How to Clean Rust from Aluminum? Useful Tools and Rust Cleaner

Aluminum is used widely in our daily life, from making tables or chairs to creating kitchen utensils. Though quite affordable to use, aluminum can turn rusty over time, and it might be harmful when we use rusty aluminum objects for our daily activities, especially cooking. 

So, how to clean rust from aluminum?

With the information provided in this blog, you will know how to remove rust from your metal tools and keep them shiny for a longer time. Let’s find out now!

How to Clean Rust from Aluminum with Tools?

When your aluminum objects are just lightly rust, you can use simple household tools to clean off the rust. However, if you want to treat hard rust, this technique might not work so effectively. 

Now, let’s see what tools we can use to clean off easy grease and dust!


Sandpaper can clean off rust from your aluminum utensil pretty well. It is pretty easy to use this tool, too. You only need to scrub the sandpaper right on the rusty area and clean all the rust off. 

Thicker and bigger aluminum objects will be finer when we use sandpaper. But for an aluminum object with a small size or thin layer, you should test a small area first before using too much power to clean the rust. This little testing before cleaning can prevent causing damage to your objects. 

In case you do not want to scratch your object’s surfaces, then we need to use chemicals or other household cleaners that we are going to show you later. 

Steel Wool

Steel wool is a common dishwashing tool that we always have in our kitchen. Besides cleaning food from dishes, do you know that this tool can be used to clean rust from aluminum?

To clean off the rust with steel wool, you can rub it on the rusty areas just like what we do with sandpaper. It will not be easy to get the rust to come off immediately, so you need to do it again and again for a while. 

After the rust coming off, clean your object with water so you can identify if there is still some rust on it and continue to rub them many more times.

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil is a common tool used for grilling, and Yes, you can get rid of new rust from aluminum with it quite easily.  

As you see, aluminum foil has two sides: shiny and dull. To clean off the dust, you need to squeeze the aluminum foil and form a ball out of it with shiny facing out. This side can clean off the rust much better than the other side. 

Like sandpaper, you should rub the foil at a small rusty area to see if this tool is safe for your object and then clean the bigger area later. It is quite important to check first because even though there will be no bad problem for a big and thick object such as a big pan and spot, a thin tablespoon might be damaged if you rub its surface too roughly. 

How to Clean Rust from Aluminum with Chemicals and Household Ingredients?

The tools we mentioned above can be super useful with new and small rusty areas, but with rust that has been ford for a long time, you need some chemicals to get rid of it. 


To use these chemicals or kitchen ingredients effectively, you will need some cleaning tools such as steel wool or sandpaper to use simultaneously. If possible, we recommend you prepare some gear to protect your hand, especially when you use chemicals as rust cleaner. 

When you are ready, let’s check and create some easy and affordable cleaners with the ingredients below!

Mild Cleaner/Dish Soap and Potatoes

Oxalic acid in potato can be a good treat for rusting objects

Potatoes can clean off rust? Yes, you heard it right. Before getting rid of the rust with this vegetable, you should wash your utensils with mild cleaner and tools such as steel wools or sandpaper first. This process will clean off some rust and make it easier for the potatoes to neutralize the remaining rust. 

After cleaning, stick your small object into a potato and leave it there for around eight hours or more. The oxalic acid and found in potatoes can clean off the metal rust for you naturally. 

If the object you want to clean is too big to stick inside the potato, you can cut the potato into many slices, use it as a cleaning tool, or chop, grind it and apply its pieces on the object’s surface. Again, you will also need to leave the potato slices or pieces there for around eight hours.


Coke is another easy and cheap liquid that can be used as a cleaner. This drink contains acid that will effectively wipe away the dust after a few hours. 

To clean some object, soak the whole thing into a bottle of coke and leave it there overnight or for around eight hours (or more). Make sure you do not take the object out of the coke too early. This drink needs time to eat away the rust on aluminum. 

If you want to clean it faster, you should use a toothbrush or steel wool to clean the object with coke first, then soak it later. 

Salt and Lemon Juice

Salt and lemon juice is another easy mixture for cleaning rust. You can mix salt with lemon juice with a ratio of 1:2, then mix them carefully. 

When the cleaner is ready, use a toothbrush to rub all of the areas that have rust on, then you can soak your object in the mixture for around one hour and then check again. If you see the rust is still there, go back and rub the rust off using the toothbrush again, and soak the object in the cleaner also. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a common cleaning ingredients for metals

Baking soda is a magic ingredient for cleaning so many household tools. You can mix baking soda with water or vinegar to create a paste to use as a cleaner. 

Like other techniques, you should clean the rust first, then apply the baking soda paste on the surfaces of your rusty object. Leave the paste there for around one to two hours, then check again.

White Vinegar

If baking soda is not available in your house, then vinegar can help. Any vinegar will help remove rust, but we recommend using white vinegar because it is much cheaper. Like other household ingredients, vinegar is acidic enough to remove hard rust from metal. 

You do not have to mix vinegar with anything. Dip the whole object into white vinegar, leave it there around one or two hours and check it again. 

In case the rust does not come off, you can dip it up to 24 hours in vinegar to have better results. 

Acids for Rust Removal

If you want to treat your seriously rusty stuff, you can buy acid products to clean it. Some acids that have been used widely for metals are oxalic acid and citric acid for rust removal. 

These acids will work so much faster than other natural ingredients. However, it would help if you were super careful while buying and using these products because it is harmful to our skin. When you use these chemicals, make sure your kids and pets are not around, and only by enough acid to use. 

How to Prevent Aluminum Objects from Rusting?

As you see, it is not easy to remove rust at all. Moreover, when we clean off the dust, the object’s surface might be affected one way or another. So, here are the practical tips you can use to maintain the quality of your aluminum objects. 

Maintain with Oil

Metal can rust just by leaving naturally in the air. The oxygen and the humidity in the air might affect the metal’s surface directly. Some aluminum tools can be protected by a layer of specific oil to prevent it from rusting so fast. 

Keep Your Metal Object Dry and Clean

Wet conditions can make your metal object reduce its quality so quickly. Therefore, do not leave these objects in wet conditions such as the sink and the bathroom for too long. 

Clean Off Watery Dirt Right Away

Do not wait for too long until you clean off the wet dirt from your aluminum stuff; if you use a knife or a spoon, clean and dry it right away. Simple watery dirt such as fruit fluid or water can damage your object if you leave them there for hours. 


There are many tools, techniques, and cleaners that can be used to remove rust from a metal object’s surface. After reading this article, you now know how to clean rust from aluminum easily with easy and affordable ingredients right in your house. We hope you find the information in this article useful!

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