3 Steps For Restoring Your Rusty Iron Gate Using Homemade Cleaners

If you have an older iron gate on your property, you may decide that you want to restore it so that it improves your home's curb appeal. Below are three steps that will guide you on how to tackle this task yourself using homemade cleaners.

Step 1:  Wash Off The Dirt And Mud

Before you start removing the rust, you need to wash off the dirt and mud that has accumulated on the rod and in the crevices. To make your cleaner, you will need a tablespoon of dish detergent, a gallon bucket of warm water, and a half of a cup of vinegar. The vinegar will also start breaking down the oxidation to make it easier to remove in the steps that follow.

After mixing the detergent and vinegar into the water bucket, soak a cleaning rag in the solution. Wipe the iron down, starting from the top of the gate. For any hard to reach places, use an old toothbrush to scrub the dirt out.

When all of the dirt has been removed, rinse the gate using a pressure washer. You can also use a garden hose with a spray nozzle set to the strongest stream.

Once you have washed and rinsed the gate, let it air dry for three hours. Then, go on to the second step.

Step 2:  Scrape Away The Excess Rust

After the iron has dried, you can go to work removing the excess rust. For this step, you will need a couple of sheets of medium-grit sandpaper and a steel brush.

First, use the steel brush to scrape away the rust inside the crevices and any carvings on the gate. Use a back-and-forth motion with firm pressure to get the best results.

Second, wrap the sandpaper around the metal rods and move it up and down on them to remove the rust. Whenever the sandpaper looses its grit, reposition it or use a fresh sheet. 

Wipe the rust particles off with an old rag. Then, once you have removed all of the rust you can, continue on with the third step.

Step 3:  Wipe Off Residual Rust With A Homemade Neutralizer

Once the excess rust has been scraped off, it is time to wipe off the residual that was left behind. This homemade neutralizer not only does this, but it also helps keep new rust from forming by coating the surface and robbing the metal of the oxygen needed for oxidation.

For this step, you will need three cups of white distilled vinegar and two cups of lemon juice. Because of the volume needed, use the juice that comes in a bottle at the grocery store. The vinegar will soften the rust and keep the air from getting to the metal. The acids in the lemon juice will eat away at any stubborn rust that remains.

In a small bucket, mix together the vinegar and lemon juice. Use a sponge to apply the mixture to the gate. For any crevices or hard-to-reach places, use an old toothbrush. 

After you have covered your gate with the neutralizer, do not rinse it off. Instead, allow it to air dry for a full five hours. 

Once you have finished with these steps, your gate will be ready for spraying with a paint containing a rust-inhibitor. However, if you discover that the rust has eaten away and damaged the metal below the surface level, you may want to speak with a contractor that works with metal. They can inspect the gate and either recommend a product that will restore it or that the gate may need replacing.