How to Remove Rust with Electrolysis

Started by DaveVA78Chieftain, December 22, 2015, 09:14 PM

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How to Remove Rust with ElectrolysisRemove rust the easy way!

Electrolysis system

A simple system consists of a shallow container, a battery charger, rebar, a short copper wire, a clothespin and washing soda.  Electrolysis cleans away rust like magic, and you can set up a simple system in your shop with a battery charger and a few household items.


I don't know if the fish are going to be too happy putting 12 volts through their tank.
Rick and Tracy Ellerbeck


Depends on if they are iron deficient or not   :)rotflmao


Instead of a battery use electric eels


I'm going to have to try this some day...just because I love science and experiments so!

Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


     I have done this and it does work quite well.  Battery charger, chunk of old angle iron, 5 gallon bucket and some baking soda.  Your Anode will sacrifice itself and corrode to nothing, but that is what it is supposed to do.  Make sure you hook the cables up to the correct items or the thing you are trying to clean will become the Anode and slowly rust away.  Not good.  Also Do Not use stainless steel as an Anode to prevent it from corroding away.  If I recall it imparts some nasty bad properties to the water that are very unhealthy when you dispose of it.  (maybe Hexavalent Chromium? could be wrong). 

     The only thing to watch out for is the possibility of Hydrogen Embrittlement.  Don't use it on a stress critical component or you could have a failure.

     My personal preferred method is phosphoric acid instead (concrete cleaner works very well).  The acid dipping is simple and phosphoric is very safe.  You can get it on your skin and not be burned.  Even a bottle of Pop will work.  Or Molasses.  You will be shocked at how pitted a rusty surface really is when all the iron oxide is removed.  Sometimes it is scary, but very very clean!


As this topic again comes to the top,... I can't help but again chuckle a bit. I guess because I have intentionally "rusted" more old items than I've ever cleaned.

The procedure was called "Browning" (and my less used cold bluing), and was my preferred surface treatment for most of my field guns, classic firearms, and some special steel knives. The finely and carefully "rusted" surface held up to my use and abuse much better and was far easier for me to maintain(?) and restore(?).

I kinda chuckle too, because process of "intentional rusting", also used chargers, old batteries, new batteries, acids, sometimes copper, and other stuff available around the farm. I jus went backwards,.... from shiny clean steel, to a richly rusted surface!!! LoL!!!
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Quote from: rustyzman on February 07, 2016, 09:36 AM Your Anode will sacrifice itself and corrode to nothing, but that is what it is supposed to do.

Sacrificial metals is also present anywhere you have aluminum on an RV, e.g. corner molding, trim, metal roofs, vent flanges, etc. Always go out of your way to use aluminum screws if possible, or zinc-coated steel as an alternative, to avoid galvanic corrosion.

You want the screws to be the sacrificial material because theyââ,¬â,,¢re more easily replaced than a roof or corner molding.