Cleaning rust from cast iron
Its taken me a while to get around to doing this.... but remember this little guy?
This fire basket is made from cast iron and is very rusted in places, it was picked up at a reclamation yard in May this year. Its condition has got worse since its sat outside for the last couple of months waiting to be cleaned. I have read on the internet that soaking the item in vinegar will get the rust off. I am a bit nervous but here goes...
I have purchased a bottle of cider vinegar and mixed it about 50/50 with cold tap water into a shallow plastic container.
I placed one of the feet of the firebasket into the container and used a tooth brush to cover a small portion of the firebasket with the vinegar/water solution.
I was hoping for instant results but it seems it needs to be soaked for a while....
Two hours later my patio area stinks of vinegar, the vinegar solution has turned brown, but the foot of the fire basket is still covered in rust.
OK, back to the fire basket. Its too big to be soaked in any container I've got lying around and besides I'd need buckets of vinegar to soak it properly. The time I am taking no chances and I have purchased some wire wool and another bottle of vinegar. I set the firebasket outside on some newspaper, poured some vinegar into a pot and clumsily attached a piece of wire wool onto an old toothbrush.
Within minutes my hands were stained brown and I ran to get some rubber gloves to protect my hands from staining, and also pieces of wire wool that were coming loose left, right and centre.
This time I am having success; scrubbing the effected area hard with course wire wool dipped in vinegar and then drying off the area using pieces of kitchen roll.
Make sure you wear protective clothing as the wirewool gets everywhere and could be nasty if it got into skin or eyes.
If you don't plan to clean the item all at once, then wrap the item in newspaper in between to stop little paws or fingers getting wirewool or vinegar on their hands. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and store the wirewool and vinegar away carefully.
This is still taking far too long and my patience is exhausted. There is nothing for it but to use proper rust-remover instead of vinegar.
Two bottles of rust remover, a toothbrush and lots of elbow grease later.... and the firebasket is clean.
My conclusion: Don't bother with vinegar!
21st August 2015