The Detroit Post
Saturday, 16 October, 2021

How To Rust Metal Fast

Danielle Fletcher
• Sunday, 18 October, 2020
• 7 min read

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase we may earn a commission. I don’t know about you but my heart skips a beat when I come across reclaimed wood, rusty metal, and forged iron.

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There’s something to be said about pieces that speak their history through their old age and rusty patina, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so drawn to mountain homes and log cabins. There’s a project we’ve had in mind for our RV, all we needed was some antique horseshoes.

I was able to pick up this 4 pack of horseshoes for $8 at a local tractor supply store. I have to tell ya, making metal rust in fast-forward was even more fun than I anticipated.

Update: If you watch the video at the top of the post you can see how using a small spray bottle or one with a misting option makes this method even easier! After I placed my horseshoe in the container I poured some white distilled vinegar on top.

I didn’t measure but I poured just enough so that it covered the horseshoe and then I sorta swished it around on top. At this point, you’ll want to add peroxide on top of your metal objects.

I then sprinkled …err dumped… a bunch of salt on my horseshoe and the rusty color started to come out even more. Then I called Eric over because I was all excited to show him, but I wanted more bubbles and fizz, so I poured a bit more hydrogen peroxide on top.

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After a few minutes, I swished the horseshoe around in the solution to sort of rinse off the salt and then patted it dry with a paper towel. You’ll see that it’s a bit rusty but don’t worry if it doesn’t look exactly the way you want, it actually rusts more than it dries.

It was getting dark outside, so I just let it sit overnight and the next day this is what my horseshoe looked like, next to metal that’s been rusting for years: I made a few more horseshoes prior to this one and let some of them sit for about an hour because I wasn’t noticing the color change right away.

If you don’t like how your metal looks after 10 minutes and air drying, you can always repeat the process and keep them in the solution for a longer period of time You’ll want to add a clear sealer to prevent the rusty patina from flaking off and staining anything they touch.

After receiving a lot of comments and emails about this not working on certain objects I wanted to add that not all metals will rust. I believe it has to have iron in it in order to rust, and if it’s galvanized, stainless steel or some other type of metal that doesn’t corrode then this process won’t work.

I learned this the hard way by trying to rust some galvanized buckets I had on hand and read up about it here. If you watch the video at the top of this post you’ll see the difference in the spray vs. dunk method.


Basically, the spray method will allow more of the contrast of the original metal to show through and it is easier to work in layers and add more rust if you want. Although you’ll notice a few of my “dunked” horseshoes still have a decent amount of contrast.

Whether you wish to rust hinges and hardware to further disguise the age of distressed wooden chest or you prefer the look of older metal candlesticks atop your farmhouse table, follow these easy steps for how to rust metal and you can transform any object around your home. Plus, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar can give off a moderate level of fumes, so you’ll want to work in a well-ventilated space anyway.

Lightly sand the entire surface of the metal with a fine-grit sandpaper to shed any protective coating present that might prevent the object from rusting. Place the sanded object in the center of a plastic bin that’s rested on either hard ground or a flat work surface in the garage.

As it dries, the acid of the vinegar will begin to corrode the surface of the metal and you will start to see rust appear. Pour two cups of hydrogen peroxide, four tablespoons of white vinegar, and one-and-a-half teaspoons of table salt into a plastic spray bottle.

Once the salt has dissolved, spray the solution over the object to coat it partially or completely, depending on the desired effect. It will set the rust and preserve the aged appearance for years to come while providing an acrylic barrier that keeps it from inadvertently staining any other metal or wood with which it comes into contact in the future.

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It’s understandable that most people want to prevent their cars and power tools from rusting, but some steel objects actually gain character from having a nice rusty patina. Below, we’ve shared the basic steps to give your outdoor decorations a charming, weathered look.

To give your steel that rusty finish, you’ll need table salt, white vinegar, and degreased, along with measuring cups/spoons and a spray bottle. Read the degreased bottle’s instructions as you apply it to the metal, and take care not to touch it with your bare hands.

So you’ve prepped the metal object for rusting, but how does the oxidation process actually happen? First, you’ll need to create a rusting solution by combining 16oz hydrogen peroxide, 2oz white vinegar, and ½ tablespoon of salt.

If the rusting doesn’t start happening immediately, you may need to put your object in direct sunlight for a while. Heat helps the process. After you spray the metal, let it dry, and then repeat for about 7 cycles, your steel should look like it’s aged years.

If you need further assistance, or have other questions that are important to you, don't hesitate to contact our knowledgeable Technical Product Support Department who are eager to help you at When iron or steel is exposed to air in the presence of water or moisture, the well known rusting process takes place.

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Metal surfaces protected with this premium conversion process resist the effects of weathering, sunlight, rain, and salt water without degrading, peeling, or cracking as long as the rust converter is maintained per manufacturer's recommendations. Rust Converter (opened or unopened containers) must be used within 2 years from the date of purchase if it is stored properly according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

A: One gallon of Rust Converter will cover approximately 400-500 square feet of a slick, smooth, non-porous surface. Irregular, porous or textured surfaces may require more rust converter.

Rust Converter works on any rusty iron or steel surface. After the Rust Converter has completely dry, it is recommended to wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove all excess Rust Converter before you apply the oil-based paint.

Galvanized (such as a boat trailer) is defined as a piece of metal that is coated with zinc to prevent corrosion. A: You should store Rust Converter at room temperature out of direct sunlight.

A: Remove large rust and scale particles with a wire brush or mallet. Then clean the surface thoroughly to remove dirt, dust and grease.

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Allow the surface to dry completely before applying Rust Converter. A: Goggles and gloves are recommended because it may cause eye and skin irritation.

Do not use Rust Converter where it will be in contact with foods or human water supply. For larger areas, pour then spread with a broom, mop, paint roller or squeegee.

Airless sprayers tend to work the best, with less nozzle clogging. The majority of people are not bothered by the vapors, but as with most products of this nature, it is recommended to use it in a well ventilated area.

A: It will take approximately 15 – 45 minutes for it to dry to a smooth, black finish. To ensure complete transformation of rusty surfaces, apply a second coat.

A: To ensure complete transformation of rusty surfaces, always apply a second coat. Although you do not have to paint after the Rust Converter application, if you would like a different color other than black then use an oil based paint which will also resist weather, sunlight, rain and even salt spray without peeling or cracking.

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Q: Do I need to apply a primer over a Rust Converter before I paint? Rust Converter is an excellent primer for use under all oil-based paints.

A: The application equipment should be cleaned immediately with soap and hot water. There may be a chance of contamination to the remaining Rust Converter in the container.

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