Homemade Rust Remover Recipes

Rusty Stuff. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Need a good, cheap rust remover? Here are three:

Rust Remover Recipe I


  • White vinegar


1. Submerge the rusted object in undiluted white vinegar. If the object is too large to do so, spray or dab vinegar over the rust liberally. 

2. Allow the vinegar to soak in for at least 30 minutes. If you're dealing with a lot of rust, a longer soak will probably be necessary. Start with a couple of hours.

Then, check on your progress.

3. Pull your object out of its vinegar bath, and use a brush to scrub off any remaining surface rust. An old toothbrush works great for this. Then, rinse the object off, and dry it thoroughly.

4. Repeat the process, if any rust remains.

Rust Remover Recipe II


  • Borax
  • Lemon juice


1. Mix the Borax and lemon juice together to form a paste. You can use baking soda if you don't have any Borax on hand.

2. Apply the paste to the rust, and leave it to work its magic for at least 30 minutes (longer for rustier objects). If the paste starts to dry out, just spray a bit of water over it to re-wet it.

3. Then, use a brush to scrub the paste into the rusted object, and it should lift that rust right off. Be sure to rinse and dry the object thoroughly before you put it back into use.

Still, see a bit of rust? Just repeat the process.

Rust Remover Recipe III


  • A potato
  • salt or baking soda


1. Slice the potato in half, and sprinkle the cut side with salt or baking soda.

2. Then, rub the cut side of the potato over the rusted area. The acid in the potato will lift the rust, and the salt (or baking soda) will help to scrub it away. If you're trying to remove rust from your kitchen knives, plunge them into a potato, and let them sit while you go about your day.

When you pull them back out of the potato, the rust should wipe right off.

3. Wash and dry the object you cleaned before returning it to service.

Benefits of Making Your Own Rust Removers

  • inexpensive
  • fast-acting
  • no harsh chemicals or fumes

Tips and Warnings

1) Objects may appear black after being soaked in vinegar or lemon juice but should return to their original color after being rinsed in water.

2)These rust removers use mild acids and abrasives to remove rust. While they're less harsh than most store-bought rust removers, you should still take care when using them to clean antiques or other valuable items. Only you can decide when it's appropriate to use them.

3)Prevent surface rust by caring for your tools and equipment properly. Oil garden tools before storing them; hand-wash your kitchen knives, instead of running them through the dishwasher; and store belonging where they'll be protected from the weather.

3) Borax sells under the name 20 Mule Team and can be found on the laundry aisle in most grocery and big-box stores.

4) Keep vinegar and Borax out of the reach of children and pets.