How to Remove Rust From Iron Fences

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Things You'll Need

  • Acid-resistant gloves

  • Safety glasses

  • Wire brush

  • Whisk broom

  • Disposable paintbrush

  • Naval jelly

  • Fine steel wool

  • Mineral spirits

  • Soft towels

  • Corrosion-inhibiting metal primer

  • Alkyd topcoat paint

  • Regular paintbrush

Rust mars an iron fence's aesthetic appeal.

Distinguished for their custom designs and ornamental appeal, iron fences provide properties with privacy and security. Although remarkably durable, iron fences are vulnerable to rust. Just a slight chip or scratch in painted iron fences leaves them exposed to nature's elements and prone to rust. Rust appears as flaky, bronze-colored scale and quickly spreads throughout exposed iron. Allowing rust to advance causes iron fences to eventually weaken and ultimately deteriorate. Immediately remove rust from iron fences for preservation purposes.


Step 1

Gear up in acid-resistant gloves and safety glasses before undergoing the process. Protective gear guards against flying rust fragments and chemical rust removers.

Step 2

Scrub loose rust scale off the iron stakes using a wire brush. Detach as much corrosion as possible. Brush the detached rust particles off the iron fence with a whisk broom when finished.

Step 3

Examine the iron stakes for bronze-colored scale or flakes. If even a trace of corrosion lingers, use a disposable paintbrush to spread naval jelly onto the iron. Let the naval jelly penetrate the lingering rust for 30 minutes.


Step 4

Rinse the iron fence with water to wash off the naval jelly. If any rust fragments remain, repeat the previous steps.

Step 5

Dip fine steel wool in mineral spirits. Rub the wet steel wool over the iron to dislodge any grime. Cleaning the fence prepares it for primer and paint.

Step 6

Rinse the iron fence and fully dry it with soft towels.

Step 7

Prime the fence immediately, before the exposed iron begins rusting. Spray a coat of corrosion-inhibiting metal primer evenly over the iron fence. Let the metal primer air dry for the length of time advised by the primer manufacturer.


Step 8

Brush two coats of alkyd topcoat paint over the metal primer using a regular paintbrush. Let each coat of topcoat paint air dry separately for the length of time advised by the paint manufacturer.


Substitute a belt sander for the wire brush. Operate the belt sander as advised by the sander manufacturer.


Naval jelly is caustic and can burn skin; apply it cautiously.