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Rust Removal Off Iron Bed

I have recently acquired two old iron beds from a relative, both are rusty metal. They probably have no great amount of dollar value, but some sentimental value. I would therefore like to know the cheapest and fastest way to remove all this rust off these two beds. I thank you for any help...............

Tina I [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Orangeburg, South Carolina, USA


Any mild acid will remove the rust without seriously affecting the underlying metal. See letters 14042 and 16801 for more info. You'll want to try it on a piece that can't be seen too well first (to make sure there are no bad effects) but I've had good luck removing rust with something as simple as store bought lemon juice. I cleaned up a bicycle for my Grandmother once by just wrapping paper towels around the rusted parts, soaking the paper towels in lemon juice, and then wrapping plastic wrap over the paper towels to keep them from drying out. She took the paper off a day and a half later and the rust was gone.

Be forewarned however - I tried it once with a rusted bolt and got a horrific sulfurous smell after a day; but it did remove the rust. My Grandmother said she didn't notice a smell at all.

Good luck,

Jim Gorsich
Compton, California, USA

Jim's way is good.Professional metalwork restorers in Europe use citric acid [on eBay or Amazon] (5%,buffered with ammonia [on eBay or Amazon] to pH 3.5) as inexpensive and not too toxic rust remover.You can mix citric acid solution with cellulose wallpaper glue but his advice is much simpler.

Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb,Croatia

Most old iron beds have layers of paint on them. I strongly suggest you not mess with the chemical paint strippers but rather send to a professional sandblaster. Pick them up soon after blasting and get a coat of spray on rust inhibiting primer. Then spray as you wish. If the bed has knobs or rails check to see if they are brass. Brass and iron beds were very common. Do not sandblast the brass! Here you need to use paint strip.

Jon Quirt
- Minneapolis, Minnesota

I've removed most of the old paint from an ornate, antique, iron bed - don't anticipate a problem removing the rest. My questions is do I need to prep the iron in any way before repainting? What type of paint should I use? How many coats? Spray or some other method of application? This is for my 3 yr. old daughter's room, so I want something durable. I don't want to be re-doing it in a year or 2!


Karla R [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
hobbyist - Amarillo, Texas, US

April 28, 2008

Dremel Kit
on eBay or


(affil links)

I was looking on websites and found this one for rust removal, as Navy Jelly has never seemed to do as claimed. I appreciate this information on the iron beds, could the citric acid work also on outdoor furnishings? I purchased a beautiful granite top with an ornate iron Ornate pedestal. It has a lot of crevices (swans encircled) so I will have to brush some of this on. This time I will use a rust prevention primer and then spray with a semi gloss finish, if someone has a brand they use and found that lasted please let me know.

My last thought was a Dremel [on eBay or Amazon] to sand some of the areas. I also looked further on the offered letters and read of HCl (toilet bowl cleaner [affil links]) buffering with baking soda [on eBay or Amazon] for clean up.

First I would like to try the citric juice wrapped as that does seem safer so if anyone has any suggestions would love to hear theirs.

PS former South Carolinian myself

Thank you

SR Mabry
- Rockford, Illinois USA

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