Cooktop Cove: Cut a potato in half, grab some salt and copy this clever cleaning hack
By Lillian Teague
Rust develops on many metals due to a reaction between iron and moisture. It naturally forms over time on many surfaces both indoors and out. It doesn't just look bad, it can actually "eat" through the metal over time.
There are many chemical rust removers on the market. Most are expensive and require a high level of ventilation due to fumes. Don't rush to the store for a rust removal project, most of the items you need to erase rust are already in your home.
1. Give cast iron a new life (h/t Apartment Therapy)
Whether it has been lingering in your pantry for a while or you've made an amazing thrift shop find, vintage cast iron is a true gem. The moisture in the air can cause rust to form. You don't want to cook on rusty cast iron. To clean cast iron, simply grab a potato and course salt. Pour a generous amount of salt into the cast iron pan. Rub the salt into the metal with 1/2 a potato. The potato provides just the right amount of moisture for the salt to erase the rust. After the rust has disappeared, wipe out and season as normal.
2. Erase rust from a stainless sink
Rust stains in a stainless sink can be the result of metal sitting in the sink or hard water causing slight tinting. Sprinkle your dry sink with baking soda and use a cut lemon to scrub the sink. The acid and scrubbing power combine to erase the rust from your stainless sink. Once finished, simply put the lemon pieces in your garbage disposal to freshen it.
3. Restore rusty metal to a bright new finish (h/t Hawk Hill)
Horseshoes, metal garden décor, and tools can all develop a rusty patina. You can simply soak off the rust without any scrubbing at all with this simple method. Although you may have to purchase the key ingredient, it is inexpensive, can be used in multiple household purposes, and a little goes a long way. The secret is pure citric acid. Mix 1/4 cup of citric acid to 1 gallon of water. Submerge your rusty item and let soak for 2 hours to overnight. When you remove it, give it a good wipe down and add a protectant spray or oil.
4. Polish rusted chrome without damage (h/t Hearts and Sharts)
Vintage chrome often develops rust spots. Due to the makeup of chrome, these spots do not require a strong cleaner. All you need to do is crumple a piece of aluminum foil into a ball. Wet it with tap water and gently polish away the rust. It is amazing how well something so simple works!
5. Save your rusty knives (h/t Fabulessly Frugal)
Stainless steel knives develop rust when placed in the dishwasher or allowed to soak in the sink. Remove rust from knives by simply soaking them in lemon juice for a few minutes and then wiping clean.
6. Gently remove rust from delicate surfaces
For delicate surfaces, such as porcelain fixtures and toilet bowls, you want to use a gentle rust remover. Baking soda is an excellent abrasive for safely removing rust without damaging or scratching the surface. Simply create a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply to the stained area and after a few minutes rub in a circular pattern until the rust stain is gone.
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