Adding a spot of metal patio furniture is a practical way to enhance the beauty of your backyard or patio. But the problem with wrought iron and other metals is they need continual maintenance to prevent rust. And with Britain's predominantly wet climate, you'll need to do a lot to keep your metallic outdoor furniture pristine.
Most people resort to extreme means once the rust sets into metal objects. Others give up and call the professionals. However, as you'll see, dealing with such an issue isn't as hard as it appears. All you need is a little time and a few household items available within your home.
Today we’ll explore how to remove rust from metal umbrellas, table frames, chairs, and other types of furniture. These DIY methods work on stainless steel, wrought iron, cast iron, and other metals regardless of the severity of rust build-up.
What DIY Methods Can You Use to Remove Rust from Metal Patio Furniture?
The solution to most problems often lies in the basic resources within our possession. So, let's start by focusing on DIY solutions you can use to get rid of grime and rust accumulation. With some elbow grease and a bit of luck, you won't have to resort to extreme means.
1. White Vinegar
White vinegar contains lactic acid, which makes it a very stable and safe cleaning agent. Its acidic nature dissolves the rust, ensuring you spend less energy on sanding a rusty metal surface. Vinegar also has antimicrobial properties for that much-needed deep clean.
1. Rinse the affected area with vinegar
2. Add some salt if the surface is caked in grime
3. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes
4. Gently scrub with a piece of steel wool or metal bristle brush
5. Rinse the area with plenty of water and let it dry
2. Baking soda
Baking soda has similar properties to vinegar. As an alkaline solution, it helps reverse the oxidation processes behind rusting. This means you get rid of the rust without coating or exposing an affected surface to hazardous chemicals.
1. Prepare a baking soda & water paste for moderate rust levels
2. Use hydrogen peroxide instead of water for hard rust
3. Apply the thick paste to the affected surface
4. Allow the paste to sit for not more than 20 minutes
5. Scrub the area with an abrasive scrubber like sandpaper or bristle brush
6. Repeat the procedure if the results are unsatisfactory
3. Coca Cola
Did you know that you regularly down bottles of rust remover? As a carbonated drink, Coca-Cola has the properties necessary for dissolving metal oxide (rust) and other catalysts. Please note that it works best on flat surfaces. It's also time-consuming and is not a very cost-effective way of removing rust from metal furniture as the other methods listed.
1. Pour some cola on the affected area and let it sit
2. Scrub the area with a sponge or hand towel
3. Rinse off with plenty of water
Rinse your patio floor of all traces of the brown (cola/rust) mixture to avoid creating a permanent rust stain on your tilling or paving.
4. A Potato
Potatoes are rich in starch and have a high concentration of oxalic acid. This combination of organic compounds is the recipe for a killer rust removal agent.
1. Cut the potato in half
2. Add dish soap or salt to the potato
3. Scrub the affected surface with the potato
4. Let the potato/salt mixture sit for 1 -2 minutes
5. Wipe the surface off any loosened rust
5. Aluminium Foil
Aluminium foil can help seal in the freshness of more than your leftovers. It also works as an excellent DIY rust remover for your iron patio furniture.
1. Mix salt into some warm water in a bowl
2. Roll the aluminium foil into a ball
3. Dip the aluminium ball into the saltwater mix
4. Scrub the affected surface to clean off the rust
5. Rinse the surface and repeat the procedure until you get the desired results
You can turn removing rust from your metal patio furniture into a fun DIY home improvement project. All the tools you need are at hand. All that’s needed is some time and elbow grease.
What Is the Fastest Way to Remove Rust Stains from Metal?
Rust can be a resilient enemy once it infects a metal surface. So you may need some more aggressive methods if you're impatient or if DIY techniques prove to be less fruitful.
Sometimes removing rust is hard, but it's not impossible with the following methods:
Grinding Rust Off with Power Tools
Power tools like rotary drills, sanders and angle grinders can scour or grind all the rust off. However, it's worth noting that this will also eliminate the coat of paint beneath the rusty layers.
Precautions to Take
Safety comes first. So arm yourself with PPE such as goggles, a dust mask and gloves. It also makes sense to wear an apron or dust coat to keep the rust off your clothes.
- A light touch is necessary while operating your grinder. This is because you want to eradicate the rust and not destroy your lovely patio furniture.
- Grinders work well for larger surfaces. In comparison, sanders are ideal for getting into the crevices and other hard-to-access areas.
Ensure you give the surface another "once over" with a smooth, delicate tool after removing the rust. This step helps smoothen out the metal making it easier to apply a coat of primer or a thin layer of paint after the clean-up. A 400-grit wet or dry sandpaper comes highly recommended for this.
A Rust Converter
A rust converter is probably the most dynamic rust removal agent you can find in the shop or on Amazon. Its synthetic polymer formulation also works as a primer. It does so by converting rust (iron oxide) into a black paintable surface.
Rust converters are not as toxic as chemical rust cleaners, but you still need to use some safety gear while handling them.
1. Use a wire brush or steel wool to scrape the surface of any flaky paint or rusty layers
2. Use a fine nylon brush or sponge to apply the rust converter to the affected surface
3. Let it dry, then repaint your patio furniture or leave it that way.
Rust converters offer the fastest way to remove rust from the furniture. They have such a dramatic impact that it doesn't matter how stubborn or extensive the amount of rust.
Using WD‑40® as a Rust Remover
The WD‑40® rust remover is an excellent tool for removing rust from metal furniture. When the product is sprayed on rusted metal, it penetrates into the pores of the metal to weaken the bond between rust and the metal surface by dissolving the rust. You can then use a wire brush or sandpaper to scrub off the rust.
Any surface being cleaned must first have its dirt removed by cleaning with soap and water or another suitable solvent.
- After drying, spray WD‑40® directly onto the rusted area to completely cover the target area to be cleaned.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing with a stiff brush to remove loosened rust particles and grime.
- Wipe clean again after treatment to assure removal of rust.
In addition, WD‑40® is a lubricant that can be applied to metal surfaces to prevent rusting.
How to Protect Outdoor Metal Furniture from Rust
Eradicating all traces of rust in your garden or patio furniture is not challenging. However, as they say, “prevention is better than cure!” So it makes sense to familiarise yourself with the things that cause rust formation (oxidation).
Here are a few simple ways to keep your metal patio furniture rust-resistant for longer:
- Cover your furniture with a tarp or a rain cover when not in use. Alternatively, you can store it inside your home or garage if there's space, particularly during the wetter months.
- Wipe all wet surfaces with a clean cloth as soon as they come into contact with moisture.
- Give the metal surfaces a thin coat of grease, oil or paste wax. This can act as a water repellent layer for that much-needed rust protection.
- Include your patio furniture in your regular spring cleaning initiative. Take loads of time and expend as much elbow grease as you need to clean every surface, crack and crevice.
As you can see, there's more than one way to remove rust from your patio furniture effectively. So feel free to try any of these methods or even a combination of strategies. But, rust removal is merely half of the battle you'll face as a homeowner. You need to follow our cleaning tips to preserve your outdoor metal furniture.
You’ll also need to learn how to restore your garden furniture with a coat of high-quality primer and several layers of paint. This measure helps prevent rust from rearing its ugly head for months or years to come.
If rust persists, at least you can take solace in the fact that you have eight ways to deal with it!