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How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron

Cast Iron, Rust Remover

If you’re looking for a way to remove rust from cast iron I have a few ways that work really well. The main problem when you want to remove rust from cast iron is the cast iron itself.

There are many different applications where cast iron is used. With the applications comes a different method of removing rust. Cast iron is a porous metal. You can almost think of these pores like the ones on your face. Pores open and close depending on heat or coldness.

One quick way of removing rust and works pretty much on any cast iron is a wire brush, Wire brushes come in many different shapes and sizes. They also come in different hardness per say.

You can get a wire brush that is operated by hand. There are also wire brushes for drills and grinders. Some wire brushes are single wire strands, while others are braided.

To begin with when removing rust from cast iron you want to match the wire brush needed for the cast iron object.

For ease of understanding we are going to use a simple round wire brush that attaches to a drill. The wire brush is single strands. This allows the brush to move into tighter areas. With the drill on high you just go over the cast iron removing the rust.

When you finish the cast iron should be shiny.

Another way to remove rust on cast iron is a bead or sand blaster. Although you can buy these types of units for home there not very common. Sand and bead blasters can be fairly expensive also.

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Naval Jelly is still a third option. Naval Jelly is a chemical rust remover. You paint the rusted area with this jelly like remover. You let the jelly set for a while and then wipe clean.

Sand paper is a very common way to remove rust from cast iron. The down side of sand paper is that the rust on cast iron is usually a flakey kind of rust. The rust flakes have a habit of clogging the sand paper fairly quickly.

In my over fifteen years of metal working experience I have found the best way to remove rust from almost every ferrous metal is the wire brush.

You can get wire brushes from most hardware stores, and also home improvement stores. If you ask the sales associate at the store they can usually point you in the right direction of what wire brush will work best for your needs.

Safety precautions need to be taken when using wire brushes. Eye glasses, long sleeve shirts, gloves, and a dust mask of some sort should all be used.

There are times when flakey rust or even bristles from the wire brush fly off the work piece and hit you. Safety should always be a concern when working with any metal. Cast iron is no different.

After you remove the rust from the cast iron you then want to treat the metal so it doesn’t rust again. This could be by painting the piece or just oiling it.