How To Remove Rust from Metal

Learn three ways how to remove rust from metal and two ways to prevent rust from coming back

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Patio furniture, outdoor tools and lawn machines all eventually get rusty. Learn how to remove rust from metal and how to protect the metal so that it doesn't come back.

Tools Required

  • Angle grinder
  • Bucket
  • Cordless drill
  • Dust mask
  • Hearing protection
  • Orbital sander
  • Paint scraper
  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrush
  • Rags
  • Safety glasses
  • Sanding block
  • Wire brush

Materials Required

  • Chemical rust removers
  • Metal paint
  • Metal primer
  • Rust converter
  • Sandpaper

You’re surrounded by tools and machines made out of steel. And when the coatings on those products crack, rust starts to bloom and the battle is on. You can attack rust early and nip it in the bud, or you can wait until you have a full-blown war on your hands. Either way, you’ll need a battle plan on how to get rid of rust and a complete list of weapons at your disposal to start the process.

We’re going to show you the five ways how to remove rust from metal—three methods to remove it and two steps to prevent it from coming back, along with the best rust remover.

Project step-by-step (14)

Step 1

Grind, Sand or Scour Off the Rust

If you don’t want to use chemicals and you also want to remove the paint along with the rust, use a power tool like a grinder, sander, oscillating tool or drill to remove rust from tools. Whichever tool you choose, always start with the coarsest abrasive to for how to remove rust from metal and pockmarks. Once the rust is gone, switch to a finer grit to smooth out the swirls and grooves caused by the coarse grit. For the smoothest paint job, finish sanding with 400-grit wet/dry paper.

Grind, Sand or Scour Off the RustFamily Handyman

Step 2

Match the Abrasive to the Shape

  • Use flap discs, fiber discs and sanders on large, flat areas.
  • Switch to wire wheels for seams, corners and rounded rusted metal areas.
    • Note: A wide range of stripping, grinding and sanding attachments are available for grinders.

Match the Abrasive to the ShapeFamily Handyman