How To Clean Rust Off Antiques

What You'll Need
Paint Remover
Wire Brush
Steel Pads
Rust Removal Product
Metal Putty
Putty Knife
Sand Paper
Metal Primer
Protective Gloves

Metal antiques often rust as they age, degrading their quality and depressing their value. Antique items that are commonly made of metal include garden furniture, patio railings, wrought iron stair rails, baskets and many other household and landscaping items.

Rust Prevention Maintenance

Rust removal is a regular maintenance task that should be completed regularly, particularly if you have antique items that are left outside or are located in areas with heavy water exposure or high humidity. It is also a good idea to routinely check all of your metal objects for rust, even if when you were previously repairing metal objects there was no rust present. Rust may also show up if the item becomes damaged or broken, which allows water and rust to penetrate into the metal.


If you have found yourself lucky enough to be in possession of antique iron furniture or other items, then removing the rust is an easy process, although it can be time consuming.

Step 1

The first step is to remove the existing paint from the item. Working in a well ventilated area, cover the item with paint removal and let the solvent sit for a few minutes to begin to work.

Wearing protective gloves, use the wire brush and/or steel pads to scrape the paint off of the item.

Step 2

With all of the paint removed, examine the item for rust spots and damaged or broken places.

Spray the rust remover on the places where there is rust present. If there is extensive rust, you will need to immerse the item in the rust removal product in a bucket if at all possible. If this is not possible, then spray or coat the item liberally with the rust removal product.

Leave the removal product on the item for the recommended period of time on the package instructions. Generally, this will range from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the amount of rust that is being removed.

Step 3

Clean the rust removal solvent from the item by rising it thoroughly with clean fresh water. Use a clean damp sponge to wipe away any rust flakes that did not dissolve.

Step 4

If the rust was not completely removed, then repeat step 2 and 3 as needed.

Step 5

With all of the rust removed, then make any repairs needed with the metal putty. Use your fingers and a putty knife to smooth the repairs. Let the putty dry.

Step 6

Use the sand paper to smooth the repairs and remove any excess dried putty.

Step 7

Spray the item with metal primer and let dry.

Step 8

Paint the item with 2 coats of paint, letting each coat dry between applications.

Step 9

Spray a protective clear coat on the item and let this dry before using the item.