Rust is one of those things that forms when metal is left exposed to the elements for a prolonged period of time, particularly moisture like rain, snow and dew. You’ll notice that a moist metal surface will oxidize before corrosion shows itself as discolored and peeling, flaky patches—this is rust. Or course, the best way to prevent rust is to protect metal surfaces from the rain, but this is not always possible. For instance, you may have a lack of adequate storage space, or your machinery may have broken down out in the field just before a rainy period.
So what should you do if you encounter rust? It’s easy enough to order a ton of commercially produced rust remover solution, but if you’re in the agricultural industry, you need to be cautious about how you remove rust from farm machinery and equipment, because you want to avoid contaminating your field crop with poisonous, toxic products. Here are a few natural ways to remove rust from cotton picker parts without using harsh chemicals:
- Use abrasive tools: Since there’s rust somewhere on your machinery, thin flakes of chafing metal are likely to be present, as well as a classic reddish-brown substance. Whether the metal is rusted deep or the rust is only just forming, these flakes should be rubbed off prior to cleaning. Simply take a rough tool—like steel wool, a lump of tin foil, sandpaper or a rust-free wire brush—and scrub the rust away.
- Use a baking soda paste: Many homeowners are familiar with the cleaning power of baking soda, but not everyone knows that it’s also great for eliminating rust. Mix baking soda with water to create a paste mixture thick enough to adhere to the rusted surface. Apply to the problem area and let it sit for several minutes. Now, use one of the aforementioned abrasive tools and scrub. Wipe off any remaining paste to see if you need to repeat the process.
- Use white vinegar: Your cotton picker parts may benefit from a cleansing white vinegar bath to remove rust. Like baking soda, pure white vinegar is a common household cleaning product that’s both cheap and natural, in that it does not contain toxic chemicals. To use, pour over spots of rust on metal surfaces or screws, bolts or joints and make sure to rinse well with water. Note that since vinegar is acidic enough to dissolve rust, that also means it’s strong enough to damage metal, so you must rinse thoroughly.
- Use a potato slice: Here’s one you might not know about: you can actually use a slice of potato to remove rust from your farm equipment. This method is better for smaller rust spots or hard to reach spaces—like in between close joints—and it’s even good for preventing small areas of rust from spreading. Although the potato’s oxalic acid is enough to help dissolve rust, you can boost its efficiency by sprinkling a little salt or baking soda onto the slice, and then rubbing it all over the rusted spot.
If you are in the market for replacement cotton picker parts or parts for a cotton harvester rebuild, or if you need tips about maintaining your equipment, contact the team at Certi-Pik, USA before looking anywhere else.