More Rust Removal Notes

Ok I've recieved an email, thank you Connie, and the question is: "OK I tried your method but there's still rust on the surface"!  Now what?

Good question!  Here is a partial copy of my email reply:

Is it heavily crusted on the fabric? I left mine overnight in order to remove rust, it doesn't remove all of it, from the fabric, I should have clarified that in my orignal post. For the heavily crusted fabric I did the direct method and NOTE I ended up with holes where the baking soda really went to town, something else I forgot to mention that might happen - my bad!

Also water type may play a role in this, doesn't it always. What is your water's pH? Sometimes a little soda ash helps to get the pH closer to 7.5, which is what you will need to budge the rust off the surface.

AGAIN it may not remove ALL of the rust off the surface. My goal for removing rust from the fabrics surface wasn't so much to remove the color as it was to help those who had rather stiff fabrics, due to rust build up, so that they could stitch the fabric with ease.

I'll post pictures tomorrow of the rust removal direct method - I have lots of holes to share but my fabric is supple again, which makes stitching a joy.

Rust Dyed Fabric

Time and time again I'm called out publically on why I advocate using baking soda to neutralize my rust dyed fabrics! Here's my "edited response"

... rinse in baking soda solution once a year [Edited] Synthropol does NOTHING to stop the rusting process! If you'd like to slow it down and I can certainly understand wanting to do so then neutralize it once a year with a baking soda solution! That is why I recommend this step is because you are neutralizing the acids on the fabrics surface.

In conservation if we want to stop or remove "foxing" which most would see as either a rust spot or something akin to a scorch mark then we neutralize the piece or area with a baking soda solution. First the piece is washed in a pH neutral soap and if that doesn't remove the spot and removal is necessary then we use baking soda solution. Foxing is typically caused by linens etc., that come into contact with high acid woods such as cedar, pine, oak, etc., when they are stored in hope chests, dresser drawers, etc.

Some of us, that would be me, are eagerly anticipating the deconstruction of our pieces due to the rusting and composting processes.

If your piece is not too heavily rusted then and you want it on your bed then I say go for it! Just remember that anything it comes into contact with may also start to rust over time.

Yes your rusted piece will continue to rust, and eventually holes may appear in the fabric. NOTE that this all depends on where you live as in how high your relative humidity is etc. Rusted fabric in say Louisana will have a much shorter life, due to the high humidity, than say rusted fabric that lives in Utah or Arizona where the humidity is around 20-30% year round.

You can slow down the rusting process, though you will never stop the process entirely, by neutralizing the fabric with a baking soda solution. You can apply the solution once or twice a year depending on where you live. Those of you living in the desert may never have to do this step.

I recommend 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 gallon warm water. Dissolve well and apply by either spritzing the fabric with the solution using a spray bottle or by direct immersion of the piece.

A Rust Dyeing Visual

Lay out fabric to be rusted most any fabric and surface WILL rust so be sure to protect your work area with a plastic drop cloth!

Arrange rusty objects into a pleasing pattern.

Spritz with vinegar

Cover with plastic 24 hours, the plastic keeps the fabric and rusty areas moist.

Remove plastic to check progress, if desired rewet and cover again for darker richer markings.