How To Get Rust off Metal Patio Furniture (4 Ways)

Patio furniture endures a lot of wear and tear. The wind, rain, and frost will take their toll if you don’t take care of it properly. If your furniture has developed rust, it may be discouraging to see the months of hard work you put into the furniture ruined right before your eyes. However, there is always something you can do. 

Baking soda is the most popular way to remove rust from metal patio furniture. Alternatively, you could use highly acidic vinegar, various commercial cleaning agents, or an abrasive buff wheel. Rust not only affects the furniture’s aesthetic but damages it structurally.

Rust is not only unattractive but can be dangerous. Too much rust can weaken the metal structure and make the furniture unstable. You’ve come to the right place for information on how to get unsightly rust off your patio furniture.

1. Use Baking Soda To Remove Furniture Rust

Baking soda has various household uses, from eliminating odors to removing intense stains and cleaning. And if you’ve got rust, it can even help you out.

This method is the most popular way to remove rust from metal furniture—for a good reason. It’s one of the best techniques to eliminate rust from metal patio furniture and is inexpensive. You don’t even need any special tools or supplies. 

A little rust is nothing to be alarmed about—it’s a sign that your furniture comprises quality metal. But if you’re looking to give your outdoor patio or deck a thorough cleaning before the holiday season, rusting may be something you want to eliminate. 

Baking soda can remove rust from metal patio furniture by breaking down the chemical reaction that creates rust. The reaction happens when iron comes into contact with water and air over time. 

Baking soda is an alkaline substance that reacts with acids, including the iron oxide formed during oxidation, to neutralize them. Once balanced, the iron oxide comes off the furniture’s surface effortlessly. That’s why many people find that all they have to do is wipe off the rust after applying baking soda to make their furniture look new again!

Since rust is iron oxide, you can use baking soda as a substitute for traditional scraping and scrubbing methods thanks to the ability of its alkaline nature to break down rust chemically. 

However, take care when you use this substance on aluminum-based furniture and surfaces—as it may oxidize the metal over time. 

The Baking Soda Method

The baking soda method is a tried-and-true way to get the rust off of pretty much anything made from metal. With some elbow grease and patience, you can remove rust stains from your patio furniture in just a few minutes.

This method exploits the chemical reaction between the baking soda and the nutrient-rich rust. When combined with water, baking soda produces carbonic acid and sodium hydroxide, which interacts with the iron oxide (rust) on your furniture. 

Baking soda is much safer than other cleaning products because it doesn’t leave any toxic residue after use. The lye reacts in this chain reaction until all of your rust is gone—leaving nothing but a little extra sodium hydroxide.

This method is simple: 

  1. Firstly, wet the rusty furniture with cold water.
  2. It’s best to avoid hot water solutions because they can corrode metal.
  3. Sprinkle the rusty area with baking soda. 
  4. Alternatively, you can create a paste by mixing the baking soda and water and administering it to the rusty surface.
  5. Allow the baking soda to rest for a couple of minutes. 
  6. Wet a scrubbing brush with cold water to prevent metal surface damage.
  7. Scrub the baking soda-covered area lightly.
  8. Once the baking soda has dissolved, examine the furniture to see if rust remains. 
  9. If so, continue to scrub and apply additional baking soda to eliminate all the rust on your furniture.

2. Use White Vinegar To Remove Rust From Patio Furniture

Whether you’re cleaning a metal table, chair, or some other outdoor piece of furniture, rust can be a pain to remove. The problem isn’t just the loss of appearance—rust can also compromise the strength of the material. Thankfully, getting rid of rust is considerably easy with some white vinegar.

Using this common household item, you can remove rust from your outdoor furniture without worrying about spending too much money. Besides cooking and cleaning, people often use vinegar for rust removal—for a good reason—it’s cheap and readily available.

White vinegar, also known as acetic acid, is a transparent liquid with mild acidity. Its acidity allows it to dissolve rusty surfaces. For this purpose, you’ll want to look for white vinegar with a rating of 5% acidity or higher. 

Various types of white vinegar, mainly used for industrial purposes, have acidity ratings of 20%, which is even more potent than the more common, commercially available white vinegar sold at grocery stores. They might be harder to come by but will be more effective in eliminating rust.

How To Eliminate Rust With White Vinegar

There are loads of ways to eliminate rust, but white vinegar has proven to be one of the best and most affordable solutions. We know that white vinegar is an acid that dissolves rust, making it the perfect tool for this job. 

If your chairs have become rusty, don’t fret! Removing rust with white vinegar is simple, effective, and won’t cost you much.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • An old cloth
  • Steel wool
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Add white vinegar and a small amount of salt to a spray bottle to boost the acidity.
  2. Spray it on the rusty area and give it 10-20 minutes to take effect.
  3. Using a piece of steel wool, scrub off the rust gently.
  4. After you have removed the rust, make sure to properly rinse the furniture off because leaving vinegar on the metal may cause surface damage.
  5. Repeat this procedure if the rust is still present.

For smaller rusted bolts and screws, it’s always best to soak them in a plastic container of white vinegar and a little salt before scrubbing them with steel wool and rinsing thoroughly. 

3. Use Commercial Cleaning Agents To Remove Rust

When your furniture is heavily rusted, and elbow grease doesn’t do the trick, it might be time to use a commercial cleaning agent. You can use a commercial rust remover to remove rust without damaging the metal underneath.

While many types of rust removers are available, some are designed specifically for metal surfaces, and others are general cleaners containing ingredients to dissolve rust. 

Various commercial cleaning agents will come in liquid form, while others are in powder or gel form, and some brands will work better than others when removing rust from specific types of metals.

The first key to tackling rust is ensuring you use the right cleaner for the job. There are several products explicitly labeled as “rust removers.” Still, some brands will be ineffective at removing rust—they’ll take off some of the top layers of the metal, leaving an ugly stain behind.

If you’re trying to understand how to eliminate rust off metal patio furniture with a commercial cleaner, the first thing you’ve got to ask yourself is what kind of rust remover you’ll need. 

Knowing which type of cleaner is best for your situation is knowing which circumstances each cleaner suits. There are several commercial rust removers available at online stores such as Amazon.

CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover

CLR is a reliable brand well-known in homes across Northern America and a highly versatile product. 

You can take on numerous home cleaning tasks in addition to removing the rusk on your patio furniture. You may use this product to clean:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Dishwashers
  • Sidings of your home

It is ideal for cleaning metal objects because you may apply it effectively to several surfaces. It removes stubborn dirt, filth, rust, and stains from various materials, including the following:

  • Metals like stainless steel
  • Glass
  • Concrete
  • Chrome

Due to this cleaning agent’s swift action—you can rapidly eliminate calcium, lime, and rust deposits.

When using CLR to remove rust, you should always use latex gloves and perform the rust removal in a well-ventilated environment. Then follow these simple steps:

  1. Combine CLR and warm water equally. 
  2. Before using the solution on the entire surface, test it on a concealed spot. 
  3. Use a brush, cloth, or sponge to apply to the rust directly. 
  4. After two minutes, swiftly rinse with cold, clear water.

POR-15 Rust Remover

By using POR-15 Rust Remover, you can achieve effective results without sanding or scrubbing. It’s composed of a water-based, odorless, biodegradable formula.

This cleaning agent is guaranteed not to harm plastic, PVC, Viton, or most paints and removes mild to severe rust from metal surfaces. The rust remover won’t damage the metal layers beneath the rust.

For the rust remover to function, you must soak the corroded portions thoroughly in the liquid. For minor rusting, POR-15 works within as little as 20 minutes, and for badly oxidized metal, it can take up to an entire night of soaking.

Once you have eliminated the rust—rinse the metal parts with cold water. 

In summary, POR-15 Rust Remover is the following:

  • Safe for the environment
  • A water-based solution
  • Safe for use on sensitive metal parts
  • You do not need to sand or scrub
  • No Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Won’t damage surfaces without rust

CRC Evapo-Rust Gel Rust Remover

Evapo-Rust is a powerful gel solution that effectively removes rust from all metals and vertical surfaces, including steel and iron. The solution removes rust from metals without scrubbing or sanding, including the following:

  • Automobile components
  • Hardware
  • Tools
  • Cookware
  • Furniture

Before using the rust removal gel, thoroughly clean the corroded surface to eliminate dust, dirt, or grease. 

To remove rust from any surface quickly and easily, follow these steps:

  1. Apply a substantial amount of gel with a brush
  2. Let it sit for the recommended time; typically, you will need to allow the solution to work for 1-2 hours.
  3. Rinse with cool water, preferably until the rust has disappeared. Use the gel exclusively on rusty objects or surfaces between 60 and 90℉ (15.5-32.2℃) in temperature.

4. Use Abrasive Buff Wheels To Grind off Stubborn Rust

An abrasive buff wheel is a tool you may use to form, shape, and create a polished sheen on multiple surfaces. It is a cleaning tool used by professionals to remove paint, varnish, and other coatings from woodwork and metal surfaces.

This process uses a rotary tool (much like a drill) that spins a wheel with an abrasive compound attached to the wheel. The wheel then polishes and smoothes out the surface of the object. Abrasive wheels come in different sizes and shapes for specific uses.

There are many ways to get unsightly rust off metal patio furniture, but one of the easiest is to use an abrasive buff wheel. It’s easy to find in hardware and home improvement stores and can quickly remove a lot of rust.

An abrasive buff wheel is also readily available on Amazon. If you’re looking for an excellent quality tool perfect for grinding away that rusty furniture, look no further than WEN’s1-Amp Variable Speed Rotary Tool. It comes with many accessories and a carrying case that will, without a doubt, be useful to you when you build other furniture pieces. 

For a quick demonstration to help you through the process of using this tool, here is a short YouTube video:


After putting all that effort into creating beautiful patio furniture, I’m sure you get annoyed when your creation gets plagued by rust. Luckily, there are a few solutions. 

Rust is often considered a permanent issue, especially with metal. This article describes steps you can take to restore your furniture to its former glory. 

However, the best way to keep metal patio furniture looking good for years is to bring the pieces inside in the winter and rain. Dust your metal furniture regularly to remove rust, and only put a few chemicals like cleaners or detergents directly onto them. 


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