I would usually go with CLR and think it's worth every cent at that, but for reasons that are beyond the scope of this question, I am expected to justify every purchase necessary, especially chemicals and everything else a good god fearing carpenter might feel a need for but may raise eyebrows.

I found lemon juice does an OK job, basically I want to get all the rust off all the old screws and bolts in a pile of junk, I'm not exactly planning an Apollo mission here so they will do just as good as new.

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    Painter here. There isn't really an effective way to remove rust chemically, short of pickling or electrolysis, which require harsh chemicals. Assuming that's outside your range, anything you do is little more than a feel-good measure, and it won't hold over time. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 16 '19 at 1:23
  • Yeah I see what you mean it's just for putting up some shelving in the tool shed so I know they are going to rust anyway I'll just have to mark them as non to min load bearing I guess – Adam Jul 16 '19 at 1:30
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    CLR contains phosphoric acid, which reacts with iron oxide (rust) to form a black material which does not peel like rust does ... coca cola contains phosphoric acid, so you can use that also – jsotola Jul 16 '19 at 2:26
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    yeah I guess the logic does prevail there lol everyday at the 7 11 I get a six pack of it and claim to be a social justice civil rights activist working to get the original formula for coca cola back to the public so sanity and good order can be restored in our societies – Adam Jul 16 '19 at 5:03

Citric acid (dry, found at food stores - I get mine at the "asian market" as I have not spotted it at the normal supermarket) is actually a lot cheaper than lemon juice (or vinegar) (when mixed with water to an equivalent strength, or even quite a bit stronger) and fairly good at removing rust without eating the steel after that (I know antique tool users who mostly use it now, rather than electrolysis, which used to be all the rage.)

Rinse, dry quickly (or they rust again immediately) and coat with oil or wax (to slow re-rusting by displacing moisture.) Rinsing with very hot water will help with the drying step to some extent.

  • yeah nice I forgot about acetic acid I actually have that I also shortlisted coca cola which says a lot about my life style choices diet wise if im honest with myself – Adam Jul 16 '19 at 1:55

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