Tue. Nov 29th, 2022
How to remove rust from stainless steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of different metals (mainly steel), which also includes chrome in its composition. This last element creates a protective film and makes the steel more resistant to oxidation. So why does stainless steel rust? Despite its resistance, we must not forget that we are talking about a metal and, as such, it is sensitive to the action of external agents, such as humidity or dirt.

If you want to know how to remove rust from stainless steel to keep all your kitchen utensils, appliances or any object made of this material in perfect condition, keep reading. In this OneHOWTO article we tell you what is good for cleaning stainless steel and how to remove rust from this type of alloy if it finally appears.

Water, sponge and microfiber cloth

Before having to remove rust from stainless steel, it is best to prevent its appearance through proper hygiene. By cleaning stainless steel, we will ensure that our objects and appliances are impeccable for longer, delaying their deterioration and oxidation. If you want to remove dust, grease or any type of dirt, do the following :

  • Use a microfiber cloth to get rid of surface dirt.
  • Moisten a soft sponge (never a scourer or brush that can scratch the steel) and clean without rubbing.
  • To finish, dry very well again with the microfiber cloth, since humidity favors oxidation.

For persistent stains, you can add a few drops of soap to the water, but check that the product does not contain any element that could be abrasive. In this way, you will delay the corrosion or breakage of the material, something essential to avoid rusty stainless steel.

If you want to know more about cleaning this material, take a look at our article on How to clean stained stainless steel .

Baking soda

Baking soda is an excellent ally if you are trying to remove a small rust stain on the steel, perhaps due to a blow received. In this case, prepare an anti-rust paste following this technique :

  1. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of water.
  2. Apply on the rusty area.
  3. Leave it on for a couple of minutes.
  4. Remove with a clean, damp cloth, exerting light pressure, but without rubbing excessively.
  5. Rinse to remove any remaining baking soda.
  6. Dry the steel very well with a cloth.


If you are looking for an effective remedy against rust to help you restore the shine of stainless steel, vinegar is one of the simplest solutions available to you. The ideal is to use white vinegar , which is generally used in household cleaning, but wine or apple vinegar can also give you good results. You can use it in two ways :

  • To remove large or persistent stains on small objects, such as tools or cutlery, submerge them in a bowl or basin filled with vinegar, so that they are completely submerged. Let the vinegar acids act for five to ten minutes and you will see how the rust begins to come off. Then, take out the object and wash it with water. Dry with a cloth, preferably microfiber.
  • To remove smaller stains, or for a general cleaning of large surfaces, try diluting a cup of vinegar with a cup of water in a diffuser bottle. Apply to the area to be treated and remove the solution with a sponge moistened with water. Dry well and you will have stainless steel as good as new.

lemon or lime

A file or lemon can also be effective as a rust remover for stainless steel, especially if the stains are fresh and not heavily encrusted. To use them, cut one of these citrus fruits in half and pass one of the halves through the rusty area . Wait a few minutes, pass a damp sponge and dry the piece to leave it flawless.

Oxalic acid

In addition to the above home remedies, there are also specific industrial products to remove rust from stainless steel. They are safe, their effectiveness is guaranteed and you can use them without any effort.

The most recommended industrial products are those that contain oxalic acid and the easiest to use are those that come in cream form. Simply apply them to the rusty surface, let them act for a few minutes and remove with a clean, dry cloth.

Strippers and scale removers

Strippers and scale removers are stronger products that can be abrasive, so they should only be used for old, stubborn stains. If you choose this option, make sure it’s stainless steel grade strippers or scale removers and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Check our site for more.