Asked on Mar 31, 2014

What is the best way to clean old rusty railroad spikes??

by Julie
My husband recently came into some rusty railroad spikes and we want to use them in coat racks etc. but was wondering if anyone has a good idea of how to remove most of the rust and then we will spray paint them with rustoleum probably. Should they be soaked in something or just wire brush them or what? Thanks everyone!
  11 answers
  • Doris Pearson Doris Pearson on Mar 31, 2014
    Julie, they can be soaked in white vinegar.
  • Dana Bryniarski Dana Bryniarski on Mar 31, 2014
    Bar Keepers friend, comes in a spray, cleanser and soft scrub.....It's works EXCELLENT on rust! Hope that helps!
  • Debratucker Debratucker on Apr 01, 2014
    I have to go with vinegar
  • Roni Gilpin Roni Gilpin on Apr 01, 2014
    Have you tried Naval Jelly. It is an acid, so be careful with it, but great for removing rust along with the wire brush. Keeping in mind, the spikes are what they are, rust is part of the story.
  • Lisa Bakely Lisa Bakely on Apr 05, 2014
    A can of coke, or tang will take off the rust. Be careful though, it will dissolve the spike if left in too long.
  • Leanor Vlug Leanor Vlug on Mar 20, 2015
    I have an old very rusty milk can that was from my father in-law's dairy farm, decades ago... And want to clean and shine it up for my entry way umbrella stand. Gonna be hard to clean, from my efforts at the lid so far. Will these suggestions work? The coke cleaning tip ... Regular coke o r the sugar free kind?
  • Logan Baker Logan Baker on Mar 21, 2017

    if you soak them in vinegar it will leave a patina just take a wire brush to them

  • Tre15888656 Tre15888656 on Mar 21, 2017

    I would wire brush them to remove the loose rust, then if you want to keep the real look, seal them with a couple coats of Verathane so that damp clothes hung on them won't be stained. If you want a cleaner look with some patina, then a wire wheel treatment is in order. Either way, seal them afterwards.

  • Imp22013828 Imp22013828 on Mar 21, 2017

    Yep. Navel jelly. It is sold at hardware store. Keep the gloves handy and you may want an old or cheap paint brush. Also lay out some newspaper or paperbags. Navel jelly comes in a pink gel. They may even have it at auto parts store.

  • Faye Fox Faye Fox on Jul 19, 2019

    Would CLR work?

  • Nicholas Costas Nicholas Costas on Feb 03, 2020

    Sandblast it in a blasting cabinet.