How to Remove Rust from Old Metal File Cabinets

Flipping through papers in a file cabinet drawer.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Rubber gloves
Protective eye wear
A razor blade
Naval jelly
Mineral spirits
A dust mask

Metal file cabinets can develop rust due to exposure to moisture. The rust can lead to serious damage to the structure of the cabinet. It should be removed as soon as possible. This corrosion can be repaired simply and easily with the correct tools.

Step 1 - Scrape the Rust from the Cabinet

Use your razor blade to carefully scrape away as much of the rust as possible from your cabinet. Be careful working with the razor blade to prevent any accidental injury.

Step 2 - Sand the Corroded Area

Put on your protective eye wear, rubber gloves and dust mask. Apply a small amount of mineral spirits to a cloth. Use the cloth to rub the spirits onto the corroded area. Use your sandpaper to sand down the corroded area. Be careful to work in even strokes over the corroded metal. Use paper towel to wipe away the mineral spirits when you are finished working.

Step 3 - Apply Naval Jelly

Apply a small amount of the naval jelly onto another cloth. Use the cloth to rub the jelly on to any remaining rust. Allow the naval jelly to sit for about a half an hour. Use a damp cloth to wipe the jelly off the file cabinet.