How to Remove and Prevent Rust On Stainless Steel Appliances

Even though the popular belief is that stainless steel remains stainless forever, this is not true in most cases, especially with regard to home appliances. The presence of chromium in stainless steel does act as a protective film that prevents corrosion, but this invisible layer of chromium oxide can get damaged, which in turn will lead to rust.

You can remove rust from stainless steel appliances by using store-bought rust remover pastes or sprays that contain oxalic acid, or even with homemade rust removing solutions that are made up of lemon, vinegar, and baking soda.

Stainless steel appliances are quite rust-resistant and do not stain easily either. Even if rust does begin to form, it can be easily cleaned using just a few ingredients found in your home. There are also certain preventive measures you can take to ensure your appliances are rust-free. If you’d like to know how to remove and prevent rust from home appliances, keep reading!

Stainless steel kitchen utensils.

5 Ways to Remove Rust From Stainless Steel Appliances

In order to remove rust from your appliances, you can either use rust removers that have been designed for this purpose or put your trust in natural ingredients you can find in your kitchen. Let’s look at the most effective ways to tackle stainless steel corrosion!

1. Rust Removing Powder

If there happens to be a lot of rust on your appliances, you could try checking out rust removing powders. These powders usually contain quite a few chemicals in order to remove heavy-duty rust stains. If you’ve never bought a rust remover before, I would recommend checking out Zud Rust & Stain Remover Powder, which works wonders on stainless steel appliances and sinks.

How to Use:
  1. Begin by mixing the powder with some water to form a thick paste.
  2. You can then apply this paste on all the rust affected areas and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. If the stains are only on the surface, you can just wash off the paste and the rust with water. However, if the stains are stubborn, you might have to scrub the appliance just a little bit before you wash it off.

Another product which is one of the most popular rust cleaners on Amazon is Iron OUT Powder Rust Stain Remover. It claims to remove rust stains from any surface and is in the form of a powder as well. The product uses chemicals to change rust and iron into a clear soluble state, which eliminates the need for scrubbing. If you are not convinced yet, you might want to check out the customer reviews and pictures on Amazon to see the results for yourself.

On a side note, I highly recommend wearing a pair of gloves while using store-bought rust removers. These have strong chemicals and may affect sensitive skin. They generally do not irritate the skin, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

2. Rust Removing Gel

This is ideal if you need to clean rust, which is located in areas that you find hard to reach in your appliances. Due to its gel consistency, it can reach areas that pastes and sprays may not be able to clean as effectively. You can use this on any nooks and crannies in your appliances that you find hard to clean with other rust cleaners.

Clean My Steel Stainless is a rust removing gel that is specifically meant for stainless steel appliances. It is also organic and biodegradable, so you don’t need to worry about the chemicals being too harsh on your steel surfaces. It is also safe to use on cooking utensils and the surface of your refrigerator. Additionally, it provides an anti-corrosion finish, which will reduce the possibility of your steel getting corroded again.

How to Use:
  1.  Apply the gel over the rusty areas.
  2. Let it sit for an entire day (24 hours) before you wash it off with water.

However, this gel works best only on surface-level rust. If your appliances are heavily corroded, it is advisable to go for stronger rust cleaners, like the powders mentioned above.

3. Rust Removing Spray

This is another type of rust remover which comes in a spray bottle and is generally water-based. This can be easily sprayed on any surface and is slightly less strong than rust removing powders.

If you find these removers easier to use, you can try checking out Krud Kutter MR32, which is a water-based solution and can be sprayed onto any surface. It dissolves rust and allows it to be wiped away without much scrubbing.

How to Use:
  1. This comes in a spray bottle, and just needs to be sprayed on the surface that contains the rust.
  2. If the corrosion is only surface level, you can spray a small quantity of the solution and wipe it within a few minutes. However, if the rust stains are stubborn, you may have to spray a little more and allow it to sit for an hour or so before wiping it clean.

If you would like to know more about Krud kutter rust remover, check out my full review of this product.

4. Rust Removing Paste

One of the most efficient ways to clean rust off your steel is by using high-quality rust removing paste. This is because these are better at removing strong rust stains and also ensures enduring protection to prevent the corrosion of the surface again.

One of the most highly rated rust removal pastes on Amazon is Cameo Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cleaner, which works on both aluminum and steel. It is safe to use on all surfaces, including steel cookware, countertops, and stoves.

How to Use:
  1. Take an adequate quantity of the paste (depending on the surface area of the appliance) and mix it with a little bit of water to make it easier to spread.
  2. You may have to scrub the surface a little if the rust stains are difficult, or they should be fairly easy to remove.
  3. You can then wash off with water.

Fortunately, this product has many reviews on Amazon, where users have also displayed the before and after pictures of their appliances. If you are not sure about the efficiency of the product, then I recommend checking out these reviews.

5. DIY Methods

If you are not impressed by any of these commercial rust removers or prefer using chemical-free removers on your appliances, don’t fret, because there are quite a few ways to get rid of rust using just a few ingredients in your house. Let’s have a look at these DIY methods in detail below.

Use White Vinegar to Remove Rust

White vinegar is popularly used to remove rust and its stains because it contains acetic acid, which is quite weak and will not damage the stainless steel surface. White vinegar is also used to clean general stains and mildew as well, making it an all-round house cleaning product. They are also used specifically to clean stainless steel appliances.

How to Use:
  1. You can either dab or spray undiluted white vinegar over the rusted area.
  2. If there is a lot of rust, you may want to use a little extra and leave it to rest for longer.
  3. For light stains, you can allow the vinegar to rest for about 30-40 minutes, and if the rust is more, leave it for at least 3 hours.
  4. Once you’ve allowed the vinegar to soak, use a toothbrush or any kind of gentle scrub to remove the rust, which should come off easily.

You can repeat this process if the rust remains.

If you’re still skeptical about this method, give this rust removal video a watch!

Use Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

Lemon juice contains citric acid, while baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) acts as a mild abrasive, which helps the rust dissolve. This mixture should work well on stainless steel appliances and does not ruin the steel either.

How to Use:
  1. Mix lemon juice and baking soda to form a paste.
  2. Then apply this paste to the rusted area and allow it to sit for a couple of hours. If needed, you can leave it for longer if the stains are strong.
  3. Then use a brush or scrub and scrub off the paste.
  4. You can then wash it with water.

If you have doubts regarding the consistency of the paste, or would just like to see how efficient this method of rust removal is, I recommend checking out the video found below.

Warning tip: Objects may appear black after they have been soaked in vinegar or lemon juice for a while, but they will return to their original color once they have been scrubbed. Even though these rust removers are milder than store-bought removers, it is not advisable to use them on antiques as the scrubbing might damage the surface.

Additionally, you can also combine baking soda with white vinegar or even plain water and get similar results. The only drawback of using homemade rust removers is that you may have to put in a little more effort while scrubbing when compared to rust removers with chemicals. But the results you get are more or less the same, and that’s what matters!

Tips for Preventing Rust on Stainless Steel Appliances

After removing the rusted areas from your appliances, it is important to take preventive measures to stop rust from corroding them again. Chromium protects the steel from being corroded to a certain extent, but if this layer of chromium is breached or damaged, moisture reaches the steel underneath and causes it to rust.

Let’s look at some of the causes of rust penetrating the protective layer and how you can avoid this from occurring again!

Use the Right Detergent

When cleaning your appliances, it is important to know what ingredients your cleaners or detergents contain, as some can be harsh and damaging to stainless steel. For example, cleaners with high amounts of bleach can cause corrosion. To avoid this from happening, you can make use of mild detergents and soaps which do not contain chemicals that react with stainless steel.

To clean appliances, I would suggest using a detergent like Charlie’s Soap, which is a multi-purpose detergent. It is so mild that it can be used on almost all surfaces without causing any damage to it. Additionally, it contains no abrasives or bleaching agents, which are two of the main components that cause stainless steel to rust.

If you have stainless steel cookware, you can consider getting a mild dish soap that does not contain bleach, alcohol, ammonia, or chloride. You can also dilute the dish soap with water if you find it too strong.

Use the Right Scrubber

When cleaning your stainless steel appliances, it is advisable to use soft scrubbers that do not damage the top layer of the steel. Using steel wool or other hard scrubbers can act as abrasives and damage the protective coating, which in turn leads to rusting.

I would recommend using silicone scrubbers, as these are soft and cause no damage to steel surfaces. You can check out Peachy Clean Silicone Scrubber, as it protects the surface of your appliance while also giving off a pleasant fragrance.

For steel appliances other than cookware, you can check out Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponges. They are microfiber sponges that can be used on any surface without scratching or damaging the surface. You also get 6 in a pack, and can use one for every appliance you have!

Clean Your Appliances

According to the British Stainless Steel Association, stainless steel surfaces must be clean and have an adequate supply of oxygen to avoid rust. One of the most common reasons for rust formation is due to crevice corrosion. This is when food or dirt gets stuck for a long period of time and forms a pit in the steel. This leads to rusting. By cleaning your appliances, you can prevent this corrosion.

Another common cause for rust forming on utensils is when you use a ball of steel wool as a scrubber. The tiny pieces of steel tend to get embedded in the rims of utensils, which ultimately leads to rusting because of the moisture and rusted steel in the scrubber. This is another reason why you may not want to use steel wool as a scrubber.

Remove Moisture From Appliances

Always wipe your cookware and other stainless steel appliances once you have washed them. This is because they tend to rust when exposed to air and moisture for long periods of time. If the water contains salt, it can be even more harmful to your appliances in the long run. Only wipe your appliances with a soft cloth and never use a dishrag as it can contaminate the surface with food oils.

Use Stainless Steel Cleaners

One of the most popular ways to prevent stainless steel from rusting is to use stainless steel cleaners. These act as a polish which coats the surface of the appliance and protects it from corrosion. Additionally, it provides long-lasting shine.

All metals are generally rubbed down with oil to prevent the corrosion of the metal, and stainless steel is no different. These wipes provide the steel with the required oil, which coats the surface and protects it from rust. Let’s take a look at a couple of these cleaners below.

Stainless Steel Cleaners

Therapy Premium Stainless Steel Cleaner is a steel cleaner that comes in a convenient spray bottle. It is used to clean and polish the surface of all steel appliances right from your sink to your stove!

How to Use:
  1. Shake the bottle well before you use it.
  2. Continue to simply spray the required amount on the steel surface.
  3. You can then wipe it with a microfiber cloth.
  4. Remember to gently buff the surface with the towel for an added shine.

This can be done on any surface and has long-lasting results.

Stainless Steel Wipes

If you don’t find this easy to use, you can also invest in stainless steel wipes, which are comparatively easy to use. Therapy Stainless Steel Wipes is perfect for all steel surfaces as it is made with non-toxic ingredients, which means you can use them on your cookware too.

How to Use:
  1. You simply have to take a wipe and clean your appliances with it.

The bottle comes with an easy to use dispensing cap, which allows you to pull out the wipes like tissues. These wipes also give your appliances a streak-free shine. There are 30 wipes in a bottle.

Money-saving tip: If you find the commercial stainless steel cleaners too expensive, you can substitute this with ingredients found in your home. Use mild dish soap to clean the surface and polish the surface using only a microfiber towel and a small quantity of olive or mineral oil!


Having read this article, you now know how to remove rust from your stainless steel appliances with commercial rust removers and homemade remedies as well. After removing the rust from your appliances, be sure to use the preventive measures to ensure they stay rust-free.


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