How to Get Rust Off a Bike Frame

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Rust on a bicycle frame is never going to be a good thing. Once the rust starts to take hold, the strength of the bike frame is compromised. Unless that rust is removed, it is only a matter of time before the bicycle frame becomes useless. Thankfully, learning how to get the rust off a bike frame isn’t that difficult. In fact, you can probably remove the rust using a few items that you likely have in your home already.

Here, we want to show you exactly how to remove that rust. We also want to share with you a few ideas that you can use to prevent that rust from returning.

How to Get Rust Off Your Bike Frame

While there are many different methods that you can use for how to get the rust off a bicycle frame, the method that we are going to share with you is a simple one.

One that you can probably carry out with a few tools and accessories you likely have around your home already.

Materials and Tools Required

You will need the following:

  • Baking soda
  • Wire wool 
  • Chemical rust remover
  • Nail polish
  • Microfiber cloth

1. Prepare Baking Soda

To begin with, you’re going to need to prepare your baking soda concoction.

You’ll want to mix one part baking soda with one part water. So, for every cup of baking soda you use, you should be using a cup of water.

You need to mix up the baking soda and water until you get something that is almost toothpaste-like inconsistency.

2. Apply Baking Soda to the Bike’s Frame

You can apply your baking soda paste rather liberally to the rust-impacted area. You can never add too much of your paste.

In fact, the more you add, the easier it’s going to be to remove that rust. When you have applied the baking soda, you can start scrubbing with some wire wool. 

Use fine-grade wire wool for this. Nothing too stubborn or it will just end up seriously scratching the bike frame.

As you scrub, you’ll start to see that small amounts of rust will start to break away from the bicycle frame. This is exactly what you want to have happened. It means that the baking soda is working.

If no rust chips are appearing in the baking soda, then you’re likely not using enough of your mixture. Add some more to the bike frame.

Once you see those small chips of rust appearing in the baking soda, you can stop scrubbing. You should now leave the baking soda in place for 15-20 minutes so it can get to work.

By leaving it behind, it’s going to keep ‘eating’ away at that rust. This will allow you to completely remove the rust in the next step.

3. Remove the Baking Soda from the Bike’s Frame

After about 15-20 minutes, you can just wipe the baking soda away with a microfiber cloth.

If you’re lucky, the baking soda would have removed the rust, so as you brush that cloth over it, all of the rust is just going to be lifted away.

For the vast majority of people looking at how to get the rust off a bicycle frame, this is by far the most effective method.

4. Use a Chemical Rust Remover

If you managed to remove all of the rust in the previous step, then you can skip this one. However, if you had a particularly bad rust problem, then there may be some stubborn rust left behind. In this case, you’re going to need to pull out the chemical rust remover.

Apply the chemical rust remover as per the instructions on the bottle. If the chemical rust remover isn’t able to remove the stubborn rust, then chances are that your bicycle frame will need to be disposed of in the future.

It would mean that the rust is far too ingrained into the bicycle frame. This means that the integrity of the bike frame’s structure may have been compromised.

5. Apply Nail Polish

If you read any other guide on how to get the rust off a bike frame, this is a step that seems to be skipped.

To us, it’s one of the most important. This is because once you have removed the rust, you want to stop it from returning. We will cover this a little bit more in the next section.

For now, all you need to know is that any cracked paint will need to be covered up with a bit of nail polish.

Chances are that you’ll have scratched or chipped the paint while you were scrubbing away, so pay special attention to the areas where you carried out the most work.

Bike Rust Prevention

Prevention is always going to be better than the cure.

Therefore, we want to share a few tips for bike rust prevention. By following these tips, bike rust should be a thing of the past.

1. Store Bike Indoors

Perhaps the simplest way to keep rust at bay is to keep your bike stored indoors. If it’s out of the elements, then the risk of rust is cut drastically.

Ideally, whenever you’re done riding your bike for the day, you should also wipe it down with a dry cloth before putting your bike into indoor storage. Again, this will drastically cut down on the risk of rust.

2. Use WD-40 on Exposed Metal

The bike’s paint is going to help to prevent certain parts of the bike frame from rusting. However, there will still be some exposed metal on the frame.

This includes bike chains, gears, and brake cables. You can protect these by spraying some WD-40 directly onto them. Make sure that you only spray the cables. Don’t spray the brakes directly, for instance.

3. Use Nail Polish to Cover Chipped Paint

If any paint has chipped, use some nail polish on the chipped area. This will prevent moisture from getting to the bike frame which, of course, is also going to lead to rust. 

Conclusion

As you can see, removing rust from a bicycle frame is dead simple. All you really need is some baking soda and wire wool.

Once that rust has been removed, seal up any scratches or cracks and you will likely prevent the rust from returning. This ensures that your bike frame lasts as long as possible.

James Mattis

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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