Aside from dogs, bikes are also a man’s best friend – on the road. If you’re itching for a road trip to nature with friends, the bike is the best possible transportation that you can use because it can get you anywhere, no matter how steep the path can be. In urban cities, it makes travel from home to work and other destinations a lot easier because you can avoid getting stuck on the traffic. Some countries even placed protected bike lanes for their citizens, which resulted in low fatality and injury rates caused by traffic.
Aside from protected bike lanes, there’s more to safety biking which is bike maintenance. One of the overlooked aspect in taking care of your bike is making it rust-free. Rusting on bikes happens when it is exposed to corrosive materials and oxygen. Other agents of rusting are rainwater and salt where the metal (the main material of bikes) becomes highly exposed.
If you found rust on your bike, you shouldn’t ignore it as it could leave permanent damage to your bike. So, in this article, we will discuss the 3 practical and effective ways on how to get rid of rust on a bike. These are:
- Removing minor rust with baking soda
- Getting rid of stubborn rust with vinegar
- Using a chemical rust remover
Method 1: Removing minor rust with baking soda
Baking soda is known as a leavening agent in baking. It is 100% bicarbonate of soda that is the main ingredient of the baking powder. When mixed with an acid, it creates bubbles of carbon dioxide due to its alkaline nature. Aside from baking, it is also an alternative, cheap rust remover that you can find in your kitchen. So, how can you get rid of rust using baking soda? Here’s what you need to do.
What you’ll need:
Baking Soda, water, spoon, mixing bowl, damp rag and lemon juice (optional)
To prepare the paste:
- In a mixing bowl, combine 50/50 parts of baking soda and water. For instance, if you’ll mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda, the amount of water also needed to make a paste is 1 tablespoon.
- Mix the baking soda and water until it becomes a thick paste. Keep in mind that the amount of baking soda paste depends on the size of rust you want to remove and the parts of the bike where you will be using it.
- If you want to intensify the rust removing properties of the baking soda paste, you can add a squirt of lemon juice.
How to remove rust with baking soda paste?
Once your baking soda paste thickens and becomes a paste, you should,
- Use a brush or sponge to dab the paste on the rusty parts of the bike. Do not remove it immediately upon application. You can leave it for 15 minutes, which is a good time to enable the paste to breakdown the rust that was formed on your bike.
- After letting the paste set in 15 minutes, scrub the paste in the bike using a scrub pad, steel wool or a plastic scrubber. As you scrub out the paste, you’ll notice that the rust in your bike is breaking and detaching from your bike. If you didn’t notice such, repeat the procedure.
- Once you’re done with scrubbing, leave the paste for another 10 minutes before you remove the baking soda mixture.
- Wipe off the baking soda paste with a microfiber cloth and make sure to dry the bike before storing it to a cool dry place.
- If the rust is not completely removed, repeat the same process.
Method 2: Getting rid of stubborn rust with vinegar
Another practical way to remove the stubborn rust on your bike is by using vinegar. White vinegar is the most recommended type of vinegar to use because it reacts more actively with rust due to its high acidity levels than any other vinegar. To get rid of the rust, here’s what you need to do.
What you’ll need:
For making the solution: White vinegar, spray bottle, baking soda (optional)
For scrubbing the rust: Sponge, tinfoil or scrub brush
To prepare the solution:
- Pour the amount of white vinegar you want to use to remove the rust in a clean spray bottle.
- Add half spoon of baking soda to the white vinegar and mix it to amplify the corrosive effect of vinegar.
How to get rid of rust using the white vinegar solution?
- If you’ll be using the spray bottle, it is best to spray the rusty part evenly with the vinegar solution. Leave it for 15 minutes to help the vinegar set and afterward, scrub it with sponge, tinfoil or plastic scrub brush.
- If the rusty part of your bike is big, you can soak that bike parts wholly in a basin or pail big enough to cover the rust with the solution. Don’t worry about the other parts of the bike that will be soaked in the vinegar solution because after wiping to dry it off, it will look good as new as dirt will also be removed.
Method 3: Using a chemical rust remover
Chemical rust remover is your last resort if no home remedy works in removing the rust on your bike. This can be purchased on your local hardware or bike shop and comes in different strength levels. To remove the rust in your bike with chemical rust remover,
Protective gloves, glass, brush, cloth and disposable bag
How to use it?
Every chemical rust remover has instructions indicated on how to use their product. But to make it easier for you to apply it, this is what you need to do.
- Wear protective gloves and glasses before you apply the chemical to your bike. You must wear protective gear as these chemicals are potent that can harm your eyes and skin when in contact.
- Apply the chemical rust remover as instructed in the label in a well-ventilated open window space. If you feel a bit dizzy upon smelling the chemical, it is best to exit the room immediately.
- To avoid direct skin contact of the chemical remover, use a paintbrush and apply it evenly. Leaving the chemical set on your bike parts depends on the label, but usually, it ranges from 30 minutes to overnight. So if you’re a bit in a hurry, it would be better to read the labels while at the store or ask someone from the store to recommend you a chemical rust remover with quick setting time.
- After the setting time, remove the chemical and the rust using a cloth and dispose of it in a separate bag. Store the remaining cleaners out of reach of children.
**IMPORTANT: When you use the chemical rust remover, do not mix vinegar, citric acid or baking soda with it as it could be deadly and can damage your bike.
To get rid of the rust that affects the durability and safety of your bike, there are three ways to do so: by applying baking soda paste, spraying vinegar or the use of chemical rust remover. To avoid the recurrence of rust in bikes, it is best to regularly maintain the bikes and store them in a cool dry place.
Starting on a starter tricycle at the age of 2, Danny has rarely been off a bike ever since. He spends most weekends riding through the woods near his house or taking longer bike trips on the road.