Using Soda Blasting for Rust Removal

What You'll Need
Protective clothing
Eye protection
Face mask
Ear protection
Shop rags
Sodium bicarbonate
Soda blasting gun
Air compressor
Plastic sheets
Masking tape

Abrasive blasting, sand blasting and soda blasting are all essentially the same practice. Each of these uses a harsh material, that is propelled at a high rate of speed at an object for the purpose of refinishing. Abrasive blasting uses any type of abrasive from walnut shells to glass beads. Sand blasting uses small granules of sand, while soda blasting uses sodium bicarbonate (otherwise known as baking soda). Removing rust via soda blasting leaves a clean surface, without any damage to it. Soda blasting is also environmentally safe. Removing rust with soda blasting is efficient, quick and easy. The following article will show you how.

Step 1 – Prep the Material

Depending on what you are blasting rust off of, you may need to prepare it for the process. Even though soda blasting will not damage a surface, the PSI used to remove rust could break and pit glass. Place plastic over any glass in the area, and then tape it in down. You should also cover anything that you do not want to refinish. Cover walls and floors with plastic as well.

Step 2 – Your Protection

Soda blasting is safe, but it does superheat the sodium bicarbonate, through speed and friction. Breathing it in or getting it on your skin could cause serious health problems, including labored breathing, nausea and burning of the skin. Always wear jeans and long-sleeves when soda blasting. A hat is also a good idea, as are gloves and boots. Protection your eyes with goggles or protective glasses, and wear a facemask or respirator as well. Using a soda blasting gun is very loud, so you should wear ear protection as well.

Step 3 – Setting the Unit Up

You will have a soda blasting gun, and a canister that holds the sodium bicarbonate. An air compressor is used to power the system. These can either be plugged in, or they can also use gasoline or diesel. In order to get the pressure necessary, you need to close all of the air valves on the compressor, gun and canister. Attach the hoses, and tighten them with the wrench. Fill the canister with the sodium bicarbonate up to the line. Close the lid and pull the ring, to create an airtight seal.

Step 4 – Soda Blasting the Rust Away

Make sure the PSI is set to 60, and that you are several inches away from the object you are soda blasting. Aim the gun at the rust, and open the valve on the nozzle. Turn on the air compressor and pull the trigger, to propel the sodium bicarbonate at the rust. You will notice the rust being removed. Move the stream around the area and at different angles, to make sure you remove all of the rust. When finished, wipe down the metal surface with soapy water.