Rust will occur on metal when the metal has been exposed to moisture and corrodes. If not treated properly, rust can continue to eat away at metal until it causes serious damage. You can remove rust from tools, pipes and other metal objects by using a variety of different cleaning products.
There are a variety of commercial products that have been designed specifically to remove rust from a variety of metal substances. Products include Rust Off, Evapo-Rust, Rust Free and Rust Release Super Gel. These products contain a mixture of chemicals and acids that dissolve rust. Application methods vary by brand.
Vinegar is a popular stand-by for cleaning a variety of different objects without using chemical cleaners. Vinegar will dissolve rust if left on a rusty object. The downside of soaking objects in vinegar is that the smell is very strong and some people may find it offensive.
Baking Soda and Lemon Juice
Baking soda can be combined with lemon juice and used to dissolve the rust on a metal object. You can make the baking soda into a paste by mixing it with the lemon juice and then applying it to the rusty areas. Allow the remedy to sit for several hours before removing it. This rust remedy has the benefits of being both non-chemical and it smells better than vinegar. For the most effective results, scrub the item thoroughly with a rag or scouring pad.
Phosphoric acid is commonly used by professionals to remove rust from automobile parts and commercial machines and tools. Phosphoric acid will dissolve the iron oxide, which is the rust, more quickly than it will dissolve the iron or steel. It can be neutralized fairly easily with a baking soda paste -- made by mixing baking soda and water -- when the rust has been dissolved. Since the mixture is water soluble, simply wash it away. Phosphoric acid can be purchased from home improvement stores and chemical supply stores. It is also contained in drinking sodas, like Coke and Pepsi.