To me, there is nothing more exciting than a barn find of a car that hasn’t seen the light of day for many years. Usually, the previous owner has long passed away and the vehicle was inherited where it was stored. This can mean finding a gem in the rough before someone else has the chance to fully restore it to its former glory. One of the biggest issues is the amount of rust that can be accumulated over so many years of neglect.
I recently found a safe and environmentally friendly method to remove deep rust from metal. The method is to soak the metal part in 9 parts water and 1 part molasses for a couple of weeks. This solution is completely natural and eco-friendly. To prevent further oxidation a coating of primer should be applied.
Sounds simple, and believe me I was skeptical at first, but now I’m a believer. One of the greatest things about using this soaking method is that fragile parts that would have been destroyed by previous methods like sandblasting, can now be restored.
This passive method of removing rust from metal can take even longer if the rust is really bad. This method typically takes two weeks but really bad rust can take an extra week. You will know when it is done when you can scrape the rust off with a hard or wire brush.
Some work is required to scrub off the remaining rust that did not come off in the sweet bath. After all the rust is brushed off, it just needs to be rinsed in order to get any other residue off. Once dried, a preventive coating should be applied so that the rust doesn’t build on the metal again like POR-15 metal prep.
If you have ever dealt with older vehicles from the ’60s or earlier, you know that they love to use curves in the details. It can be a real pain to try and replicate the original contours, so if you can, try to retain the original part with minor touch-ups. The amount of time and money that can be saved by this rust removal hack is huge.
I’m a huge fan of trucks from the ’30s thru to the ’50s, there’s just so much more personality in them. These have been more popular recently and can fetch a high price once they are fully restored. There is still barn finds out there for those vehicles that have a blown engine and are engulfed in rust. The blown engine usually scares off most potential buyers, but these can be great for an EV conversion.
Another good thing about this soaking method is that it can be scaled to any size, and it is only limited to the size of a container. If you have a large enough container you can put in the entire frame. The only trouble is keeping track of when certain parts went into the bath.
There are a couple of drawbacks to this though. It can attract wildlife if left uncovered, just like you might attract deer to a certain area with deer molasses. After learning about this I started searching for a place where I could get a good amount of molasses. Since the most common use is for baking, it is usually found in smaller quantities. The exception is for deer molasses which is the same thing just in a larger container for hunters to use as bait. I have found this 1-gallon jug of molasses from Amazon for a good price.
The next drawback is that the mixture will likely last for six months which will spoil due to stagnant water. At this point, there will most likely be mold and some other bacteria growing in there. Since it is eco-friendly you can dump it in your yard without any contamination issues.
You can get your jug of molasses from Amazon, they really do have the best price.
Here is a video showing the molasses mixture to remove rust from a metal part that looked too far gone.