Rust on Metal Table: Ask Annie

Hi Annie! Do you have any tips for removing rust from a metal table? –Julianne, NY

Dear Julianne,

Nice to hear from you! The old folk formulas rave about cream of tartar as the best choice to remove rust. Just make a thick paste of cream of tartar and water and rub it onto the metal table. (Note to spot test if the metal table is painted.) Let the mixture set on the rust for a few hours, keeping the paste damp, before rinsing. I hope it helps! Another tip for removing rust is milk, also an acid, but I am not sure pouring milk on the table will remove the rust unless you can let it pool over the rust, which depends on where the rust is found.

Good luck.


Kamia T.
Kamia Tabout a year ago

White vinegar rubbed on with a scrubbee will also take rust off. It's sort of hard to keep any paste moist on a table, unless you cover the whole thing with plastic, I suppose.

Dana W.
Dana W3 years ago

Some interesting ideas - I want to get rust off my can opener and a cast iron frying pan so I'm a bit leery of using commerical cleaners.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thank you for the info.

Robert O.
Robert O4 years ago

Thanks so much for the tip.

Chris R.
Chris R5 years ago


Chris R.
Chris R5 years ago


Karrol Nicoletto
Karrol Nicoletto7 years ago

does anyone know about" painted ,rusted,wrought iron,that has been abused by animal urine,"
how do I go about restoring to use by family.

Laura Potaca
Laura P8 years ago

Oxalic acid is great at getting rid of rust, and you can buy it at the hardware store. Used car places use it to clean rust spots off older cars. Oxalic acid is a natural product (or it can be), and it is found in swiss chard and spinach. It sticks to metal ions, like calcium and iron, and "chelates" them, which helps remove rust spots.

Lorie Smith
Lorie Smith8 years ago

if you use the shinny side of reynolds wrap aluminum foil, it also will take off deep rust and leave your metal very shiny.