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Sunday, February 5, 2023

How to Remove Rust From Porcelain

Learn how to clean rust from porcelain using simple household ingredients! 

Have you ever overlooked something because it was dirty and rusty? 

The other week, I bought a collection of antique porcelain fence insulators for a future holiday project. 

They were coated in a fair amount of rust, but since I don't come across porcelain insulators often,  I took the chance of being able to remove the unwanted rust.

Thankfully, I was able to remove the majority of the rust with the help of a few common household ingredients and a little elbow grease.

how to remove rust from porcelain


- Lemon or lime juice (I used lime because that's what I had on hand)
- Baking Soda
- Stiff bristle toothbrush
- Warm Water
- Bowl 


Porcelain is a hard material but is still susceptible to scratching.  To avoid causing damage, a pumice stone and hard bristle toothbrush are best to use for cleaning and removing rust.

Keep in mind that smooth, flat surfaces will be much easier to clean.  Unfortunately, the porcelain insulators I needed to clean had turned details that made it much more difficult to reach with a pumice stone.  

rusty vintage porcelain insulators

rusty porcelain insulators

STEP ONE: Add a generous amount of baking soda to rusty areas.

adding baking soda to rusty porcelain

STEP TWO: Pour lemon (or lime) juice over the baking soda.

adding lime juice to clean porcelain

STEP THREE: Scrub baking soda and lemon/lime juice into porcelain with a toothbrush and/or pumice stone. 

If using a pumice stone, it's best to wet the pumice stone FIRST to avoid causing damage to the porcelain.

removing rust from porcelain

STEP FOUR:  Rinse porcelain with warm water 

Rinse porcelain under warm running water to remove the lemon/lime juice, baking soda, and rust mixture.  Repeat the process to remove leftover stubborn rust stains. 

***TIP*** I found it helpful to pour the lime juice directly over the leftover rusty areas and let it soak a bit before repeating the process and scrubbing again.  

cleaned and rust free porcelain

I wasn't able to get the insulators perfectly clean, but I love how the remaining rust adds a bit of age and character.  I cleaned about a third of the insulators before calling it quits and taking a break. 

turning porcelain insulators into a necklace

Instead of mixing the clean insulators with the dirty rusty ones, I decided to string the clean ones together to make a chunky necklace/vintage home decor for my office. 

cleaned porcelain insulators

porcelain insulator decor

how to remove rust from porcelain

Being able to clean the rust from the porcelain insulators was a huge relief!  Turning them into a unique and unexpected necklace and a fun pop of vintage texture for my office was an added bonus.

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how to remove rust from porcelain

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  1. I love how you used those insulators! That mannequin looks great with her fancy necklace :)