Removing rust with citric acid

This is one of the easiest, safest and most effective ways to remove rust from the surface of old steel tools. The difference between this method is that for the restoration of the surface of the metal does not require any scarce reagent or expensive equipment. All that is needed is in almost any kitchen.


  • Powdered citric acid - sold in a food store or pharmacy if you don’t have it at home.

  • A container where we will immerse steel items for restoration.

  • Scraper, such as a spatula. Or a brush for metal.

For security:

  • Latex gloves.

  • Protective glasses.

Benefits of Using Citric Acid:

  • Does not remove paint on the surface.

  • The reaction is fully controlled.

  • Very affordable - almost always available in the kitchen.

  • After use, it can be poured into the sink.

  • Much cheaper than sandpaper and surface remover.

Part surface cleaning

The first thing to do is to clean the surface of dirt and degrease. For this, you can use a washing sponge, dishwashing net and detergent.

We rinse and clean the surfaces of parts and tools before restoring and impacting rust.

Solution preparation

To prepare the solution, you need to take a plastic container where all the items to remove rust will fit.

Pour into this container the required amount of warm water, degrees 60 - 40 Celsius. You should not overdo it with the volume of water, as it will take a lot of citric acid.

Add citric acid powder at a rate of about 60-80 grams per 100 ml of water. This is quite a lot and the solution will be quite concentrated. All proportions are experimental, so you can search for your golden proportion.

Pour into water and stir until completely dissolved.

Restoration of rusted surfaces

We lower steel objects into the solution. After a few minutes, small bubbles will begin to form on the surface, indicating a normal course of the reaction.

After 30-60 minutes, rust flakes can be noticed on the surface of the solution. Cleaning parts with a sponge or wire brush will help speed up the process. Sometimes 60-90 minutes are enough to restore the surface of not very rusted objects.

A little citric acid can be added to an existing solution, if necessary, to speed up the reaction.

We wait until the rust completely disappears.

I left the massive parts of the planer for 7 hours, although most of the items recovered after 2-4 hours.

When you are finished - the solution can be safely poured into the sink, as it is not toxic.

Sheeting oil

After removing parts from the solution, rinse them with water and dry.

A solution of citric acid, in addition to removing rust, left an oxide film on the surface of the steel, which would protect the metal for a short time. But to protect the surface as much as possible, treat it with engine oil. If there is no motor, take a sunflower, it will be better than nothing.

Rust removal result

The result obtained using this method.

This method removes corrosion in all hard-to-reach places, preserves the original brand if it exists, which is impossible with mechanical removal of rust with sandpaper. Reconstructed surfaces can be cleaned without problems with a felt or wool with Goi paste.

Original article in English