Removing rust without harming the metal underneath requires some finesse. Rough methods like scrubbing or using abrasive compounds do not provide the desired results. With a smart, tactical approach, removing rust from a metal bucket can prove to be a very easy procedure. Afterwards, complete the whole refurbishment by applying a few protective layers.
Find a container in which you can soak the rusted bucket. It must be made of an insulating material, so search for a large plastic bucket. Additionally, gather eight flat regular steel pieces about the same length as the bucket's height and 2 cm wide, crimp terminals, hex bolts, hex nuts, star washers, a car battery charger, and washing soda.
Prepare the Plastic Bucket
Drill a hole into one end of each of the eight flat metal pieces and drill corresponding, equally spaced holes, around the top of the plastic bucket. Make sure the holes can accommodate the hex bolt. Place a star washer on a hex bolt, put it through one of the plastic bucket holes and secure a metal piece with a hex nut and washer on the other side. Repeat with each hole and metal piece. Use the crimp terminals to create wire links between the bolts on the outside. You can achieve the same by directly connecting the wires on the bolt before tightening, but the crimp terminals make it safer and easier.
Fill the plastic bucket with water up to just below the bolts. Stir and dissolve a quantity of washing soda relative to the amount of water being used. Wear rubber gloves, as the solution can be harmful to the skin. Place the metal bucket inside and submerge it completely. Attach one of the battery charger wires on the bolts and the other one on the metal bucket. The metal bucket and the metal plates should not be touching. Start the charger, and stay away while it runs. In addition, wait at a distance, as the process may create mildly harmful gases. Check the process every half hour and shut down the charger before removing the bucket. Remove any residual rust with a soft brush.