Remove rust; eliminating stains after plumbing work

If you've put time and effort into getting your plumbing sorted, the last thing you want is for unsightly rust to spoil your home decor. And if you don't tackle the problem soon enough, the corrosion from rust could even eat through the metals in your pipes or radiators.Luckily, we know just how to get rid of it. We've partnered with Jess from Along Came Cherry to bring you some tips – how to remove rust, and how to paint your fixtures so that they stay protected.

Your rust-removal shopping list

Whether you're working on a metal pipe or doing some DIY radiator repair, the basic principles of removing rust are the same. Before you start, you'll need:

  • protective gloves and glasses
  • a wire brush and some fine sandpaper
  • a tack cloth
  • some naval jelly and a sponge
  • a bucket
  • a damp cloth and a dry towel
  • a paintbrush
  • a rust-inhibiting metal primer
  • rust-inhibiting metal paint.

You should find everything you need in any good DIY shop. If you're repairing a rusty radiator, remember to switch off the heating and let the radiator completely cool before you begin.

6 easy steps for removing rust

  1. Put on your protective gloves and glasses, and place the bucket underneath the pipe or radiator.
  2. Using the wire brush, scrub the affected area to remove any flakes of rust, and try to catch the falling flakes of rust in the bucket! Rub it down with sandpaper to get rid of any bits of rust that are still stuck on, and use the tack cloth to wipe away the dust and debris.
  3. With most of the rust scrubbed off, use the sponge to apply a thin layer of naval jelly all over the rusted area. Following the manufacturer's instructions, leave the naval jelly to dissolve the rust for the appropriate amount of time.
  4. While keeping the bucket ready underneath, pour clean water over the pipe or radiator to wash away the naval jelly. If there are parts that are difficult to pour water onto, you can use the damp cloth to clean the jelly off, and then dry the whole pipe or radiator with a towel.
  5. Paint the area with the rust-inhibiting primer, following the manufacturer's instructions to give it enough time to dry.
  6. Once the primer is dry, you can paint over the area with the rust-inhibiting metal paint. If you're repairing a radiator, make sure you leave the paint to dry for a few days before you turn that radiator back on.

Removing rust is just one of the ways you can keep your heating and plumbing systems in tip top shape. Have a look at our guide to bleeding a radiator, read about some of the most common central heating fixes, and don't be afraid to call on a professional if you're not sure about doing things yourself.

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