How to Clean Metal Without Causing Rust

Clean and dry metal banisters to prevent rust.
Clean and dry metal banisters to prevent rust. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Metal rusts naturally when the metal comes into contact with other alkaline metals, as well as when it gets wet and does not get dry over a long period of time. Getting wet by cleaning will not cause the metal to rust, but it can contribute to the rust if you don’t dry the metal properly. Use the right cleaning method to make sure your cleaning process isn’t contributing too much to the metal’s eventual rust.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal cleaning liquid
  • Distilled water
  • Microfiber cloths

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Mix metal cleaning solution with distilled water. Distilled water does not contain any mineral that might contribute to rusting. Skip this step if the metal cleaner you are using does not need to be mixed with water.

Apply the solution to the metal with a scrubbing brush. Scrub until the piece of metal is clean.

Rinse the metal completely with distilled water.

Dry the metal with a microfiber cloth. This is the most important step to help ensure that rust does not develop prematurely.

Wrap the microfiber cloth around a toothpick and run it through the details and crevices in the metal to make sure water doesn’t get embedded in crevices.

Let the metal sit in an open and well-ventilated area for several hours to air dry completely.


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