If you’ve found this post, you’re wondering how to clean wrought iron. Wrought iron is an aesthetically pleasing and durable material. When used for staircase railings, pool railings, gates, security doors, fencing and ornamental accessories, in addition to indoor accents, like shelving, hardware, and light fixtures. Since the texture is slightly rough, wrought iron is inclined to collect dust and grime a little bit faster than a smooth surface. However, when painted and properly maintained, cleaning is rather easy.
Wrought Iron Maintenance
Wrought iron is a metal that has low carbon content in comparison to steel, making it very malleable and easily shaped and welded into decorative pieces that have elaborate shapes that can gather dust and dirt. Additionally, all iron-based metals are going to, over time, rust and oxidize. Wrought iron is particularly vulnerable to this when the painted surface coat is allowed to flake and/or chip away. Especially in outdoor areas, cleaning wrought iron could involve sanding and/or grinding loosened paint and rust to thoroughly clean the metal prior to repainting.
The following are some basic cleaning supplies needed to properly clean wrought iron:
- Vacuum cleaner and attachment brush
- Water Bucket
- Mild dish-soap
- Cleaning cloth
- Small nylon detailing brush
- Pressure-washer or garden hose
- Paint scraper and sandpaper
- Dust mask and eye protection
- Paint for touch-ups
- Wire brush and drill
Common Ways to Clean Wrought Iron
Regularly cleaning of your wrought iron isn’t that much different than cleaning your household surfaces.
- Wrought iron surfaces can get quite dusty, so start by using the vacuum and its brush attachment to get rid of as much of the looser dust and dirt as possible.
- Use a gentle combination of water and dish-soap for cleaning all surfaces. On elaborate pieces, dip a small nylon detailing brush (toothbrushes are fine too) in combination and use it to scrub inside nooks and crannies.
- Use clear water for rinsing. With outdoor ornaments, gates or railings, you can simply spray the wrought iron with a pressure washer or your garden hose.
Cleaning Before Touch-Up Painting
A more comprehensive cleaning is required when your wrought iron has chipped paint or oxidization.
- Use a paint scraper for the removal of any loose paint. Make sure to vacuum up and throwaway any paint chips.
- Use your drill with a wire brush for the removal of peeling paint from small nooks and crannies. Use the brush to remove most of the rust from the iron’s bare surfaces. This is going to be a messy, so make sure your wear a dust mask and eye protection.
- After all of the loose paint is removed, use a medium grit sandpaper to remove any of the remaining rust on exposed wrought iron surfaces.
- Do a comprehensive cleaning of the entire pieces to remove any loosened-up dust.
Outside Wrought Iron Pressure-washing Option
Using a pressure-washer may be an option on outside wrought iron pieces with significantly chipped, flaking paint. A pressure-washer can make easy work of stripping loose paint from your outside wrought iron surfaces, depending on if they are well maintained. Pressure-washers are powerful, serious tools. Use caution when using it, and be careful not to damage neighboring surfaces.
Tips for Repainting
After all the loose paint, rust, and muck has been removed, proceed as soon as you can in painting your wrought iron. When left exposed, the iron is going to produce more rust faster. For the best result, use a rust-proofing primer on all bare wrought iron, then apply at a minimum of 2 coats of lasting enamel paint. Spray paints best to use when painting ironwork with elaborate detailing. Applying multiple lighter coats will provide better results than trying to cover with a one heavy coat.