How to Remove Rust Metal – Upcycled Pulley

If you ever google ‘how to remove rust metal’, you’ll find all sorts of advice for how to remove rust. Today we’re upcycling an old metal pulley and showing you an easy and environmentally friendly way to remove rust without scrubbing. In addition, it won’t harm or weaken the metal.

How to Remove Rust on Metal

Find a container large enough to fit the pulley.

Rusty metal pulley in black plastic container ready for How to Remove Rust Metal treatmentWe’re using a product called Evapo-Rust.

Bottle of Evaporators-Rust to use on pulley for How to Remove Rust Metal

Rust remover

Watch this Video!

Got 3 minutes? It’s the most informative 3 minutes of learning you’ll spend today 😉!

It’s time for another Creative Craft blog hop! So if you are visiting from Donna at Modern on Monticello welcome! At the very bottom of this post, I’ll be directing you to the next stop on this venture. But don’t forget to check out the other stops too because you’ll find plenty more ideas. Be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

Creative craft hop graphic

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What is Evapo-Rust?

Evapo-Rust is a water-based rust remover that can restore rusty treasures without any sanding or scrubbing. Yes, please! The less work, the better! Check out their web site to see the amazing transformation of a milk jug, just like our milk can decor!

Benefits of Evapo-Rust

Evapo-Rust checks off so many boxes when it comes to upcycling our metal pieces. Hubs used to have access to a sandblaster, but that can pit metal if you’re not careful. So these days, we think this is the best way to remove rust from metal.

Who doesn’t love finding products that work miracles? There’s plenty of examples on our blog, like how to get smell out of old furniture, how to remove tarnish from silver and how to remove sticky label from glass! When you need miracle products, you really can’t live without them. What about you? Is there a product(s) you feel the same way about? Leave us a comment to let us know!

How to De-Rust Metal

We put the container with the metal pulley into a sink and pour on the entire contents. But don’t worry; Evaporators-Rust is reusable.

Pouring bottle of evaporations-rust over pulling in sink

Even with using what we had, it didn’t quite cover the vintage pulley. So we’re going to let it soak on one side and then flip it around.

Submerged vintage metal pulley in black container in sink

How to remove rust

To keep the product from evaporating, we put some cardboard into a plastic bag and then put it over top to act as a lid.

Placing cardboard over container of Evapo-Rust

You can clearly see the product working on the portion that was submerged, while the other side is turning dark again, as cast iron should look.

As we flip it around to do the other side, you can see one side is still rusty.

Hand pulling farm pulley out of evaporations-rust

How to remove rust from large metal objects

Submerge the other side.

Turning the metal pulley for How to Remove Rust Metal

The best way to remove rust from metal

We noticed black coming off on the metal. The black film is likely carbon migration from the steel (it may be an indication that we soaked the metal too long before flipping around, so keep a close eye on the progress). However, this doesn’t harm or weaken the metal.

Black fingers from touching the metal pulley in the liquid

Again, we covered it and wrote a note so we’d remember it was turned! Don’t soak longer than necessary. Once the rust is gone, you should rinse and dry your item right away.

Cardboard with note that pulley was turned in the evapo-rust

Rinse off

Then, just give the metal a rinse and Evapo-Rust is ready to reuse again if you need to de-rust another item.

Rinsing the metal pulley under the tap for How to Remove Rust Metal

Once an item is de-rusted, Hubs likes to spray the metal with clear coat, like he did for my vintage iron collection you see below. This really isn’t necessary; it’s a personal preference.

Along with the irons, you can see we have another metal pulley on the top shelf. For this one, we stopped the rust from progressing with a clear rust product and kept the rusty colour. Rust can be lovely as-is.

Vintage iron display in studio beside a glass cabinet with thread

But I think my little card catalogue needs a little cast iron somethin’ somethin’ to spruce it up too! And we have just the thing!

How to Remove Rust Metal complete; metal pulley staged with air plants sitting atop a card catalogue

Pulley DIY

Metal Pulley Before and After

Here’s a reminder of the before:

Metal pulley before How to Remove Rust Metal

I think the de-rusted black metal against the green air plants is a knock out combination. Of course, I think any upcycle that displays air plants is a winner. Just browse our other air plant decor ideas to see what I mean!

Close up of after How to Remove Rust Metal displayed with air plants

Sometimes I think our motto should be ‘just add air plants’ instead of ‘feathering the nest, one upcycle at a time’ 🤣.

How to de-rust metal reveal

Want more planter ideas? Check out these amazing upcycled planters!

Pin How to Remove Rust Metal

Pinnable image for how to remove rust metal

Creative Craft Hop

Now it’s time to check out the St. Patrck’s Day Garland from Niki at Life as a LEO Wife. When you’re done, please remember to visit these other amazing talents below:

32 thoughts on “How to Remove Rust Metal – Upcycled Pulley

  1. Wow Sara, I didn’t know there was such a miracle product available to remove rust, that is really amazing! The pulley looks so cute holding the plants, very creative display! Thanks so much for the crafty fun today!

    • It really is amazing! My husband discovered it when he started repairing and restoring old sewing machines.

  2. Sara, I can always count on you providing useful information on whatever project you’re sharing. I’ll certainly keep Evapo-Rust in mind to remove rust. It’s great that you can use it over again. I love how you used the pulley to display your air plants. It’s a quite unique look that would definitely be a conversation starter!

    • It is such a simple project; I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen it on Pinterest before lol

  3. I never heard of Evapo Rust, I have several pieces that I have painted but the rust bleeds through. I am going to have to look for this product. Thanks for sharing. Your pulley plant holder is so cute!

    • If you’re ever wanting to paint, there are some great primers you can put on before you paint that lock it in and prevent the rust from spreading. Have you tried some of those?

  4. Sara, what a great product and your pulley looks fabulous as a repurposed planter–pinned! Thanks for hosting us! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

    • Thanks Tammy! We’re always looking for interesting ways to display our air plants. We love these vintage pieces; they’re so unique.

  5. Good to know Sara, and it turned out really well. But that small drawer box steals the show lol. I want it!! Beautiful collection you have created here.

    • We love card catalogues around here; I’m so lucky to have 3 of them for my craft stash. All those drawers are ideal to store small things that would otherwise cause clutter!

  6. That looks so easy! The finished pulley looks great with the air plants in them. Thanks for the idea! Pinned.
    Niki | Life as a LEO Wife

    • Thank you Niki! I love a simple upcycle; I need to do more of these 🙂

  7. I love how you decorated your pulley using air plants! Very creative and unique. It’s always nice learning about new products. The final result was definitely worth the wait time for the magic to happen.

    • We didn’t even notice the wait time because all we had to do was pour it in the container and come back to check it lol. Probably the most effortless project we’ve done and a lovely addition to our decor 🙂

  8. Looks like it worked great. The pully makes a nice piece of décor. Thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 100.

    • The air plants are pretty happy there! Thanks so much for stopping by Dee 🙂

  9. What an amazing product for removing rust and the end result looks awesome!

    • We’re so happy with how it turned out! Never would’ve imagined it could look so good again!

  10. Wow Sara, what incredible results! I am excited to learn how to do this. Thank you for sharing on the Home Imagined Link Party. Have a great week.

  11. I am in love with your cabinet and treasures! The pulley turned out wonderful, and you have it staged perfectly. Thank you for sharing with Whimsy Home Wednesday.

    • My pleasure Cara; thanks so much for stopping by to let me know 🙂

  12. I really thought this old pulley was spray painted at first. But leave it to you to come up with a way to make them prime-time authentic! WAY better! What a fab piece!

    • Ha, I fooled you lol. Thanks so much for featuring it Donna!

  13. That’s really cool! Not just for crafty things but for my garden tools too. I’m visiting from Create With Joy’s Friendship Friday. I’m going to click around for a bit.

    • Awesome; it’s actually great for garden tools! Thanks for visiting; hope you find some inspiration.

  14. Sara – I had no idea you could remove rust in this fashion. I definitely learned something new today. I love how you used the pulley for your air plants. A perfect combination! Thank you for sharing this post on the Home Imagined Link party.

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