are less aggressive than grinding but a better alternative to sanding. These are the most effective methods for removing rust from metal.

Soft metals like copper and brass can be damaged by excessive brushing, so gently apply a wire brush. They are perfect for precious metals like silver and gold, as well as aluminum alloys like auto rims. Wire brushes are commonly have hardened carbon steel with some brass coating to reduce sparks.

Basic Home Remedies to Remove Rust From Metal

Treating rust with some home remedy methods:

Baking Soda & Vinegar Bath Method

Using baking soda and vinegar for rust removal is less expensive and simple to use, however, these processes are not effective for heavy stock rust removal. It works well on a light rusty surface.

Baking Soda Method

To use this method, make a thick paste of baking soda and water (50/50 ratio). Now use a plain aluminum foil to apply this paste to the metal surface. Allow it to soak for a few minutes before rinsing it off. As needed, repeat the procedure.

Vinegar Bath Method

The vinegar bath method is applicable for small metal objects as they are easy to soak in the vinegar pool. For this process, soak the metal in vinegar for a few hours and then rinse it off with water. Vinegar easily reacts with the metal rust make the surface easier to clean.

Read: Types of Carbide Burrs


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