How to Remove Rust from Stainless Steel

soft cloth cleaning stainless steel

Have you left your tool outside, and now you don’t know how to remove rust from stainless steel? A lot of people think that it is impossible for stainless steel to corrode, but that is not true. What we call ‘stainless steel’ is really a mixture of 90% regular steel and 10% chromium. Chromium significantly reduces the amount of rust that can form, but it does not prevent corrosion completely.

 Not only does rust make your tools unappealing, but it also spoils their strength and durability as well. This can lead to tools snapping in the middle of the job, which can be very dangerous for you and people nearby. Luckily, there are several ways to remove corrosion.

rust on stailess steel door handle
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Preventing Utensils and Appliances from Rusting

A thin layer of chromium protects the utensils from rusting. Chromium is a soft metal which means you need to use a soft cloth when you are cleaning your tools. Stuff metal cleaning wool can damage the finish, expose the metal below to oxygen, and speed corrosion up. 

What’s more, the layer of chrome can also be removed because of exposure to various chemicals. Avoid using cleaners that contain chlorides and quaternary ammonium salts, and hydrochloric acid. Instead of these unsafe substances, use alkaline cleaners and boiled water to wash your tools. 

soft cloth cleaning stainless steel
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What Removes Rust from Stainless Steel

Rust can be removed by both acidic and alkaline solutions, as long as they are not too strong to further damage the utensils and appliances. White vinegar is arguably the best stainless steel rust remover because it is inexpensive, readily available, and easy to use. Baking soda is also a great choice, but don’t rub it too hard since it can damage the chromium protective layer. You can also use lemon juice, oxalic acid, and dish soap in combination with potatoes.

white vinegar remove rust on stainless steel
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How to Clean Utensils and Appliances

Start by making the cleaning mixture. Add three cups of water into a large bowl, followed by one tablespoon of either baking soda or white vinegar. Stir the mixture until it is homogeneous.

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baking soda

Now, using a soft toothbrush or a towel, start gently rubbing the liquid onto the metal. After you are done, rinse it with water and wipe it with a paper towel. If your towel gets dirty, it means the solution has dissolved the rust. 

FAQ

Does Coca-Cola Remove Corrosion from Utensils?

Because Coca-Cola and some other sodas are very acidic, they can remove thin layers of corrosion. The best way to do this is to put the utensils into a container and cover them with Coca-Cola. Leave them in there overnight and rinse them with water in the morning.

Can you Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Corrosion?

You should never use hydrogen peroxide to clean any metal tool. The oxygen atoms in hydrogen peroxide will actually cause even more corrosion rather than removing it.
Hopefully, now you know how to remove rust from stainless steel. Don’t forget that you are working with chemicals that can be dangerous, so make sure you are safe and take your time. Good luck with your next DIY, and see you soon!

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