Rust is the adversary of everything made of iron. These include stainless steel as well as your favoured tools and that expensive cast iron skillet.
A chemical reaction happens when iron or iron-containing metals (ferrous metals) come into contact with oxygen and water. Not only does this flaky, red oxidation discolour the metal, but it also compromises its structural integrity. Furthermore, there are a number of DIY rust removers that work just as well as the many brands available for sale. They often function even better.
Vinegar, the Multi-Purpose Acid
The most widely used kitchen product to remove rust is white vinegar, which is an acetic acid solution and a strong oxidation inhibitor. All you have to do is immerse rusted objects in pure vinegar for at least five hours.
Another acidic treatment to rust is to mix powdered citric acid with water. Rusty objects should be soaked in it for roughly the same amount of time before being submerged in clean water and dried. To counteract any residual acid in your rinse solution, it’s a good idea to add baking powder.
The Potato Method
It’s amazing how versatile potatoes can be. It’s not only versatile in terms of cooking, but it also works well as a cleaning tool. This is because oxalic acid, a component found in many commercial cleaning solutions, is present in potatoes.
Slice a potato in half, then generously sprinkle with salt and dish soap. After that, scrub whatever you want the rust removed from with it. Making a fresh cut in the potato and adding extra salt and soap as you go can be necessary.
Old Fashioned Elbow Grease
Sandpaper or a steel wool pad combined with a little elbow grease will work wonders for small patches of rust.
Aluminium foil is another powerful rust remover. To remove rusty areas, simply crumple up a small piece of foil and give it a quick scrub. For minor patches of rust on cast iron cookware, this works incredibly well. Just make sure to remove any microscopic bits of foil that could have gotten stuck. The crumpled foil method is also effective for rusty locations that are difficult to reach, like washbasin drains. The rust-removal process is accelerated by adding salt to the sink and using the foil to press down on the scouring surface of the foil.
If your cast-iron cookware has rusted so badly, you might need to use a combination of rust removal techniques. Soak for a few hours in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water first. Use a steel wool pad or hard brush to scrub it down after the soak until all of the rust has been removed. You can give the object another vinegar bath if needed. Rinse well and completely dry. After that, before using your cast iron cookware, it must be thoroughly reseasoned.