Remove Stubborn Rust From Your Outdoor Furniture With This Kitchen Staple

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Furnishing your lawn with sturdy and stylish outdoor furniture is a necessary investment, especially if you enjoy spending time outside or throwing parties frequently. However, it can soon begin sporting an unsightly layer of rust when the oxygen and moisture in the air react with the metal furniture, giving way to oxidization. The resultant brown and red layer won't just mar the fixtures' beauty but also affect their structural integrity. Fortunately, you can remove stubborn rust from your outdoor furniture with a common kitchen staple—aluminum foil.

Aluminum foil is used to remove rust from metal furniture made of iron and stainless or chrome steel, as when it's rubbed against the rusted parts, it helps loosen the stubborn brown and red layer and makes it easy to remove. This hack will be especially useful during the rainy season and winter since the high moisture content in the air will put your outdoor furniture at a higher risk of developing rust. So, grab your trusty roll of aluminum foil and learn how you can use it to banish rust from your lawn furnishings. In case you don't have any handy, get a pack of 30 square feet of Reynolds Wrap for under $3 from Amazon.

How to use aluminum foil to remove rust

Begin by combining a few drops of dish soap with a bucket of water to create a soapy mixture. Dip a clean microfiber cloth in the solution and rub it across the rusted furniture. This won't just clean the surface and get rid of dirt and debris but also make it easier for you to spot areas that need correction. After you're done, tear off some aluminum foil from the roll, crumple the foil into a ball, and gently rub it onto the affected areas. You can do this with both sides of the foil.

However, if the rust is incredibly stubborn, dip the crumpled foil ball into a salt and water solution to increase its efficacy. Don't forget to dip the ball into the solution whenever it dries out to allow it to loosen the rust's hold on the furniture and reduce the time and effort you'll have to put in to restore it. Alternatively, you can combine white vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio and spray this solution over the rusted parts or dip the foil in it before you rub the rust off with the aluminum ball.

Remember, you might have to rub the rusted patches a couple of times to uncover the shiny surface underneath. Once the furniture is free of rust, use a microfiber cloth to dry and shine it. When done, apply a thin coat of paint or varnish to weatherproof your outdoor furniture.

Why aluminum foil is successful in removing rust

To understand why aluminum foil successfully removes rust from your outdoor furniture, we need to take a quick walk down science lane. Oxygen prefers aluminum to iron. Moreover, aluminum has a greater affinity for reduction—it can easily take on electrons without breaking down. So, when the iron oxide (or rust) on your lawn furnishing encounters the aluminum foil, the heat generated by the rubbing action triggers a chemical reaction that breaks the rust down and forms iron and aluminum oxide. In simple terms, the aluminum foil gains oxygen molecules while the iron surface loses it.

Further, the foil dissolves rust as opposed to rubbing it out of the furnishing. It's also softer than steel wool. This ensures that your lawn furniture comes out the other side rust-free and with fewer or zero scratches marring its surface. Moreover, the saltwater and vinegar solutions increase the speed of the chemical process and act as a gentle polish for the fixture. However, note that though this aluminum foil hack works against surface-level rust, it won't be of much use if the furniture you want to bring back to life has developed deep layers of iron oxide.