Rust Disposal: Remove the Rust for Higher-Quality Metal

As a metalworker, maintaining the value of metals is crucial. Rust can decrease the value of metal, so it’s essential to know how to remove it effectively and increase its weight before selling.

Morecambe Metals is a family-owned scrap metal recycling and processing business in Morecambe, Lancashire. We work with all forms of scrap metal and offer multiple services, including ferrous metal processing, management and metal shearing. We are experts in all things scrap metal.

In this blog post, we will provide valuable tips and advice on removing rust from metals to maximise your profits and ensure that your metals are in top condition.

Know the Rust You Are Dealing With

Rust is an iron oxide that forms on metal surfaces exposed to atmospheric conditions containing water and oxygen. To identify the type of rust, visually inspect the metal for discolouration, bumps, or rough patches. Understanding the kind of rust will guide you in selecting the best removal approach.

A close-up of a chain on rocks


  • Red rust is the most common type of rust, and it occurs when an iron surface is exposed to water and oxygen. It appears as a reddish-brown to orange hue on the metal surface. The rust particles are larger and more prominent than in other types of rust.
  • Yellow rust is a less common form of rust found in areas with high moisture content. It forms because of the corrosion of iron oxide and appears as a yellowish-brown tint on the metal surface.
  • Black rust occurs when iron is exposed to water and oxygen in high humidity. It appears blackish and is typically more stable and harder to remove than red rust.


  • Surface rust appears as a thin layer on the surface of the metal. It’s often easy to remove and doesn’t cause significant damage.
  • Pitted rust occurs when the rust has eaten into the metal, causing small pits and holes. This type of rust may require more extensive rust removal techniques.

Knock Off Rust to Improve Your Chances

When removing rust from metals, one crucial step is to remove the loose rust before proceeding with the removal process. This step may seem simple, but it is vital in improving your chances of effectively removing rust.

The rust may appear as loose flakes or particles that have not completely adhered to the metal. Knocking off these loose rust particles exposes the underlying metal, making the remaining rust more accessible for treatment.

A metal brush with rust

There are several methods to knock off loose rust:

Wire brush: A wire brush is commonly used in rust removal. Use a wire brush with stiff bristles to scrub the rusted area. The bristles help dislodge the loose rust particles from the surface, allowing for better exposure of the remaining rust.

Sandpaper or abrasive pads: Another option is to use sandpaper or abrasive pads to sand the rusted surface gently. This manual abrasion helps remove the loose rust particles and prepares the metal for further treatment.

Cloth or sponge: In some cases, gentle scrubbing with a cloth or sponge can effectively knock off loose rust. This method is especially useful for delicate or easily damaged surfaces.

Why Is Knocking Off Rust Important?

Knocking off the loose rust creates a clean and smooth surface for applying rust removers or other treatments. This allows for better penetration and contact with the remaining rust, increasing the chances of successful removal.

Regardless of your chosen method, thoroughly knocking off the loose rust is important. Take your time to ensure that you’ve removed as much loose rust as possible. This will improve the efficacy of the subsequent steps in the rust removal process.

Rust on a white car

Follow These Steps to Remove the Rust

When removing rust from metals, it’s crucial to follow the proper steps to ensure the process is effective and safe. Each step is essential and plays a vital role in the overall success of the rust removal process. Here, we’ll break down the steps involved in removing rust from metals:

  • Clean the rusted area: Begin by cleaning the rusted area with soap and water or an appropriate solvent to remove any oil, dirt, or debris. This step will ensure maximum contact between the rust remover and the metal.
  • Apply a rust remover: Apply a rust remover to the surface of the metal, covering the entire rusted area. Be sure to choose an appropriate rust remover for the type of rust you’re dealing with. Follow the product instructions carefully and let the rust remover sit or soak for the recommended time.
  • Rinse off the rust remover: After the rust remover has had time to penetrate the rust, rinse the area thoroughly with soap and water or an appropriate solvent. This step will remove the rust, rust remover, and any other debris from the surface of the metal.
  • Dry the metal thoroughly: After rinsing, dry the metal thoroughly to prevent moisture from accumulating and contributing to future rust formation.
  • Apply a rust sealant: Finally, apply a rust sealant to the metal to protect it from rust formation in the future. This step is critical in preventing further corrosion and maintaining the value and quality of the metal.

A person using a grinder to polish a metal pole

Heavy rust and pitting may sometimes require additional steps beyond those listed above. Sandblasting and grinding can remove all rust, but they should only be attempted by experienced professionals.

It’s important to remember that rust removal can be hazardous, and protective gear like gloves and a mask should be worn, especially when using chemical rust removers. Additionally, any rust removers, solvents, or other materials used in the process should be disposed of carefully and follow local regulations.

Several pipes in a truck

Reduce Rust in Scrap Metal With Morecambe Metals

Metals must be cleaned of rust to retain their worth and appeal to potential buyers. You can stop rust from corroding priceless metals by identifying the type of rust, removing loose rust, and using the right techniques. Take the effort to eliminate rust from your metals before selling them to maximise your profits.

If you need professional assistance in rust removal or scrap metal recycling, trust Morecambe Metals. Our experienced team utilises effective rust removal techniques to restore the value of metals. Contact us today to learn more about our scrap metal services and how we can help you.