How to Remove Rust from a Steel Work Table Bench

What You'll Need
Wire brush attachment
Fine steel wool
Naval jelly
Rubber gloves
Safety goggles
Mineral spirits

A work table bench needs to look good as well as be useful. A work table bench that has rust on it isn’t going to look particularly attractive and to make it more appealing, you will need to remove the corrosion. There are ways you can do this without resorting to dangerous chemicals. These methods might take a little longer and use a little more effort but you’ll have the satisfaction of completing the task yourself in an environmentally-friendly fashion.

Step 1 - How Much Rust?

The first thing to do is determine how much rust you have to deal with on your work table bench and where the worst of it is. This will affect how you treat the bench to remove the rust. Small patches of rust can be treated by just using fine by steel wool and rubbing hard. With larger areas, you’ll need to use something bigger.

Step 2 - Large Rust Areas

Rust can spread quickly once it begins. If you catch it fairly early, rust normally sits on the surface without penetrating too far into the metal. It’s much easier to remove rust from the surface before it begins to eat into the steel of your work table bench.

Put on your safety goggles and attach a wire brush to your drill. Unless the rust is embedded deep, you should use a fine wire brush as this will scratch the surface of the work table bench less. Run the wire brush lightly over the rusted area and see how much of the rust is removed immediately. If the rust is just on the surface, it will come off easily. If the rust goes deeper, you’ll have to press harder or use a stiffer wire brush. Stop frequently and wipe away the dust with a cloth so you can check your progress.

Step 3 - Steel Wool

When you’ve eliminated most of the rust from your work table bench, you should finish off by using fine steel wool. This enables you to reach the smaller areas that a wire brush can’t easily reach. Take your time with this and, once again, you should use a cloth frequently to remove dust and check your progress.

Step 4 - Hidden Areas

For areas of your work table bench that you can’t easily reach with steel wool, you should use naval jelly. This clings to the metal and eats into the rust. It’s very effective in corners or hidden areas. Make sure that you wear rubber gloves when you put naval jelly on metal.

Leave the naval jelly to sit for about an hour. To remove it, just flush with water then wipe dry with a clean cloth. If any rust remains, reapply the naval jelly then flush again after another hour. When you’ve finished removing the rust from your steel work bench, you should wash it with mineral spirits and rub down the metal one last time with fine steel wool. This will take off all the grease and dirt.