Prevent & Remove Rust From Door Hinges With These Essential Tips

Are you noticing rust on the hinges of your exterior doors? Unfortunately, this is a common nuisance if your door and its hardware are made of a metal that's prone to corrosion. As moisture from the elements builds up on your doors and hinges, it causes oxidation — a process that creates iron oxide, or, as most people call it, rust.

Don't treat rust on your door hinges as a cosmetic issue, no matter how insignificant the spots may seem. Not only is it unsightly, but it will continue building up and wearing away at the hinges if you don't remove it promptly. Rust can also leave nasty stains running down the surface of your door. Luckily, there are a few effective methods you can use to eradicate rust from door hinges before it progresses beyond the point of no return, such as removing it with abrasive tools or using a cleaning mixture to soak it off. You can also take proactive steps to shield the door and its hinges from moisture, like applying a rust inhibitor and keeping the parts dry, and to ensure that any water that contacts the door is left incapable of causing rust. This way, you can prevent rust formation before it builds up on the hinges and the door itself in the first place and save yourself the headache. Below, you'll find out how.

How to prevent rust from appearing on door hinges

Several key steps taken during and after the door installation will serve as a solid line of defense and prevent rust from appearing on door hinges. Step one is to choose hinges made of corrosion-resistant material. Brass is an excellent option, since the alloy comprises of two rust-proof metals — copper and zinc. Brass hinges also add an aesthetic aspect thanks to their rich yellow color. Stainless steel is another material to consider. Unlike regular steel or iron, stainless steel contains titanium, chrome, and nickel, which decelerate the corrosion process significantly. You can also treat the hinges with a rust inhibitor like this one from The Home Depot which costs just over $40 for a can. Lubricants like WD40 also help prevent rust from forming on metal surfaces.

Even with rust-resistant hinges and anti-corrosion coatings, you should still do your best to keep moisture off the hinges and the door. Installing a drip edge above the door will divert precipitation away from your house, the door slab, and the hinges. Meanwhile, manually wiping the door often — especially when moisture is present on it — can go a long way in preventing rust from appearing. To be sure that the door itself will not cause rust formation, you can treat the leaves with a rust-proof, all-weather primer (such as this one sold at Lowe's for under $15) before painting them. This coating will stop moisture from reaching the metal slab, even if the door paint is damaged. 

Tips for removing rust effectively from your door hinges

First things first, establish whether the rusted hinges are salvageable. If the rust has noticeably eaten away at the metal, your best bet is to replace them. However, if the rust spots still appear to be superficial, you can try eradicating them using these steps. First, remove the looser bits of rust from the hinges with a wire brush, followed by sandpaper. You should be left with a smoother, level surface that's still a bit rust-stained. You can try to tackle the rust stains naturally with common kitchen ingredients like baking soda and vinegar, or opt for commercially sold chemical rust removers. If using the former, start by wiping the rusted areas with a vinegar-soaked sponge. Let the acetic acid work for about half an hour, then apply a baking soda-water mix to the stains and give it another 30 minutes before wiping the hinges with a clean cloth. If this method doesn't work, you can resort to using rust dissolvers — these compounds bond to rust particles and detach them from the affected surface via chelation.

Hopefully, the steps above will eliminate rust from your door hinges. You're not done yet, though — you should wash and seal the newly cleaned hinges to prevent rust from coming back. Simply rinse the hinges with a solution containing water and dish soap, then again with pure water, before drying them. Finally, use a rust inhibitor or lubricant like WD40 to treat the surface of the hinges.