How to Remove Rust from a Muffin Tin

It’s been a while since I’ve done a tutorial, and since I was playing around with different things this weekend, I thought I’d show you guys what I learned.

Here’s my old, rusty muffin tin. It looks really gross right now. I was thinking about throwing it away and simply buying a new one, but Chris and I are on a tight budget, and we can’t afford to buy a new muffin tin right now.

original pan

Here’s the bottom of the pan so you can see what the original color looked like.

original bottom color

As you can see, the original pan was fairly dark to begin with, but not as dark as the top is right now. This is years and years of rust–this pan has been in the apartment longer than I’ve been married to Chris.

So, I decided to do a little online searching to see what would remove rust. The most common answer was baking soda – but no one really specified how much baking soda to use, how long I should let it sit, and whether it worked best with a little bit of water or completely dry.

I did my own experimenting to find out.

What You Need

This technique to remove rust doesn’t require a lot of outside tools other than yourself and a lot of elbow grease. However, you will need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Steel Wool or Rough Cloth

I used generic off-brand baking soda and I’m not sure if Arm & Hammer is more effective. Also, I think a proper steel wool brush might have given me better results, but I had to make due with a rough cloth.

My First Attempt

The first time I attempted this, I sprinkled baking soda over the entire pan (since the entire pan is rusty, not just a few corners here and there). I want to say this is about two teaspoons worth of baking soda, but I’m not sure. I had just washed the pan, so the pan was slightly damp when I sprinkled on the soda – this helped the soda stick to the pan.

covered in baking-soda

I left the baking soda on for about 30 minutes, and then attacked it with a steel wool brush. Unfortunately, the steel wool brush I was using didn’t do a very good job at getting inside the muffin tin, and the steel wool wasn’t that great to begin with. I ended up swapping the brush in favor of a really rough old cloth.

Here’s what it looked like after I was finished scrubbing.

after first round

As you can see, the pan is just a shade lighter. I’m not sure why, but half of the pan stayed rusty while the other half looked a lot better. I figured that this method was working, so I thought I’d get some laundry done and then come back for round two.

My Second Attempt

Here’s the pan again with the second sprinkling of baking soda. I let the pan be a little more wet this time, since it seemed to help.

round two

Once again, I attacked the pan with a really rough cloth. I definitely had to put a lot of muscle into it, but I was really impressed that some of the slots of the tin actually started to regain their original color.

almost like new

There’s still a bit of rust clinging to the bottom, but if you look around the edges, the original gray is starting to come back. This took a lot of scrubbing and arm work, but I think if I repeated this baking soda and scrubbing technique, the pan would start to look brand new.

In case you were wondering, here’s the before and after photos of the pans side by side.

before and after

Pretty neat, huh?