The Best Ways to Remove Rust from a Light Fixture

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Light fixture (Photo: @opkirilka via Twenty20)
Even with all the proper care and maintenance, some of your fixtures might be prone to rust. So, if you see it creeping up your light fixture, don’t despair, rust is removable in a few easy steps.

Why does rust occur?

For starters, you might want to know how the rust got there in the first place. Most metal fixtures, like your light and bathroom fixtures, are covered in a chrome coat to protect them from rusting. However, age and general wear and tear can potentially break down the protective barrier, which exposes the metal and causes it to oxidize. So the pesky rust on your light fixture is the result of oxidation.

Don’t wait too long!

When it comes to rust, time is of the essence. When it is allowed to sit on a fixture, its presence is corrosive. If left to fester, it will cause irreparable damage. Advanced rust can also be extremely damaging to remove. That means if the rust stains on your fixtures are deep and jagged to the touch, it might be time to replace them.

How to remove rust

If you’ve spotted rust on your light fixture, it’s time to take action!
You can use different things to remove rust, most of which you probably already have on hand.
Steel wool: If the rust is light, you don’t need to apply any product to remove it. Gently brushing away the rust with some steel wool will probably suffice. However, be careful not to apply too much pressure; steel wool can easily scratch metal surfaces.
White vinegar: If your rust problem is a bit more serious, the white vinegar’s acidity is a great way to break it down. Apply the vinegar to the affected area using a cloth, rag, or sponge, and let it rest for 30 minutes. After soaking, the rust should easily brush off with steel wool.
Baking soda: This is an excellent alternative if you want to apply a paste instead of a liquid. Mix some baking soda with water until it thickens, then cover the affected areas and let rest for 30 minutes. Afterward, brush the rust off with steel wool.
Rust remover: There are also chemical rust removers available for purchase. Apply it according to the instructions on the bottle.

How to prevent rust from reoccurring

Rust can be like a monster in a horror movie. You think it’s gone, but then it comes back with a vengeance. Once you’ve cleaned the rust off your fixtures, there are some measures you can take to prevent it from jumping out at you again.
Metal primer: These primers act as a seal to prevent metal from oxidizing. This is especially important if you were not able to remove 100% of the rust.
Metal paint: If you want your fixtures to look like new, applying metal paint over some dry metal primer will ensure that no one will know that you had a rust problem in the first place.