How to Stop Iron from Rusting

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If you have iron and it's not in an oxygen-free vacuum, it will inevitably rust. Iron reacts naturally with oxygen to produce iron oxide--rust. Iron oxide weakens the strength of the metal overall, since there is less of it. It also has an unsightly appearance for those not charmed by a rustic abandon home decor.


Fortunately, rust can be defeated through the ingenuity of modern science, but certain steps must be carefully followed to prevent the spread of rust which spreads quickly and easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Rust Removing Agent (like Oxalic Acid)
  • Sandpaper or Sander
  • Rust Resistant Metal Paint
  • Rust Resistant Primer

Cleaning and Removing Rust

  • If the metal that you want to protect is already starting to rust, the first step is to remove any existing iron oxide from the surface. Scrub the rusted area lightly with a wet cloth to remove loose fragments. Apply a rust removing agent like oxalic acid to the damaged area. This should completely remove the existing rust.

  • After you've cleared away the existing damage, the next step is to use sandpaper to remove any leftover fragments or red spots.

  • Once the surface is completely free of rusty red spots, you can apply a coat of rust resistant primer. Primer will protect the surface from rust and help paint adhere better. If you apply only rust resistant paint, you could find yourself back where you started.

  • Apply rust resistant paint. Over the primer, only one or two coats should be necessary.

  • Keep the surface as clean as possible even with the rust resistant paint applied. Wipe dust off the surface daily if possible. If you use a wet cloth dry the surface immediately afterward. Water contains oxygen, and the oxygen can quickly bond with the iron forming more rust..

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