Eternal Tools shows you how to easily remove rust from metals in seconds

What is Rust?

When a piece of Iron, Iron alloys or steel is exposed to water and oxygen it has a reaction called oxidisation. The appearance of this corrosion is a red-brown flaky coating and is commonly referred to as Rust. 

Humidity and temperature with Oxygen can also cause rusting so don’t think that just because your jewellery tools are kept inside that they won’t fall foul of rusting.

Do All Metals Rust?

All metals are susceptible to corrosion in some form or another, but the term ‘Rust’ is only used when referring to Iron, Iron alloys and steel.

Rust vs Tarnish?

Now we’ve established which metals will rust we can eliminate these and say that every other metal will corrode or tarnish, to some degree or other.  

Copper is the common culprit in most things we see that have tarnished.  The Patina (greenish-coloured staining) is caused by the copper oxidising and this results in the build-up of this tarnished layer

Sterling silver in particular is made up of a mixture of metals including copper which is why you sometimes find a ring of green colouring on your finger.  

Metals That Do Not Rust

Aluminium, Brass, Bronze, Galvanised steel, Stainless Steel, COR-TEN steel, Copper, Titanium, and noble metals such as Gold, Silver, and Platinum are all metals that do not rust. They can corrode, stain, or tarnish, but they will not rust. 

How to Remove Rust from Metal - 5 Quick Ways

There are numerous ways to remove rust, oxides and corrosion from just about anything. Some methods use household cleaning products, aluminium foil and acid, and some are rotary tool attachments for easy, quick and mess-free removal of rust. Take a look at the list below for further information. 

1. Fiberwheels. Abrasive Buff Wheels

  • This is by far the quickest and most fuss-free method of removing rust from your metal items. 
  • Protective gear on (goggles, eye mask etc)
  • Attach a Brown (coarse) EVE Fiberwheel Abrasive Buff wheel into a rotary tool such as a Dremel and set the speed to approximately 7,000rpm.
  • Gently move the abrasive across the metal and within seconds the rust is gone.  
  • If you want to bring the metal back to its original lustre use the Black (medium) to pre-polish, followed by the Red (fine) for a final polish and to return the metal to its original shine.

See the before and after images, along with the very short video below:

How to Remove Rust using your Dremel and a Fibre Buff wheel

2. Abrasive Rubber Polishers

  • Equally as quick and easy as the Fiberwheels, and with no mess, are these EVE rubber abrasive polishers. 
  • They come in all shapes, grits and sizes but for the quickest way to remove rust from your metal jewellery tools insert a 500 grit (Blue, very coarse) EVE Technic Polisher in your rotary tool and watch the rust disappear!
  • They come in many shapes, mounted, and unmounted so you can choose to use a 3mm pin to get into the tight corners for instance, or a radial bristle disc - great for intricate areas. Choose a large cylinder for big surface areas or a smaller cylinder shape for smaller rust removal jobs from metal objects.
  • As with the Fibre abrasive wheels mentioned above, you can then use the finer grit rubber polishers within the same range to bring the metal back to its original mirror shine.

See the before and after images, along with the very short video below:

Eternal Tools show you how to remove rust from your jewellery tools in seconds using a rubber abrasive polisher in a Dremel Rotary Tool

3. Steel Brush Wheel or Aluminium Foil

An effective method of rust removal is by using steel and aluminium as an abrasive.

  • Aluminium Foil - Tear off a small piece of aluminum foil,  dip it in water or vinegar and rub over the rusted parts.
  • Use a Steel Brush wheel or a Steel Wire Pen Brush in a rotary tool such as a Dremel. 
  • These are not as effective as the methods described above but have long been used as rust removers.

4. Salt and Lemon Juice/Vinegar

  • Acidic solutions such as lemon juice and vinegar, along with a little bit of salt applied to the rusted areas,  are another DIY method of rust removal from your tools. Leave for a few hours then remove.  The following is not a method we've tried and tested but apparently, the oxalic acid in a potato will also dissolve rust away.

5. Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)

  • The rusted item can either be dusted with baking soda or made into a paste with water or vinegar. 
  • Apply to the areas and leave for an hour or so then clean off with a brush.  
  • Mark Lovick from the Watch Repair Channel shows this method in his excellent video: Service and repair of a Rusty Valjoux 7750-based Breitling Watch.  Take a look at the Youtube video here.  He uses a mixed paste of soda and cleans off the watch parts with a toothbrush peg wood

How To Prevent Metals From Rusting

The best way to deal with rust of course is to avoid it in the first place so keep your tools dry and out of humid and damp conditions. 

Tools should be regularly cleaned, oiled and maintained. 

Other methods to prevent rusting are protective finishes applied to steel such as Bluing (often used on small steel items for watches and clock mechanisms) powder coatings (These could be acrylic, vinyl, epoxy etc), Galvanizing (molten zinc coating), and Blackening with Beeswax.