How to Easily Remove Rust

I’ve had this Plycraft chair in storage for a while now, with plans to reupholster it in a caramel leather remnant I found in Brooklyn. Well the day has finally arrived! My upholsterer came and picked up the chair and hide this week (should be done on Saturday!), but I wanted to clean up the wood shell and the super-rusty chrome base first.

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Barkeepers Friend has always been known as DIYer’s Bestie to me – I love the stuff. But, oh man, when you combine that magical powder with the newest addition to my cleaning arsenal, the Scouring Stick, even the rustiest vintage chair base around stands no chance!

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I bought a Scouring Stick, which is a heavy duty pumice stone, as sort of a splurge purchase a while back. I think I found it just at the grocery store. I’m pretty sure they have them most places.
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It didn’t really do a lot on it’s own, so we mixed up a bowl of Barkeepers Friend with water,
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And gave the chair a light rub down with the mixture just to loosen things up.
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And then we found it worked best to dip the stick in the solution before using it to scour.
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The stick starts to sort of whittle down after a while, but it really really works well at removing the rust!

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Check out how clean the legs are now after just a little scrubbing! I was shocked at how well these two products worked together. 

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Now I’m looking all around my house for anything to use my scouring stick on! Heather saw me working on this post and took a stick outside to clean up her vintage bike that was starting to get rusty and now it looks practically brand new. The box says it can be used on a ton of surfaces like stone and even concrete! I’m going to give our grill a really good scrubbing now that BBQ season is kicking off.
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Also, in case you’re not already using Restor-A-Finish, check out how a once-over wipe down really freshened up the old wood finish:
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So much better, right? I can’t wait to get this cleaned-up chair back with its new upholstery!
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  1. Did you use the Walnut Restore-A-Finish?

  2. Jo Z

    i just want to ask if there is a reason you have the click to read more link thing?
    i absolutely hate it, it completely interrupts the flow of your posts.
    cheers

  3. It brings me an immense amount of joy when you take something that most people thing is ruined and bring it back to life. That joy is only intensified when you use objects that are described with the words "plycraft" and "caramel leather". [That leather. THAT. LEEEAAATTTHHHEEERRRRR.]

  4. Good to know and it will be killer with it's new upholstery.

  5. Hi guys! Thanks for the feedback on the Read More click throughs. I know it sort of interrupts the flow of reading/scrolling – I don't love it either. But I added the feature because several dozens sites have been lifted my content through straight up copy and paste. Having the click through doesn't completely prevent that from happening, but it makes it WAY harder to do.

    Also, most of my posts have more than ten photos and several posts have more than thirty or forty! Crazy right?! The jump just helps keep the front page cleaner and reduces scrolling for people who don't care about some of the more lengthy tutorials.

    Thanks for hanging in there with me while I figure out the technical stuff. It's not one of my strengths, but I'm trying hard and want to do what I can to protect my content.

    xo

  6. Hi Whitney! I think this bottle was Mahogony. A hair lighter than Walnut? Its also a little more red though, which is not my fave. I was out of the Golden Oak (or maybe it's Pecan…?) that I pretty much use on any shade of wood. It's nice and light and just sort of fills the color instead of adding to it. You know what I mean? Hope that helps! Love Restorafinish!! xo

  7. Jo Z, your comment wasn't the nicest. LGN is one of the best design blogs out there, period.

  8. A strange combo that works on rusted chrome is coke a cola and aluminum foil. Just dip a piece of foil in the coke and rub away.

  9. Rachel

    I agree with Jo Z. Is there a reason this feature was added? I much prefer the old style as well. Hoping this can be seen as a constructive comment, not "mean."

  10. The best thing I've found is NevRDull. Comes in a can with cotton wads for application. Rub it on to coat the metal, then follow with 0000 steel wool, wipe clean. Works great, and doesn't scratch the metal.

    To Jo Z: I think the truncated posts help prevent the blog contents from being stolen/lifted.

  11. I really like the click-through! It cuts down on endless scrolling, and then I just open up all the ones I want to read in new tabs. :)

  12. I use the pumice stick on toilet rings and deposits around sink drains. Amazing. I don't love the 'click to read more' either. Not that you asked:)

  13. A great tip, as I have the Bartenders Secret now for the scrub stick!

    xoxo
    Karena
    2014 Artists Series
    Fashion Photographer Eddie Collins

  14. A great tip, as I have the Bartenders Secret now for the scrub stick!

    xoxo
    Karena
    2014 Artists Series
    Fashion Photographer Eddie Collins

  15. Wow! Do you think something like this would work well on super aged brass? Brasso is not cutting it. Might try the neverdull and steel wool thing mentioned above…

  16. Will be gorgeous! Can you share your upholster's name? I have been looking for a good one in Phoenix for some time, but always afraid to take the leap without a solid reference. Thanks! =)

  17. i just wanted to through my two cents in about having to click "read more"–i prefer just scrolling! love the blog.

  18. Never heard of either product but it looks like they worked great! I use a 600 grit "wet" sandpaper (it's black) you wet it then sand and it works fabulously and doesn't scratch.. Just in case you wanted to try something else ;)

  19. That chair is amazing!I can't wait to see it with the new leather. I use those scouring sticks to remove calcium deposits on my pool tiles. Works like a charm. I never even thought of using it on metal. Thanks for another great tip.

  20. debojo

    Aluminum foil takes off rust beautifully on chrome as well! I bought a used bike and got all of the rust off with just small squares of aluminum foil!

  21. Sava

    I used a trick from Martha Stewart to clean up a chrome base. Use a ball of aluminum foil. Also good for getting the rust off of shower caddies. The aluminum is nice because it can really get into the knicks and crannies.

  22. Jenny

    Hi guys! Thanks for the feedback on the Read More click throughs. I know it sort of interrupts the flow of reading/scrolling – I don't love it either. But I added the feature because several dozens sites have been lifted my content through straight up copy and paste. Having the click through doesn't completely prevent that from happening, but it makes it WAY harder to do.

    Also, most of my posts have more than ten photos and several posts have more than thirty or forty! Crazy right?! The jump just helps keep the front page cleaner and reduces scrolling for people who don't care about some of the more lengthy tutorials.

    Thanks for hanging in there with me while I figure out the technical stuff. It's not one of my strengths, but I'm trying hard and want to do what I can to protect my content.

    xo

  23. Jenny

    Hi Whitney! I think this bottle was Mahogony. A hair lighter than Walnut? Its also a little more red though, which is not my fave. I was out of the Golden Oak (or maybe it's Pecan…?) that I pretty much use on any shade of wood. It's nice and light and just sort of fills the color instead of adding to it. You know what I mean? Hope that helps! Love Restorafinish!! xo

  24. Annie

    Fantastic chair! Can't wait to see the finished product. I just reupholstered a pair of Saarinen Executive Arm chairs and cleaned up the rusty chrome legs with water and aluminum foil! It was so slick I felt like a magician! Always enjoy seeing your work.

  25. Thanks for the tip! I tried the aluminum foil trick on an old coffee table. It made it smoother, but left some rust behind. Bartender's Secret got rid of it all. I'm very happy.

  26. Jo Z

    thanks for the reply jenny. i wasn't trying to be mean – sorry if it came across that way. i was genuinely curious about why bloggers did that – and now i know! so thanks.

    PS nikki, cody & tessa – i didn't say LGN wasn't a great deign blog, just that i hated the click thru thing.

  27. Cant wait to see the finished product. As always, learned something new from your blog. You are truly a modern day Martha Stewart!

    xo

    Saher

  28. I need about 10 yards of leather to recover a piece. So that means I need about 3 or 4 of the same hides. Any suggestions? And the chair looks GREAT! Can't wait to see it all restored.

  29. The chair is going to look awesome! I need 10 yards of leather for a project. Any suggestions on where to find that much of the same lot??

  30. Cowhides are available on Ebay, around $90 a hide.

  31. Glad for this tip. Now I don't have to turn down a vintage item because of rust!

  32. I grew up doing my homework in one of these chairs at my dad's desk. Glad you found one to restore.

  33. This is life changing! I hadn't heard of this combo before to get rid of rust…I cannot wait to try on my old bike, furniture, etc. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Oh, and that chair is simply amazing.

  34. smash

    Great tip. This is going to be gorgeous when it's done!

  35. This is a great tip, I have so many things I can try this on!

  36. I use the scouring stick to clean my farmhouse sink in the kitchen (it's a Shaw, white) and it's the best for getting the gross ring out of toilets when bleach doesn't do the trick…same goes for the ring that forms around the drain in bathroom sinks and cast-iron tubs. It's the best!! Can't wait to see the finished product when the chair gets back from the upholsterer!! xo

  37. I only found out about Bar Keepers Friend a few months ago. It's a miracle worker!!!

  38. Your results are fantastic! I use a pumice stick to remove rings snd hard water deposits in my toilet bowl. The pumice won't scratch the porcelain even though it sounds bad.

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