How to Clean Rusted Chain-Link Fences

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Remove rust from chain-link fences promptly so it doesn't spread.
Remove rust from chain-link fences promptly so it doesn't spread. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A chain-link fence offers a sense of security. Whether you use it to keep pets in the yard or so your children can play freely outdoors, keeping it well maintained helps to increase its lifespan. Chain-link fences may rust over time. Not only is rust unsightly on the fence, it can continue to spread if left untreated. Remove rust from your chain-link fence at first sight to prevent a larger problem in the future.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Wire brush
  • Synthetic steel-wool pad, sandpaper or emery cloth
  • Naval jelly
  • Paintbrush
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits

Rinse the chain-link fence with water from the garden hose, setting the nozzle on the highest pressure setting and holding it a few inches from the rusty spots to remove loose rust pieces.

Scrub the rusty spots with a wire brush, moving the brush back and forth over the spots to flake off the rust. Use a synthetic steel-wool pad, sandpaper or emery cloth to get rust out of crevices and other hard-to-reach spots.

Spread naval jelly onto remaining rust spots using a small paintbrush. Let it sit for 10 minutes, the wipe the jelly and rust off the chain-link fence with a damp rag.

Dampen a rag with mineral spirits once the majority of the rust is gone. Scrub the fence with the rag and mineral spirits to remove any remaining rust and residue from the fence, switching to a clean rag as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can buy naval jelly at most hardware and home-improvement centers.

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