How to Clean White Corrosion From Metals

baking soda, lemon, and water for natural cleaning
What You'll Need
Cotton balls
Clean cloth or paper towel
Baking soda

When metals become oxidized, they often collect white corrosion. This issue is most prevalent in galvanized steel or batteries that have been sitting for a while. While covering the metal, like your metal fence, with a zinc coating can usually prevent white corrosion, not all metals are given this coating. Here is an easy way to clean the white corrosion from your metals.

Step 1 – Cleaning With Vinegar or Lemon

You can clean oxidized metal without chemical cleaners by rounding up a few things you probably already have in your home.


Most people already have vinegar in their homes, whether used for pickling foods or as an environmentally friendly cleaner. This substance can clean away the white, corrosive buildup, revealing a clean, metal surface. Simply wipe away the buildup with a little bit of vinegar on a cotton ball.

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Another way to clean the residue is to use lemon. The key ingredient in lemon that makes it an effective metal-cleaning agent is citric acid. Just cut a lemon in half, and rub it on the corroded surface. Another way to use lemon is to squeeze its juice into a container, place a sufficient amount on a cotton ball, and rub it onto the metal surface.

If these tricks don’t work, move on to the step below.

Step 2 – Using Sandpaper

If the buildup can’t be easily removed using vinegar or lemon, use fine-grit sandpaper on the white area to loosen it before wiping it clean with vinegar or lemon.

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Step 3 – Soaking the Metal in a Baking-soda Solution

If using sandpaper doesn’t work, you can soak the metal in a baking-soda solution. Mix together baking soda in water, and dip the metal inside the solution for at least 30 minutes. Then, wipe the metal dry with a clean cloth.

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Using a Baking-Soda Paste

Alternatively, you can make the solution into a paste by using less water with the baking soda. Apply the paste directly to the corroded surface, and allow it to dry. Afterward, remove the paste and wipe the surface clean with a clean cloth or paper towel.

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