Rust Removal with White Vinegar

Hi All,

Has anyone used white vinegar before for rust removal? I bought a bunch of old files at the market last weekend for the wooden handles for my own files. Most of the files were past saving but a few still have some life left in them albeit a light coating of rust.

If you have what sort of time do you soak for etc?


You’ll clean more files with vinegar than you will with honey.




Use rust converter. Or a phosphoric acid solution. Or Coke. Save the vinegar/acetic for removing scale from your shower tiles.

If it’s just surface rust hit them with a wire brush.

Many thanks for that Blakey. I might try both, just to see the difference. Cheers

coke works great for removing oxidisation.

I found an old .50 cal under a house once while removing rubbish. Soaked it in a Tupperware container of coca cola over night, and the round was sparkling. The Tupperware was stained though. (Y)

wait… what?

I don’t know how it got there, but there were a few .50cal rounds and some other military bits and pieces rusted beyond repair.

I like using molasses to remove rust. 1 part molasses to about 9 parts warm water, mix it in and let the parts stew in it for a few days up to a week. smells good, and is cheap.

Molasses is good, electrolysis is good if you plan to do lots of parts.

Phosphoric acid solution (and general rust converters) will ‘stub’ the oxidization process so it won’t get worse, but it will still ‘look’ rusty.

Go the molasses or coke. Or if you like the patina’d look and don’t want them to get worse, do the converter. Electrolysis is awesome, apparently waaay faster than molasses (but more $$$, so only viable if you’re doing buckets and buckets of bits)

I’ve used white vinegar with great results. have to leave it for a while though. and rust will come back.

I might give them all a go and compare results. Cheers for the advice all. Pretty sure I won’t want another Scotch and Coke again if it can chemically remove rust.

I use oxalic acid, powder form so mix in water soak the stuff over night and it will remove all rust back to steel.
I soaked a pair of rusty old chrome pedals and they are now like new, but I don’t think I have used it on in chromed steel so may be try a stuffed one first

These are the files after being in a bucket of white vinegar for a week. Brushed the sludgey rust off with a brass brush, rinsed and coated in a light machine oil. Reunited with wooden handles and returned to service.

I still have some more to do so will try Coke next. The white vinegar method produced a perfect result as long as you are happy to wait for the days necessary to get the result. If you’re doing it this way make sure you have the oil ready to go as soon as you bring the tool out of the solution.

Cheers for the advice all.

^nice work

Cheers Captain! Just a hint of Phil Wood, White Industries, Primate SSCX sneaking into the top of the picture.