Enjoying a warm spring afternoon or evening in your backyard is exactly what this time of the year is made for! But if you haven’t cleaned your rusty patio furniture yet, you should probably get on it. Luckily, you don’t have to go searching for the best rust removing product at the store or most likely buy anything at all. Simply check your fridge and grab a bottle of ketchup to shine your patio furniture!
Does cleaning with something you dip your French fries in seem too weird? Especially since it’s so messy? We thought the same thing at first, but it’s much cheaper and less hazardous than a traditional rust remover. Plus, it really works wonders to peel away any built-up rust and grime from your favorite outdoor chairs or tables without any chemicals.
Why Metal Patio Furniture Rusts
Metal, iron, and copper’s natural reaction to oxygen is to rust, which is why it so often occurs on patio furniture that is exposed to outdoor elements like air and wind. And when the tarnishing process begins, it’s next to impossible to simply scrub it off the surface.
If you find yourself with rusty furniture, you may reach for a commercial rust cleaner. But these often contain harmful chemicals that aren’t safe to breath in or if you accidentally get it on your skin. According to Bobvila.com, you should wear protective eyewear, rubber gloves, and full-coverage clothing if you go this route, but that kind of prep sounds like you’re doing a larger home renovation more than a simple cleanup!
Using ketchup, on the other hand, is a risk-free way of getting the job done. The acid from the tomatoes wicks away any rust from the surface — it can even be used to polish your most prized copper pots and pans! Plus, you’re almost always going to have a bottle in your fridge or pantry. So rather than guessing which pricey product will remove rust from your patio furniture, go with the more reliable option: ketchup!
How to Remove Rust Using Ketchup
First, move any furniture cushions to the side to avoid staining them — you might also want to put a tarp or something down to prevent a mess. Then squeeze at least one cup of ketchup into a bowl (you can always squirt more into into it if you run out). Grab a paint brush (Buy on Amazon, $5.95) and apply a coat of the ketchup onto each piece of furniture until the rusty areas are completed covered.
The experts at Hometalk tested this hack on a brass cup. They suggest letting the ketchup sit on the material for 40 minutes. This resting time also applies if your patio furniture is made from any other metal or iron material. After it’s done sitting, rinse each piece off using a garden hose and watch as the ketchup removes the stuck-on rust right before your eyes.
You can see how well it works in the video below!
At this stage, if you want to make sure that your furniture pieces don’t have any residual spots of ketchup left on them, Gardening Etc. recommends using a bucket of warm soapy water and a soft fiber cloth to wipe it down. Once you’ve scrubbed the surface, allow the soap and water to sit for a few minutes before hosing it down again. Now you can leave each chair or table to dry on its own and then they’re ready for lounging with a cold drink in hand with the sunny spring weather as a backdrop.
This easy hack will make your patio furniture sparkle like new without requiring a ton of elbow grease. Try it out for an afternoon cleaning project during the week so that your weekend can be spent in the backyard soaking up the sun!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.
First For Women aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. Questions? Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org