Removing Oxidation on Different Metals

Every once in a while, we get questions on how to remove oxidation from the sections of copper on bus bars. Since oxidation on bare copper is not uncommon, here is a homemade recipe for an oxidation remover.

What you will need:

  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Vinegar
  • Soft Cloth

Depending on how much oxidation you are trying to remove will make measuring tools different. Use the same ratios for the best results. Mix 1/4 salt (cup, TBSP, tsp, etc.), 1/4 (cup, TBSP, tsp, etc.) flour, and enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Use a soft cloth (I use microfiber.) to rub the paste on the surface of the copper. Buff until the oxidation is removed. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly. Since it is bare copper on the bus bars their performance should not be affected.

Stainless Steel:
According to GE Appliances: “The chromium in stainless steel when exposed to oxygen in the atmosphere forms a thin invisible layer called chromium oxide. …If this layer is damaged rust is formed on the surface at the point of that damage.”

What you will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Toothbrush
  • Soft cloth, or Paper Towel.

Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 2 cups of water. Rub the baking soda solution on the rust stain using a toothbrush. Since baking soda is non-abrasive, it will gently lift the rust stain from the stainless steel. After the rust is coated in the solution, rinse and wipe off with a wet cloth or paper towel.

Here are a few other methods of removing rust from various metals with acid:
Always test a small area first to ensure this method doesn’t cause any damage

  • Soak the rust in apple cider vinegar overnight. Rinse with fresh vinegar, or rub off with crumpled up tin foil.

  • Sprinkle lemon or lime juice on the rust, add a pinch of table salt. Allow 15-30 minutes to soak. Rub the mixture off with tin foil. Depending on how bad the rust is, you can soak this mixture overnight as well.

  • Soak rust in Coca-Cola the Hydrochloric acid will remove the rust from the metal.