How to Fix Rust on Metal Fences


Rust forms when exposed metal comes into contact with moisture and oxygen. Reddish-brown in color, rust is unsightly and corrosive. Rust on a metal fence can eventually spread and corrode the entire fence. A rusty metal fence is both unpleasant to look at and dangerous. Remove rust from a metal fence at first sight to prevent it from spreading and protect the appearance and stability of the fence.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrub brush
  • Old toothbrush
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Paper towels
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Rags
  • Borax
  • Lemon juice
  • Large bowl
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Spoon
  • Brush as much loose rust from the fence as possible. Use a dry scrub brush to sweep rust from larger surface areas. An old toothbrush can be used for smaller, hard-to-reach areas.

  • Sand the fence with 80-grit sandpaper. Sand lightly using a circular motion to further remove flaking rust from the fence.

  • Saturate paper towels with undiluted white vinegar. Lay the vinegar-soaked paper towels onto the rusty areas of the metal fence.

  • Allow the paper towels to sit on the fence for at least 30 minutes. Leave them on longer if the rust is extensive or if it does not appear to be dissolving.

  • Remove the paper towels from the fence. Scrub the rusted areas of the fence with a scrub brush or toothbrush dipped in vinegar.

  • Wipe down the fence with a wet rag followed by a dry rag. Reapply vinegar soaked paper towels until the rust has all been removed.

  • Use borax and lemon juice for an alternative method for removing rust from a metal fence. Combine equal parts borax and lemon juice into a large bowl. Saturate paper towels with the solution and lay them on the rusted areas of the fence. Leave them on the fence for at least 30 minutes. Wash the fence with a wet rag and dry with a clean rag.

  • Make a solution of cream of tartar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for yet another method for removing rust from metal. Combine 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 tsp. cream of tartar into a large bowl. Slowly add hydrogen peroxide, stirring as you are pouring it, until a thick paste forms. Use a rag to dab the mixture onto the rust spots. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. Wipe clean with a wet rag followed by a dry towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep these cleaning solutions out of reach of children and pets.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin from the cleaning agents.

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  • Photo Credit rusty chain link fence image by jbattx from
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