How to Remove Rust with A Wire Brush – The Easy Way

One downside of working with metals is that you constantly have to deal with rust. Rust usually appears on metal that has been left in the open for too long or that has been kept in a humid condition. It makes your metal brittle and if not removed timely and properly, renders that particular piece of metal completely useless. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can remove rust, such as grinding, wire brushing, and sanding.

Wire brushes are one of the best ways to remove rust from your metal as they are way faster than sanding and not as aggressive as grinding, meaning that you won’t accidentally damage the metal.

Let us look at how to remove rust with a wire brush so that you won’t have to deal with brittle and damaged metal anymore.

How to Remove Rust with A Wire Brush: The DIY Way

A masked man removing rust with a wire brush

If you ask any metalworker, “what the best way is to remove rust from metal?”, chances are that almost all of them will reply that it is using a wire brush.

The reason behind their preference for wire brushes is that although the wire brush leaves swirl marks on the surface of metals, it doesn’t scrape or gouge tougher metals such as carbon steel or iron. So you can use them without worries. All you need to do after using a wire brush is to repaint and refinish the metal and it will be as good as new.

Now that we have learned the usefulness of a wire brush, let us then take a look at how to use a wire brush to remove dust.

How Do You Use A Wire Brush in Rust?

For removing rust from your iron or carbon steel by using a wire brush, there are a few steps you need to follow. They are:

1. Preparing the Metal

Before you do anything with a wire brush, you must first prepare the affected metal for the procedure. To do this, use WD40 to spray and soak the area that has been affected by rust for quite a long time. You must repeat the process for hours because the longer you take doing this, the better result you will obtain.

Then take a handheld wire brush and scrub the surface to gauge the severity of the problem you are facing. Also, many times, manually scrubbing the metal surface with a wire brush after applying WD40 will take care of the problem if there is only a little rust on the surface.

2. Grinding

If the rust can not be dealt with manually scrubbing, you have to use your grinder. Before using the grinder, put your protective goggles on and grind the areas most affected. Be very careful while grinding, because although this process will get rid of the bigger chunks of rust very quickly, it can also break metal parts. You will have very little metal left to work with if you are not careful.

3. Using A Wire Brush

Now use any kind of wire brush attachment on the drill or grinder you are using and start applying it to the surface of the metal slowly. If you have an angle grinder, you can easily attach a wire brush attachment to it, because wire brush attachments in angle grinders work very fast with high RPMs provided you know how to use it properly.

But the easiest and more importantly the simplest way to remove rust is to attach the wire brush to a cordless drill of between 18 to 20 volts.

While using the wire brush, use it at an angle of 15 degrees. Also, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT apply excess pressure on the drill as doing so can damage the metal.

Before using the wire brush, it is better to apply a little oil or WD40 to the brush for lubrication and sparking reduction. This will also result in the wire brush lasting longer.

4. Sanding the Metal

As I have mentioned earlier, wire brushes tend to leave swirl marks on the surface of the metal. To get rid of these marks, you need to use your sander. Take sander to work up and through the grits. Repeat the process as long as you don’t obtain a surface that is as smooth as you want.

Also Read: How to Pick A Wire Wheel for Rust Removal.

Precautions You Need to Take While Using A Wire Brush

As with any power tool, you must take precautions while using the wire brush attachments. They are :

  • Always wear protective goggles as chunks of metal can fly into your unprotected eye.
  • Never put too much force behind the drill while using wire brushes.
  • Using a wire brush on softer metals like copper, brass, silver, gold, and even aluminum use even less force. Otherwise, the metal will be damaged permanently.
  • Use the drill at an angle to get the best use out of the wire brush.

Using Wire Hand Brushes to Remove Rust


Can I use a wire brush to remove rust from a car?

Yes, a wire brush can remove rust from a car, but it is important to use a gentle wire brush to avoid damaging the paint.

Is the wire brush suitable for all types of rust?

The wire brush is suitable for only some types of rust. It is best used for rust that is not too far advanced and is not embedded in the metal.

How do I clean a wire brush after use?

A wire brush should be cleaned with a mixture of water and detergent. It is important to rinse the brush thoroughly to avoid any contamination.

What safety precautions should I take when using a wire brush to remove rust?

Protecting your eyes, skin, and lungs when using a wire brush to remove rust is important. Wear safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask, and always keep the wire brush away from your face and body.

Final Words

For metalworkers, rust is a very big problem. If you are one of them, I’m sure you are constantly looking out for an easy and efficient way to get rid of rust in your metal. Now that you have learned how to remove rust with a wire brush, I am sure you have found your answer. So, hurry up and get a wire brush attachment for your drill and relieve yourself of all the stress that has been caused due to the rust in your iron or steel.

You May Also Like:

How to Choose A Grinding Disc for Rust Removal.

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