I have some outdoor metal chairs that have a few rust spots and the paint is chipping in a number of places. I'm looking for the best way to clean off the rust and paint so I can repaint them.

  • 1
    Do you want to strip the paint completely or just clean up the chipped parts?
    – Niall C.
    Aug 3, 2011 at 15:04
  • Whatever would be fast, easy, and cheap.
    – Jason
    Aug 3, 2011 at 15:38

3 Answers 3


I would try a wire brush first. Either a hand model or a rotary one that would fit into your power drill may do the trick. You can also get small toothbrush size wire brushes to get into the small spots. Good Luck

  • +1 The rotary brushes get my vote, let the power tool do the work for you. Just wear eye protection and a dust mask.
    – BMitch
    Aug 3, 2011 at 21:52
  • Yeah, expect the power brush will typically move too fast to get in the crevasses. That'll be the limiting factor. May 28, 2020 at 16:35

They make spray paint designed to go on "right over the rust". A wire brush to get off any loose flaking paint and rust, then spray away. Rustoleum is one brand, but basically if you go to the hardware store, find the paint area, then look around for shelves full of spray cans, you will hit the jackpot. Read the label to be sure, but if the word Rust is in the name, generally you don't need to strip the old paint and you don't need to worry about rust that isn't forming large flakes and half falling off.

  • That's what we did with our outdoor metal table and chairs. Used a wire brush to smooth the rust spots and then used the Rustoleum textured paint. The texture helps hide the imperfect spots where there's chipping or rust and the furniture looks brand new. Get a "spray grip" if you use aerosol cans. Easier to control the paint and won't fatigue your fingers.
    – billoreid
    Aug 4, 2011 at 15:15

You could use a grinder with a heavy grit sandpaper to remove the paint and the rust. If the rust is not that deep, you might be able to use a pressure washer with a high psi nossle. That will remove the paint and loose rust spot very well. For the spots of rust that are too deep, you might be able to use a rustolium primer to paint on it first after the cleaning then paint it.

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