Rust is not just an automotive plight. It can stain clothes and fixtures, render tools unusable, and stain house siding. Sand happens. Salt happens. Rust happens. There are at least a few ways to take care of rust.
To avoid rust, cars need wax and other finishes to seal off the metal under the paint from air and water. The undercarriage should be rinsed off whenever possible and there are oils available at mechanics to protect exposed parts. Other iron that is susceptible to the elements can be galvanized, meaning it is coated with zinc as a protective layer. Special paints are also available to protect iron by priming it. All of these ways of preventing rust are built on the same principle: cover it in something that doesn’t react to oxygen.
When rust forms, and it will, it can be scrubbed off without enough will and determination. This could damage the metal with scratches. There are ways to clean rust off better than sheer will power. Most involve subjecting it to another chemical reaction.
- White vinegar is a magic cleaner. Allow whatever’s rusty to soak in the vinegar’s acetic acid for a couple hours. Afterwards, what is left can be easily scrubbed off. It can even be left to soak for a whole day for less scrubbing.
- Baking soda can also combat rust. Make a paste with water and baking soda and spread across the rush. Then scrub it off with a toothbrush once the paste has dried.
- Salt isn’t only our enemy and the reason for all this rust. Salt can be a friend, too. Sprinkle whatever’s rusty in salt and then coat with lime or lemon juice (citric acid). Wait a few hours before scrubbing off. The rust should be soft enough that the lime/lemon rind is a strong enough scrub off the flakes.