What does vinegar do to rust?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What does vinegar do to rust??”, and discuss how to remove rust with vinegar. We will also share ways of removing rust from clothes and tips to prevent your objects from rusting.

What does vinegar do to rust?

Vinegar can remove rust. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which, when paired with its low pH, directly combats the chemical compounds that promote the formation of rust.

Rust is formed as a result of the interaction of iron, oxygen, and water (liquid or steam). The rusty substance is made up of oxides (Fe2O3 and FeO) and may be represented by the sum of the formulae as Fe3O4. Rust is represented by the following formulas: Fe3O4, Fe(OH)3, and Fe2O3H2O.

When an acidic solution is applied to a rusted substance, the surface of the solid material wears off as a result of the interaction with the acidic solution. The acid mostly combines with the iron (III) hydroxide on the surface to form a soluble salt. The soluble salt is affected by the acidic solution used.

How to remove rust with vinegar?

Prepare the vinegar solution

Fill a large container made of a non-reactive material, such as plastic or glass, with 1 liter of white distilled vinegar. Mix it with 50g (about 1,76 ounces) of table salt. The acid in vinegar’s power will be increased by the addition of salt, making it even more effective. You can utilize half the measurements for small objects.

Soak the item

Place the rusted object in the vinegar and salt solution, submerging it fully. Allow the object to soak for at least 12 hours and up to several days, depending on how rusted it is. 

It is worth noting that vinegar interacts differently with distinct metals. For example, it removes the protective layer from aluminum before the metal begins to corrode. As a result, soaking aluminum in vinegar for an extended length of time can cause it to corrode. 

Check the status of any metals in a vinegar solution on a regular basis. This rust removal process should not be used on precious or fragile metal objects.

Remove any loose rust

To protect your hands against rust, put on a pair of rubber or latex gloves. Scrub the piece with an abrasive tool like a wire brush, sponge, or crushed aluminum foil. All of the loose rust gradually comes out.

Remove moisture and neutralize acid

Another container should be filled with 1 liter of water and 100g of baking soda. Soak the rusted object in this solution for around 10 minutes to neutralize the acid in the vinegar.

Then, if required, rub the object with the abrasive sponge one more time to remove any leftover rust, followed by rubbing it with an alcohol-soaked towel to eliminate excess moisture. Cover the object with mineral oil using a brush to preserve it and keep it from rusting again.

What are other methods to remove rust from clothes?

For removing rust from clothes, besides vinegar with salt, you can use some other tips:

Dishwash detergent

All you need to do is add a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent to a glass of warm water, apply the mixture to the stain, let it dry for up to five minutes, and rinse with cold water. Very simple! Tip: In the case of a rust stain on white clothes, use a clear detergent.

Baking soda (or salt) with lemon

Mix lemon juice with a tablespoon of baking soda or salt and apply to the stain. Leave the garment to dry in the sun for around two hours, then rinse with cold water and wash normally.

How to Get Rust Out of White Clothes

White garments require extra care, especially to keep the stain from spreading. So, you have to use a special recipe for this situation.

Bleach (only on white clothing!)

Important: bleach should only be used on white materials; it will fade the color of colored or black fabrics.

Soak a paper towel in bleach (being cautious not to stain your other garments) and pass it over the soiled spot. The rust stain will be eliminated with the depigmentation of garments induced by bleach.

How to prevent rusting?

  • For ferrous metal, it is recommended to paint it to avoid contact with moisture, air, and contaminants. Paint maintenance is a very efficient rust prevention measure.
  • Applying lubricating oil to moving components such as pliers, bicycle belts, or gears on a regular basis is typically adequate to avoid rusting.
  • Avoid moisture exposure by drying damp tools after using them in the rain, for example. To improve efficiency, apply a thin layer of lubricating oil with a dry cloth.
  • Before painting a metal item to preserve it, sand it and thoroughly clean it to remove any dirt and oil from its surface. 
  • While little silica gel crystals have no impact in wide areas, they do assist avoid moisture in compact metal boxes like tool boxes or microcomputer cases.

Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.

Can you cook with cleaning vinegar?

Can you cook with distilled white vinegar?

What happens if you drink vinegar?

What aisle is vinegar in?


In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “How vinegar can reduce rust?”, and discuss how to remove rust with vinegar. We will also share ways of removing rust from clothes and preventing rusting.


“Does Vinegar Remove Rust? – Techiescientist.” Accessed January 7, 2022. https://techiescientist.com/does-vinegar-remove-rust/.

Consul. “Como tirar mancha de ferrugem dos tecidos | Facilita,” October 8, 2018. https://www.consul.com.br/facilita-consul/simples-assim/como-tirar-mancha-de-ferrugem-dos-tecidos/.