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How to Rust Galvanized Steel

How to Rust Galvanized Steel

Rust can be a beautiful addition to many metal surfaces, giving them character and visual interest. However, if you are working with galvanized steel, rusting it can be a tricky process. This blog post will discuss the proper steps for rusting galvanized steel to achieve the desired effect without damaging the material.

Rust Prevention or Removal?

The first step is to decide whether you want to prevent rust from forming on your galvanized steel or remove any existing rust. If you are starting with new, unrusted galvanized steel, you can use a rust prevention product, such as WD-40 Multi-Use Product or 3M Anti-Rust Spray Coating, to protect the surface from corrosion and oxidation. These products will help seal out moisture and create an invisible shield that will prevent rust from forming.

Removing Existing Rust

If you already have some rust on your galvanized steel surface, then you will need to use an abrasive material like sandpaper or steel wool to remove it before proceeding with the next step. This will help ensure that all of the old rust is removed from the surface so that it doesn’t interfere with the results of the rusting process. Before beginning this process, it is also important to ensure that all traces of oil and grease are removed from the surface.

Creating A Rusty Patina

Once any existing rust has been removed and all traces of oil and grease have been eliminated from your galvanized steel object’s surface, you can create a rusty patina on its surface. To do this, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with one part white vinegar in a shallow bowl or large container for your project piece to fit comfortably. Submerge your project piece into this mixture and allow it to sit for approximately 12 hours; then remove it and rinse any remaining solution with clean water. Once dry, your project piece should be covered in a layer of beautiful iron oxide (rust).


Rust has a unique charm that makes objects look more vintage and adds character to plain metal surfaces. When done correctly, rusting galvanized steel can transform an ordinary item into something truly special. By following these simple steps—determining whether you need prevention or removal, removing existing rust, and submerging your project piece in a hydrogen peroxide/vinegar solution—you should be able to easily create a gorgeous rusty patina on any galvanized steel object!

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