Vintage enamelware can be intimidating to clean. You may have heard horror stories about how easily it can be ruined. But using common household products instead of harsh specialty cleaners will result in easy cleaning of even the toughest rust stains. Treat enamel surfaces with care, and be thorough for best results.
Things You'll Need
Clean cloth or rag
Get as much loose rust off as you can. Start by removing large flakes with a soft sponge and dish soap. Soak the sponge with water, then squeeze it out most of the way and add a few drops of dish soap. Rub gently on the rusted areas in circles. Use an old toothbrush to get into crevices.
Rinse with clean water to remove any leftover soap, then pat dry with a clean cloth or rag. Rinse out the sponge and toothbrush to avoid staining them.
Mix two tablespoons baking soda with two tablespoons white vinegar. Spread the paste on the rusted areas and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a scouring pad to rub the paste in circles gently if the surface is metal. If the surface is enamel, use the toothbrush and scrub gently in circles.
Wash out carefully. Rinse with warm water thoroughly to be sure all of the mixture is out of the coffee pot. If rust stains remain, repeat the paste treatment and let it sit longer, up to 15 minutes. Then scrub and rinse.
Dry well. Don't let water or any other liquid sit in the pot; that will only cause more rust. Once it is clean, wipe the pot inside and out with a clean cloth, then dry it upside down. In humid climates, consider drying it thoroughly with a fan or hair dryer.
Always test cleaners on a spot that doesn’t show. Antique enamelware can be easily stripped of its gloss. Have water handy to quickly wash off the cleaner if it damages the finish.
Don’t use steel wool on enamel surfaces; it strips away the delicate finish, and tiny cracks in the glaze snag strands of steel wool, destroying the scrubber.