How to Get Rust Out of Cast Iron With Vinegar and Alfalfa Cubes

If you want to bring rusted cast iron items back to life, try a simple remedy of vinegar and alfalfa cubes. These ingredients will take the rust off any metal object without damaging or scratching it. An alfalfa cube, commonly used for feeding horses, is basically alfalfa compressed in a cubic shape. Alongside vinegar, this little gizmo works as a potent rust remover.

Things You’ll Need

  • Plastic tub or barrel
  • Package of alfalfa cubes
  • Gallon of vinegar
  • 1/2 gallon of water
  • Piece of cloth
  • Sponge
  • Steel brush


  1. Get a tub or plastic barrel based on the size of the object you will work with. If it is, for example, a set of utensils, a medium-sized tub will be enough. If the object you want to take the rust out of is a pan or a candlestick, you’ll need a bigger tub. Choosing the right container is essential, since you’ll want to let your metal object soak completely. If you’re not able to find a large enough container, you can also soak parts of the piece in 24 hour turns.
  2. Put a layer of alfalfa cubes on the bottom of the plastic tub or barrel. Make sure it fills the whole surface of the container you’re using. Put object you’ll work with on top of this layer.
  3. Cover everything with boiled water. Since the cleaning solution consists of two parts vinegar and one part water, make sure you know how much water you pour in first. Add the appropriate amount of vinegar immediately after the water.
  4. Put the tub in a cool place and let it rest for 24 hours. If the object you put is too rusted, it’ll probably take the solution a few more hours to have a complete effect.
  5. Remove the object from the tub. The solution will have loosened the rust. Scrub the item with a steel brush to remove the remaining rust.

Tips & Warnings

  • If after the 24-hour period you decide to let the object soak for more time, check every two hours to see if the solution has loosened the rust.
  • Never let the object stay submerged in the tub more than 48 hours; vinegar can dissolve iron and thus damage your object.
  • Use rubber gloves, as vinegar can be highly corrosive to skin.



How to Get Rust Out of Cast Iron With Vinegar and Alfalfa Cubes — 3 Comments

    • As I’ve been told it enhances the acidic effect of the vinegar. I’m not a chemist but I do know this works. It’s a little cumbersome with large pots as you need a container large enough to hold the iron and allow it to be completely submerged in the solution.

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