How To Clean Metals, How Remove Rust And Oxidation From Metal Objects

February 9 2014

Almost all metals are attacked by the oxygen in the air.

The reaction that this gas, in a humid environment, may cause to some metals is called oxidation.

The oxides ruin the appearance of metal objects and often also affect the mechanical strength of them.

Typical in this regard is the rusting of iron.

In some metals the oxidation process stops at the surface as the oxide creates a sort of protective film. In others instead, such as iron , the oxidation process continues even in depth .

In all cases, however, a treatment which is always effective is the use of abrasives. However abrasives (such as sandpaper) may cause a suface incision surface of the metal and you can not insist too much. If it is necessary to proceed deeply, it will be better to use specific chemicals.


For object in aluminum we must make a distinction when it comes to items that are used for food or not.

  • In the case of pots and pans for cooking, due to frequent usage, the pots do not have time enaugh to be covered with oxide and then you probably need to do just a normal cleaning with soap and water and then proceed with a good rinse .
  • For items destined to other purposes, they should be cleaned with a cloth soaked in ammonia (remember to use gloves and keep the window open to avoid the poisonous fumes).

After that, to polishing objects you may use a 10% solution of ammonia chloride in distilled water.


To remove rust from iron, you can use many preparations but after a while the rust come back if the treatment is not repeated with some frequency.

To remove the rust you must wet first the object (if possible by immersing) with a solution of stannous chloride diluted to 8% in hot water. After a while by using a brush you must clean away the residue of rust, then brush it with ammonia to stop the action of stannous chloride and finally rinse and dry it.

Today, however, there are available special anti-rust enamel paints that can be spread directly onto rust and they have already a finished aspect.


    • If the object is scrubbable, prepare a paste with 60% chalk, 25% cream of tartar (more technically known as potassium hydrogen tartrate) and 15% of sodium borate, add a bit of water and rub the object with a cloth.
    • If the object can not be rubbed, boil it in a solution of sodium thiosulphate .
    • You can wipe with a dry mixture of tartaric acid and diatomaceous earth (siliceous sedimentary rock )in equal parts.
    • For brass and other materials subject to blacken (as gas burners), rub them with a cloth soaked in vinegar.



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