How to Remove Rust from Stainless Steel

Damaged and dented stainless steel with rust stains.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5-40
What You'll Need
Soda crystals
Empty spray bottle
Baking soda
White vinegar
Wire brush or wire wool
Tomato ketchup
Lemon juice
Metal polish

Rust is not always avoidable, even when it comes to stainless steel. Knowing how to remove it is not only necessary for getting rid of the unsightly marks, but also to prevent the steel from suffering any further damage. Undertaking the process of removing the rust will ensure that the problem will not worsen and result in a replacement being required.

Step 1 - Inspect

Fully examine the entire stainless steel item that has been affected as there may be other spots of corrosion; if you have noticed it at one point, it is likely to also exist in other locations. When dealing with a stainless steel piece of furniture, carefully shift it to check the reverse and underside surfaces. Further, in recognizing how to remove rust, you must also assess the severity of the rust patches, which can be determined during the inspection.

Step 2 - Treat Minor Rust Spots

Removing rust that is recent or minor can be relatively easy. Use some fine-grit sandpaper to rub at the patch, continually checking the status as you go to determine that your actions are working. Follow this by mixing a solution of soda crystals and water in accordance with the instructions, and spray it on the spot. Rub the solution in with a cloth to remove any last traces of rust before wiping it away with a clean dry cloth.

If this proves ineffective, apply a little baking soda to the rust patch and rub it into the surface with a cloth that has been dampened with white vinegar. Use white vinegar over other types of vinegar as the odor isn’t as strong.

Step 3 - Take Care of Larger, Tougher Rust Spots

If the outbreak of rust has become more ingrained into the stainless steel, removing it will take much longer. Begin by rubbing the rust with some wire wool or a wire brush to remove any excess deposits. You will then be in a position to spray the rust patches with the soda crystal solution before covering the area with ketchup. The ingredients in ketchup are ideal for getting rid of rust. Leave the substance in place for at least half an hour before wiping it away with a water-dampened cloth. Ensure that you remove any last traces of water with a dry cloth afterward so you don't leave a breeding ground for more rust.

For more stubborn spots, apply some lemon juice to the area and leave it in place for at least half an hour before following the same method to rinse and dry it.

Step 4 - Finish

After you remove the rust, you should also know how to reduce the risk of it happening again. Depending on the existing finish of the stainless steel, you will be able to complete the repair by coating the area with a wax or polish that is suitable for use with stainless steel. These will be available from many hardware stores and in a wide variety. Simply choose one and apply it to the surface as directed for a lasting solution to rust damage.