How to remove rust from metal and concrete

If you have concrete or metal objects covered in rust, there is no need to worry. There are many different ways to get rid of rust easily and quickly, and there are ways to prevent it.

Causes of rust

Rust can be a pain. To understand and prevent it, it’s good to know what causes it to form. Rust results from oxidation, meaning iron reacts with water and oxygen to form hydrated iron oxide. In other words, metal is naturally returning to its unrefined state.

Iron and oxygen have opposite charges, so they gravitate toward each other, which results in the flaky coating known as rust. If it doesn’t get addressed quickly or properly, it can permanently damage what is rusting, compromising its functionality. 

Prevention of rust

Allowing iron, water, and oxygen to conjoin is what creates that harmful rust. The best way to prevent it is to keep those three elements apart from each other. Keep your metal stuff inside when they aren’t in use, and make sure it is dry before storing it. You should keep metal objects away from concrete. 

You can also use spray-on wax or oil coatings. This helps prevent rust from forming on concrete, especially when added yearly before the rainy season.

Rust removal

With all stains, the sooner rust is removed, the better. There are a few techniques in removing it, depending on the object or surface and the amount of rust. Here are effective ways to remove rust from concrete:

  • Use lemon juice and vinegar – pour either the lemon juice or vinegar directly onto the stain and let it soak for at least ten minutes. The more concentrated the liquid is, the more effective it will be. Use a firm-bristled brush to scrub the stain, and then rinse.
  • Purchase a commercial-grade rust remover from a hardware store. It contains very strong acids, so be sure to take safe and proper precautions.
  • Call a professional for the safest, quickest removal of rust.

For metal objects, you can use these mixtures in combination with a firm-bristled brush:

  • Lemon juice or vinegar
  • Baking soda and water
  • Water and citric acid

If you want to avoid using chemicals, you can grind or sand off the rust, but be sure not to scrape too much if the object has paint. You will want to switch to a finer grit once the top layer is off.

If you use any of these techniques, take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. Though these work great, it’s better to take the steps in preventing rust before it happens.