How to Remove Rust From a Garbage Can

Removing rust from a garbage can is a simple project that will require only a little elbow grease. Rust can develop on metal garbage cans since they are often out in the elements and are not the most gently treated objects. Damage to the coating gives water a spot to penetrate and begin oxidizing the iron in the can's design. Do not try to remove the rust from a can that has completely rusted through since it will leave a hole. Surface rust can be removed.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Vinegar
  • Steel wool

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Remove the rust from the can with a small piece of 120 grit sandpaper. This will not be the main rust but the flaky rust that has bubbled off.

Pour distilled white vinegar on the rust spots and allow it to stand for a couple of hours. If the can is round, you will have to apply it a couple of times.

Scrap the rust off with the steel wool. This may take some scrubbing but the rust eventually will come off.


  • "Time-Life Books Complete Home Improvement and Renovation Manual"; Bob Vila and Time-Life Books; 1991
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