Head To The Alcohol Cabinet Next Time You're Dealing With A Rusty Bolt

If you've done any DIY home improvement, you've probably run into a rusty bolt problem before. You go to remove the bolt in question — only to find it's rusted in place.

There are plenty of things to try in this situation, but this might be our favorite hack: reach for a beer. No, not to drink your frustration away. Instead, the beer itself can help loosen that pesky bolt, so you can finish the project and relax. 

Rust is also known as iron oxide: it happens when iron reacts with oxygen. Unfortunately, it can be pretty stubborn to remove. Luckily, carbonation can actually dissolve metal oxides, making beer an easy and cost-effective solution for a rusty bolt. Sure, you could also use a soda for the task, but that's not quite as fun. Still, any carbonated beverage should work in a pinch.

Sometimes, if the bolt is super rusty, it's more efficient to just break it and replace it. However, if you're dealing with a little bit of rust, you can clean the bolt using beer.

How to remove rust with beer

The ideal rust-removal hack is to soak the rusty item in beer or another carbonated beverage for up to 24 hours. Since your rusty bolt is probably rusted into place, though, that's likely not possible. Instead, you can use a scrubby sponge or, better yet, a crumpled ball of aluminum foil to remove the rust. The foil helps to remove iron oxide, making it your best choice for getting that rusty bolt clean and unstuck. Dip the sponge or foil in beer and start scrubbing the rust away. 

You may want to remove just enough rust to get the bolt out. Then, you can more easily soak and scrub the bolt, getting it nice and clean before you put it back in place. Since beer will leave a sweet, sticky residue behind, make sure to clean the bolt with a little soap and water before reinstalling it. 

Tips for successful rust removal

Although beer will get you started, you might need a few other tips and tricks to get that bolt (or other metal item) rust-free without extra hassle. A wire brush can help you scrub rust from threads, so the bolt or screw will turn easily. While scrubbing and removing a bolt, it's wise to wear padded gloves so your hands don't get scraped in the process. 

Once the rust starts coming off with aluminum foil and beer, you may want to switch to a sponge, which will be easier and more comfortable to handle, though less effective than foil. You can keep adding more beer as needed so the carbonation continues to help you out. If you have it, choose a beer with higher acidity, like a hoppy or sour beer, for more potent rust removal. While this hack is great for a rusty bolt, it also removes rust spots from just about anywhere — and it'll leave you with a fun story of how beer helped you get things done