Accumulation of rust most often occurs on bolts and screws that are subjected to moisture, as well as the weather. So, you are going to find stuck, rusty fasteners most often on automobile parts, lawnmowers, fishing boats, and the like. The biggest problem with rust on bolts and screws is that it can make their removal very difficult.
One reason is that if the rust gets on the threads, then it can create a solid fusion that is practically impossible to break. The second reason is, if the rust just covers the heads of bolts and screws, it can eat away the metal, making it difficult to get a firm grip on the fastener in order to remove it.
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can remove the rust from stuck bolts and screws so that you can unscrew them:
- You can purchase a bottle of common penetrating oil at most hardware stores. Then, coat the head of the bolts and the screws with a squirt or two of the oil. If you can get to the threaded shafts, coat them with the penetrating oil too. Let them sit undisturbed for a while, then try to chip the rust away with a small chisel and a ball-peen hammer. If the rust still won’t budge, apply a heavy coating of the penetrating oil and let the fasteners set overnight. Then, try to remove the rust again.
- Instead of visiting their local hardware store, some people purchase a rust remover from their local grocer instead. This remover is in the form of diet cola. Any diet cola that contains phosphoric acid can do an effective job of removing rust from most any type of metal, including stuck bolts and screws. Diet COKE is said to work the best because it reportedly contains the largest amount of phosphoric acid. To use diet cola, simply pour it onto the stuck bolts and screws. Then, wipe the rust off with a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil.
- Or, you can purchase a bottle of hydrogen peroxide at your local drug store. Pour a liberal amount of the peroxide onto the rusty bolts and screws. Let it sit undisturbed for a while, and let its bubbly action work on the rust. Then scrub the rust off with a stiff brush.
- An old-time remedy for removing rust, especially off of bolts and screws, is to use a plain white potato. Skin the potato first, then dip an end of it in baking soda. Rub the rust with the end, and keep dipping it into the baking soda from time to time. The natural chemicals in the potato, along with the baking soda, should successfully remove the rust.
- You can also try using a very fine grade of sandpaper attached to a sandpaper block on stuck bolts and screws. Sand the rust off of the tops and around the sides. Finally, if you can reach the threads, sand them clean of rust too. Remove the stuck bolts and screws, but be sure to coat them liberally with petroleum jelly before you reinsert them.
- If you first scrape off the loose rust with a stiff wire brush, you can then pour a liberal amount of full-strength vinegar on the stuck bolts and screws. Then, use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar, and then dipped in baking soda, to scrub the remainder of the rust off. If the rust is stubborn, you can shake some baking soda on the bolts and screws, then cover them with some soda, and let it sit undisturbed for awhile. Then, try to remove the rust again.
- When nothing else removes the rust from stuck bolts and screws, you can always try the heat method. Applying heat to the fasteners will actually cause the metal to expand. The expansion can break the fusion that the rust has made with the metal. You can use a propane torch or a heat gun to do this, as long as there is nothing flammable nearby. It will take several minutes to heat the bolts and screws. Then, use a screwdriver or a wrench to loosen it up. Finally, use a stiff wire brush to remove the loosened rust.