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Remove rust safely with citric acid

Citric acid is one of the easiest, safest, and least abrasive ways to remove surface rust from old steel tools and accessories.


Citric acid allows you to easily and safely remove rust without damaging the steel finish. Citric acid is the main ingredient in many biodegradable cleaners and also used for baking. 


Citric Acid Powder

Container of warm water

Steel brush, steel wool or scouring pad

Rubber gloves



GOOD TO KNOW: It is always a good idea to do a test before trying this on something important, especially on tools that have been etched.

1. Clean the parts to be soaked beforehand.

2. Place the parts in the container and cover them with warm water. Sprinkle the citric acid powder over the top and gently stir it in. For most rust use 15g citric acid with 400ml water. You should see small air bubbles forming after a few minutes, if not add more citric acid to the solution. 

3. Scrubbing with a scouring pad or steel wool will speed things up. After about an hour you may see flakes of rust in the solution. Most rust should be soaked for 2 to 4 hours before scrubbing, while heavily rusted items may need to be left overnight and be scrubbed again.

GOOD TO KNOW: The solution can be poured down the sink when you're finished.

4. Dry tools thoroughly. Protect steel tools by rubbing down with a cloth and WD-40, and store them in a dry place when not in use.


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