L. & I. J. White


Tips from Old Millrat - James D. Thompson


Removing Rust with Citric Acid by James D. Thompson

  1 of 2  

A quick, simple, and safe method of removing rust from your old tools (or anything else for that matter) is to immerse the rusty parts in a solution of citric acid.  There are many questions asked about citric acid and I will try to answer some of them here. These are my personal opinions only, and I am solely responsible for them.

Q: Where do you get citric acid and how much does it cost?

A: Look online, or locate a brewing supply store. I buy mine at a local brewing supply and it costs about $17 for 5 pounds.

Q: Will the acid hurt japanning?

A: I havenít seen any damage, but I donít leave my parts in the solution for a very long period of time. Your mileage may vary if you leave the parts in for a really long time.

Q: How much do I need?

A: It depends on how many rusty things you want to clean. My 5 pounds has cleaned a lot of tools, and I still have 3 pounds left.

Q: Can I re-use the acid?

A: Yes. When you have finished with cleaning any parts, put the acid into a plastic container and save it for the next job. If you like, you can replenish the acid with fresh powder to keep the strength up.

Since it is fairly inexpensive, I toss mine when it starts to look nasty. It is environmentally friendly, so you can toss it down the drain when you need to dispose of it.

Q: Is it safe, and does it have a nasty odor?

A: I put my hands in it all the time without any harm. It does sting in a fresh cut though. It has no odor.

Q: How much do you have to use?

A: I put a cup of powdered citric acid in a gallon of warm water. Others say they use a lot less. My reasoning is this: I want the job over and done with as quickly as possible.

I donít like to leave any chemistry out overnight. My preference is to stay with the parts in the acid until they are clean.

In the picture story that follows, I was finished within 25 minutes.

Q: Do you have to agitate the solution?

A: Probably not, but I scrub the parts as they are soaking using a soft wire brush. This gets the acid into the rust faster, and when I bring my rust free parts out of the acid they are clean.

1 of 2  



Copyright © 2005-2018, wkFineTools.com and Wiktor Kuc.  All Rights Reserved.  Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
No part of the content from this website can be reproduced by any means without specific permission of the publisher.
Valid CSS!