How to Get Rust Off Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a chromium-based metal that forms a thin oxide layer on its surface to protect it against corrosion. When that layer is damaged, it will develop rust.

Rust stains can be difficult to remove, but you can use plenty of simple household ingredients to get rid of them. Here are a few to try.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a popular household cleaner, deodorizer, laundry booster, and whitener. It is also an excellent non-abrasive way to remove rust stains and other harsh blemishes.

It can be used to help get the rust off stainless steel and many other items you have around the house, so make sure you always have some on hand!

Mix equal parts baking soda with lemon juice for this tried and true cleaning method. Apply this paste to any oxidation spots, and then use a damp sponge to clean the gunk away.

Once all oxidation spots have been treated, rinse off the baking soda paste and wipe the metal surface down to reveal a rust-free finish!

Another popular scouring option is cream of tartar. This powdered tartaric acid contains acetic acid, a mild corrosive that removes rust spots.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a natural and safe way to get rust off stainless steel. It works well on stainless cookware and other appliances, removing grease and stains while sanitizing the metal.

Vinegar has acetic acid, a mild corrosive that will help eat away at rust and grime on stainless steel surfaces. You can spray the vinegar directly on the appliance to clean it or soak a microfiber cloth in the vinegar and wipe it down.

The vinegar will also remove a rainbow tint from stainless steel when you heat it quickly, making it look unappealing. Use this method on stainless cookware only when cooking with food that won’t stain or rust it.

After soaking the tool in vinegar, it will form a chemical reaction with the rust, breaking down and disappearing. This gives vinegar its reputation as an effective rust-removing tool, and it’s why it’s one of the best household cleaners you can find.

Oxalic Acid

When stainless steel utensils or pots get wet, they become prone to rust. This is because the chromium oxide layer that protects them from rust has been compromised.

Oxalic acid is a strong chemical that can help to get the rust off of stainless steel. It can be applied to the rust using a damp sponge or cloth and then rubbed in the direction of the grain of the metal.

This will help to dissolve the rust, which makes it easier for you to rinse it away. However, oxalic acid is also corrosive and can cause serious health effects if it comes into contact with the skin. It can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.

Cream of Tartar

Stainless steel can be prone to rust, especially when the chromium layer on top of the metal disintegrates. However, you can use several simple cleaning solutions to remove rust from stainless steel items in your home, including baking soda, white vinegar, and cream of tartar.

One of the most inexpensive and effective ways to clean your appliances is to mix cream of tartar with lemon juice. This can be used to get rid of rust spots on stainless steel pots, pans, and copper kettles.

You can also use cream of tartar to remove stains from porcelain surfaces like your sink or toilet. Sprinkle powder on a damp cloth and rub it over the affected area. After a few minutes, you can wash the spot with water. If the stains remain, repeat the process with fresh paste. If the rust spot is too stubborn, you may need to try a more robust cleaning solution.