How to Remove Rust From an Old Milk Can

Old milk cans fit in with a variety of decors and make for an impressive focal point when accessorizing a cottage or farm-style room. Outside, the cans function as garden accessories. Old milk cans are typically made from tin. In earlier times, farmers would use "fresh raw acid" to re-tin their milk cans and remove rust. In modern times, we have commercial derusting products as well as homemade remedies to remove rust from an old milk can.

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Milk cans can be used for their original purpose or move into the house as a decor accessory.

Rust-Dissolving Agent

Step 1

Rub fine-grit sandpaper over the rusty spots of the can to loosen the rust.

Step 2

Spray a rust-dissolving agent all over the can.

Step 3

Run a wire brush over the can to lift off the rust. Spray on more of the rust-dissolving product, if necessary.

Step 4

Rinse off the old milk can with water. Inspect it to determine if rust remains and, if so, repeat the scrubbing.

Step 5

Dry the can with a cotton towel.

Potato, Salt and Baking Soda

Step 1

Scrub the milk can with a steel-wool pad to loosen the rust patches.

Step 2

Cut a potato in half, either lengthwise or widthwise, based on which cut will give you the best grip on the potato.

Step 3

Dip the cut potato half into a mixture of 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of salt to coat.

Step 4

Rub the potato vigorously and with hard pressure over the milk can's rust. Re-dip the potato into the baking soda and salt as necessary to keep it coated.

Step 5

Rinse off the can with water and dry it thoroughly with a cotton rag.