Rusty Metal Storage? 10 Tips to Clean It

Metallic storage cabinets are the most convenient form of storage because they are sturdy, safe and very dependable. They are preferred over wooden shelves because they can stand harsh weather conditions and aren’t affected by pests. However, metallic cabinets have one weakness. When they aren’t painted or galvanized properly, they are corroded by the environment forming the brown coating of rust. The problem with rust is that it cannot be ignored as it eats through the metal till the cabinets form holes. The residue which results from rusting also contaminates whatever is stored in the cabinets and stains floors, walls, and upholstery.

Here are ten tips that you will find very useful in cleaning rust off your metallic cabinets.

How is Rust created?

The scientific name for the chemical reaction which leads to rusting is oxidation. Oxidation occurs in the presence of iron, oxygen, and moisture. When it happens, the brown substance will call rust, hydrated Iron III Oxide, results. The simple process means that the best way to deal with rust on iron and other metals is simply preventing the exposure of untreated metal to the open air, and most especially, moisture.

One: Using vinegar

One of the most effective ways to clean rust off all metallic surfaces is the use of vinegar. Soak a cloth in vinegar and wet the surface that has the rust thoroughly. Wait for a few minutes and then scrub the surface clean. The science behind this is that vinegar is a weak acid. Acids are known to be very effective in dissolving the hydrated iron oxide, leaving behind the clean and rust free cabinet surface.

The other benefit that comes from the use of vinegar to remove rust off the surface of metallic cabinets is that it forms a hard oxide coating, which prevents further rusting.

Two: Using Lemon and Salt

Another easy way to remove rust from the surface of cabinets and without causing a lot of damage is the use of the juice squeezed from lemons and salt. Lemons contain citric acid, which is also a weak acid. The citric acid is also effective in dissolving the hydrated iron oxide.

The process is quite simple. You sprinkle some salt all over the surface which is affected by rust. Then, you squeeze about half a lemon all over the salt. The resulting paste is very effective in cleaning up rust stains. Do not let the paste sit for too long as it could corrode the metallic surface.

Three: Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is chemically known as Sodium Bicarbonate. It is a strong alkali, and when it is mixed with water, it forms a very strong rust stripping solution. To use baking soda for rust removal, you need to add water to it till it becomes a thick paste. Apply this paste onto the parts of the cabinets which have rust. The alkali will react with and dissolve the hydrated iron oxide and form a soluble salt. It will leave behind a sparkling clean cabinet surface.

Four: A potato and Bathing Soap

Another very effective way to remove rust from surfaces is by using a combination of a potato and the bathing soaps that are usually placed on a dish. This combination is quite simple. You cut a piece of potato and soak it in a bit of dish soap. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes before applying the paste onto the rusted surface.

The science behind this hack is that soap and potato combination leads to the release of oxalic acid within the potato, which dissolves all the rust. When you have finished rubbing the soapy potato all over the cabinet, you can wait for a few moments and clean it off.

Five: Sand Paper

This is a very mechanical way to deal with rusty surfaces. The method is quite simple and works well when you are dealing with thick coatings of rust. The method is really easy, you get a piece of brown sandpaper and use it to rub out all the excess rust till the entire coating has been removed. You can use other methods such as vinegar to clean off any smaller residues which cannot be easily removed by the sandpaper.

For the best results, you can start the scrubbing process with coarse grit sandpaper and then use some fine grit sandpaper as the coating gets thinner. Using fine grit sandpaper is the best way to ensure that the metal underneath does not get damaged by the scrubbing action.

Six: Using Oxalic Acid from Bar Keeper’s Friend

The barkeeper’s friend is a simple compound which contains oxalic acid. If you cannot find the acid itself, you can use a pack of the BKF. If using the store bought oxalic acid, you will have to wear gloves to help protect your hands from any damage that the acid might cause.

Sprinkle the acid all over the surface which needs cleaning. Note that the acid works very fast, and you will need to wipe down the surface soon after to prevent the possibility of corrosion.

Seven: Using a Chemical Remover

All the items mentioned above are very effective when it comes to the removal of minor rust stains. However, when the stains are massive, and they need a lot of cleaning, it would be best to handle them with specific rust removal chemicals. Buy the chemicals from a trusted seller and ensure you follow instructions for maximum effectiveness.

Eight: Rust Conversion

Another great way to deal with excessive rusting is through conversion. To make this work, you will need a store-bought rust converter. The converter resembles spray paint. You spray it onto the rusted surface, and it prevents further damage from happening.

Nine: Use of Citric Acid

You will find citric acid in sodas like Coke and Pepsi. The acid can also be bought directly from the stores. You pour the soda all over the surface coated with rust. Wait for a few minutes till all the rust has dissolved. After this, you can clean off the rust.

Ten: Steel Wool

Steel wool is another simple item that you will find around the house and one that you can use to clean off rust stains. You cut off a piece of it, scrub the surfaces that are coated with rust and then rinse them off.

These are ten of the simplest ways in which you can remove rust stains from cabinets. Note that the extent of the rust damage is what determines how much work you need to do to remove it. visit Melbourne Fast Office Furniture for quality and rust resistant office furniture.


Leave a Reply