How to Remove Rust from Outdoor Furniture

Furnishing a garden, patio, or backyard with wrought iron or other metal furniture is a long-term investment that increases the property’s overall value and appeal. As a result, it is critical to protect outdoor metal furniture from rust damage, especially during the monsoon and winter seasons, when the rate of rusting accelerates due to excess moisture in the air.

Despite their best efforts, most homeowners cannot prevent metal from rusting and corrosion because it is an unavoidable occurrence.

Removing rust from metal furniture isn’t as difficult as you might think. When a metal object begins to rust, you must take preventative measures. Instead of hiring a professional, you can use everyday household items to remove rust from metal furniture and other metal surfaces.

Here are some rust removal tips for metal chairs, tables, outdoor umbrellas, window frames, and metal tools. Which method and devices will work best depends on the type of metal surface and the amount of rust on the item.


Use a Gentle Cleaning Agent

The simplest way to remove rust is to wipe away the first stains and signs of wear before they become a problem. All you’ll need is a cleaning solution and a rag.

Spray the agent directly onto the rusted surface or apply it with a cloth. Now thoroughly clean the entire surface.

Rust stains will begin to turn brownish-red and will gradually fade with continued rubbing. To remove every last drop of water, wipe down all wet areas with a dry clean cloth. It’s a precautionary measure to keep your metal furniture from rusting.

Make use of Baking Soda

Baking soda, a common chemical compound found in nearly every home, effectively removes rust from metal. Apply a thin layer of the wet baking soda and water mixture and scrub it off.

Use baking soda, water, or hydrogen peroxide (for hard rust) to make a thick paste and apply this acid-based solution to the rusted metal surface gently with a cleaning cloth or pad and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.

Scrub the area with an abrasive until all rusting particles have been removed. Depending on the amount of rust to clean, you may need to repeat the steps twice or three times.

This simple method is highly effective for removing rust from any metal surface, patio furniture, and garden tools.

Make use of white vinegar

Vinegar is well-known as a natural cleaning agent and home remedy due to its acidic and antimicrobial properties. You can add a bit of salt to increase the acidic intensity of the solution, resulting in a more powerful rust cleaning solution.

Vinegar serves a multipurpose use and can clean metal and almost anything in your home.

When rusting off metal patio furniture, rinse each piece with vinegar and leave for about 10 minutes. Using a scrubber and a rag, remove the dissolved rust.

Using this simple method, you can easily remove rust from outdoor metal furniture and metal tools like scissors, pliers, nails, nuts, and bolts.

Make use of Coca-Cola

Yes, you read that correctly. Use your favorite cold beverage to remove stubborn rust stains from metal furniture. Coca-carbonation Cola’s properties make it ideal for dissolving metal oxide.

This makes it an excellent do-it-yourself solution for removing stubborn rust stains from metal furniture.

Pour Coca-Cola on the rusted surface and clean it with a soft cloth or sponge. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after the task to avoid staining your clothes with the drink and dissolving rust.

Use Potato

Potatoes generally contain oxalic acid that can dissolve rust. It is useful for removing dirty brownish stains from metal.

To start a chemical reaction that weakens rust, cut a potato in half, apply a bit of salt or dish soap to the surface, and rub it on the rusty surface.

You can then wipe it with a cloth. This method is extremely useful if you have a pair of rusted scissors or pliers.

Make use of salt and lemon

Another homemade method for removing rust from metal surfaces is to mix lemon juice with plenty of salt. Salt acts as an abrasive, while the citric acid in lemon causes a chemical reaction that helps remove even the most stubborn rust stains.

In this method, you can squeeze a lemon into a bowl with some salt and apply the mixture to stained areas or use them individually.

Finally, after a few hours, scrub it off to reveal the clean surface. This method is also useful for removing rust stains from clothing.

Make use of Aluminium foil

Although everyone uses aluminium foil, few homeowners know that it can remove rust from iron and stainless/chromed steel.

Aluminium reacts with rust to form a material easily scrubbed away.

You must prepare a salt and water mixture or a cold drink. Dip an aluminium foil ball in the solution and place it on the rusted surface.

Aluminium’s softer form and composition make it ideal for removing rust from chrome. This helps loosen the rust residue, which you can then clean with a cloth. To regain the lustrous appearance, repeat the process several times.

Getting Rid of Light Rust

In some scenarios, what appears to be rust is simply a rust stain caused by water accumulation on certain parts of your furniture. A scouring brush or pad, such as steel wool, is ideal for removing light rust. Kerosene can also help remove some of these stains; make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area and keep open flames away from it.

You may still see some rust after using these methods. However, depending on the type and style of your patio furniture, some people will keep it an aged appearance. If you stop here, apply clear coat paint or car wax to the rusted areas. This will keep the appearance while preventing new rust from forming. Proceed to the next stage if you choose to remove the remaining rust. 

Getting Rid of Medium Rust

For removing light rust:

  1. Use a wire brush with medium bristles.
  2. Keep an eye out for bubbled-up paint anywhere on your patio furniture, as this could indicate rust underneath.
  3. Scrape off the paint and sand it down or scrub it with steel wool to get to the problem.

If you intend to paint your furniture after the rust has been removed, consider using a commercial rust remover product; they are very effective. Some environmentally friendly options range from commercial products to home remedies such as lemon juice and vinegar. Because of their acidity, these home remedies effectively remove stains (especially if they aren’t too old) but don’t rely on them for heavy-duty jobs because of their acidity.

If you don’t want to repaint the patio furniture, use an organic rust remover that doesn’t contain acid or harsh chemicals. They’re both convenient and environmentally friendly.

How to Remove Heavy Rust From Metal

If the rust has penetrated deeper into the metal and is not just a stain, you must use some heavy-duty rust removal methods. You can remove it manually by sanding and grinding or using commercial chemicals.

Keep the following in mind when using rust-removing chemicals:

  • Stick to the label’s instructions to the letter.
  • Always wear safety equipment like gloves and a face mask.
  • When dealing with rust on larger objects that cannot be soaked in a liquid solution, use gel products.

How Can I Keep My Furniture From Rusting?

Rust naturally forms with time, destroying the appearance of garden furniture. However, with the intention of prevention, here are some measures you can take to slow the formation of rust.

  • Maintaining metal furniture regularly keeps it from rusting. Wipe down all furniture surfaces regularly with a clean, dry cloth, especially in wet weather.
  • Keep away from rain and direct sunlight. Covers should be used.
  • For rust-free protection, apply a thin coat of paste wax, paint, grease, or oil as a water repellent layer.

How to Refinish Your Iron Wrought Furniture

Do you want to give your patio furniture a new look? Are you already removing rust and repainting a lot of your furniture and looking for a change?

It’s simple to update your wrought iron furniture by painting it. The outdoor furniture market will grow by 4% by 2021, but why buy a new set when you already have a perfectly good one?

Materials You’ll Need: We’re assuming that your chair is in good condition and that you’ve already removed any rust and thoroughly cleaned the furniture. You’ll need the following supplies:

  • Sandpaper 
  • Primer 
  • Paint 
  • Water/Garden Hose

Sand all of your furniture

Lightly sand the entire piece of furniture. This aids in the adhesion of the paint and ensures a clean paint job.

Clean Your Furniture

Sanding removes many particles from the chair, which is necessary for the paint to have the best finish. To remove these extra particles, run water over the chair and ensure it is dry before proceeding to the next step.

 Preparing Your Furniture

Priming is necessary if the colors are drastically different. A light coat of primer will help the color cover better, resulting in fewer coats of paint overall.

Refinish Your Furniture

It’s time to start painting! Paint a thin layer on your furniture, let it dry slightly, and return for the second layer. Picking out your paint and deciding when to paint is the same as restoring and removing rust. By the end of this, you’ll have an entirely new set of patio furniture!

Allow the paint to dry before using your freshly painted patio furniture completely.


Whatever recommendations you choose to implement, keep in mind that removing the rust is only half the battle. Rust will have difficulty penetrating and eating away at the metal with many layers. The next step would be to put a primer and paint it with high-quality paint to prevent the rust from reappearing. To complete the process, use a high-quality topcoat.


See also: Where to Buy Cheap Furniture | 10 Small Backyard Ideas on a Budget

Frequently Asked Questions

Is oil effective at preventing rust?

Oil forms a film that prevents oxygen and moisture from contacting the metal and causing rust. Remember that oil coatings wear off quickly, so oil must be reapplied regularly to prevent rust from forming.

Is rusted metal more brittle?

Rusted metal is much weaker than rust-free metal. Rust causes the metal to become flaky and brittle, weakening it to the point where you can break it apart with your fingers.

See also: Tips for Removing Rust From Outdoor Metal Furniture | How to Use Furniture Moving Sliders | How to Insulate Your Apartment Windows for Winter

Written by

Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.