Old rusted cast iron frying pan hanging on wall.
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The Best Way To Clean Rust Is Sitting In Your Pantry
Rust, or iron oxide, forms when an iron-containing metal interacts with water and oxygen, causing oxidation, a chemical reaction that breaks down the metal’s surface over time.
Using molasses can halt oxidation. The oxygen present in the iron oxide will bond with the molasses, loosening the rust from the metal’s surface and facilitating easier removal.
Submerge the rust-covered item in a water-and-molasses mix using a bin or a large container with a lid, or use a tub for larger tools. Mix five parts water to one part molasses.
The ratio may change per item, as surface rust might not need as strong a mixture as the rust that’s been there for longer. Let the metal items sit in the mix for one to two weeks.
The process is working if the foam begins leaking out of the container’s top. Use gloves to remove and rinse the items — repeat with a stronger mix if there’s still some rust left.