DIY Rust removal

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DIY Rust removal, Mikey writes-

I was looking around instructables the other day and saw a great howto about rust removal using electricity. “Hmm”, I thought to myself. I sure like to electrocute things. My neighbor gave me a rusty pipe wrench which came out impressively rust free after a few hours of soaking. I used a 12V .5A power supply and attached the negative end to the pipe wrench and the positive end to a old piece of steel remesh. Both pipe wrench and remesh were put in a bucket of water that had some baking soda. After a few hours of bubbling I removed the pipe wrench and let it sit for a hour in a vinegar bath.

8 thoughts on “DIY Rust removal

  1. The instructable specifically says not to use “baking soda” but to use “washing soda” instead. But obviously Mikey says it worked. I was just curious what the difference is then between the two sodas. Anyone?
    While the Baking soda worked, would it have worked better if Mikey used Washing Soda?

  2. cyenobite2,

    Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
    Washing soda is sodium carbonate (Na2CO3)

    Both are salts (ionic compounds) so they will provide an electrolyte solution, necessary for electrolysis. You could also use Epsom salts which is magnesium sulfate. Just do not use table salt (NaCl) as chloride can be oxidized to chlorine gas.

  3. Yeah, bicarb will work just fine. That’s what I’ve always used:
    http://dansdata.blogsome.com/2006/12/09/rust-begone/

    Note that if you just take the item out of the de-rusting bath and wash it off, it will acquire a new thin coating of rust in a matter of hours, if not faster. The Instructable mentions this. If you don’t have special anti-rust goop to spray or paint on the item, just spray some WD-40 on it and it’ll be fine for some time.

    (I’m not sure what the point of the vinegar bath after de-rusting is. It’d neutralise any bicarb sitting in crevices, but you can also just rinse the item off, and acetic acid will slowly eat steel.)

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