How To Clean Rust Off Stainless Steel Garbage CAN?

Under difficult conditions or when not cared for properly, steel may rust off. If you have a stainless steel garbage can that has been rust of lately, you should think one time before sending it to the recycling waste. Think if you can clean this rust, and since you are here, I’ll let you know how to clean rust off stainless steel garbage can with some easy methods. 

Therefore, get your tools, and let’s get back to work. By the end of this article, you will find your rusty stainless steel garbage can free from rust and properly cleaned.

Does Stainless Steel Really Rust Off?

One of the leading metals or metal products available, stainless steel is highly resistive against corrosion and rusting. 

If properly cleaned, cared for, and maintained, it will never lose value no matter how long you use it. 

However, even such a high-quality metal may start losing its value and rusting off when you don’t keep it clean and leave the proper care product. 

Such as the garbage can we are currently talking about. Therefore, stainless steel rust when you don’t keep it rust-free. 

If you have any doubts regarding a stainless steel garbage can, read out whether is it worth having stainless steel garbage can or not. 

How Does A Stainless Steel Garbage CAN Rust Off?

Understanding the whole rusting procedure of stainless steel is not a difficult job if you pay a little attention. 

Garbage can made from stainless steel can rust off, as stated earlier, if you are not good at keeping it rust-free. 

But how this thing works? Please have a look as I am going to describe it below!

You shall know that no matter whatever name we call or pronounce it, such as stainless steel or Harder To Stain, it is still steel and remains the same. 

The thing is, no matter how hard you try, steel will eventually face up a rusting downfall. And that’s because of the following reasons. 

Exposing To The Oxygen: 

  • The rusting of steel happens when it is exposed heavily to the atmosphere and Oxygen, which is present in that atmosphere. 
  • When this happens, the chromium found in steel makes or forms a very thin and invisible layer called chromium oxide

When Chromium Oxide Layer Gets Damaged: 

  • When this layer of Chromium Oxide gets clogged with your steel garbage can, it allows that garbage can to resist stains and rust damage. 
  • But when such a layer gets damaged, nothing can stop your stainless steel garbage can from rusting. At any point where this layer gets damaged, the rust will start forming, and you can do nothing about it. 

But What’s Good?

  • However, there is still hope and good news, which states that when you maintain a little care and a good cleaning process, this layer of chromium oxide starts healing on its own.

This is how a stainless steel garbage can starts rusting! 

highly corrosive stainless steel surface
Highly corrosive stainless steel surface of a garbage can

How Do You Keep Your Stainless Steel Garbage Can From Rusting Off?

Before I tell you about cleaning that old rusted stainless steel garbage can, let me tell you something more important. 

The thing is, you have to take care of your stainless steel garbage can so that it shall never experience any rusting. 

But how will you do something like that? Please have a look at some easiest things you can do to keep stainless steel garbage cans rust-free. 

Don’t Let The Chromium Oxide Layer Get Damaged:

Don’t let that Chromium Oxide layer be damaged because it is often done when you use some low-quality cleaners. 

These cleaners may have chlorides, including toxic ones such as iodine, fluorine, Bromine, Chlorine, etc. 

Do Not Use Toxic Cleaners:

The cleaners you use may also have ammonia, alcohol, or other highly toxic mineral spirits that damage the Chromium Layer of your stainless steel garbage can. 

Avoid Using Steel Or Wool Brushes:

If you want to free your garbage can from rusting, you shall never use those steel or wool brushes. 

Because the very tiny minute particles of such brushes or those carbon steel articles may increase stainless steel rust because they adhere to that stainless steel garbage can. 

Do not ever consider using any caustic cleaner from the above list. 

Have Proper Cleaning After Washing:

However, even if you try to use such materials or compounds, you have to be extra careful. 

Because after cleaning, you will need to remove all the traces of these cleaners. 

cleaning a Stainless Steel Garbage Can
Cleaning a stainless steel garbage can

The reason is that these are still considered toxic chemicals that would damage the chromium oxide layer of your stainless steel garbage can.

Is It Possible To Clean A Rust Off Stainless Steel Garbage Can?

At this point, I can be sure that things regarding cleaning a stainless steel garbage can that has been rusted off cleared to you. 

So, you should know that cleaning garbage can like this is possible if you do it in an appropriate way and know exactly how to do it.

Because cleaning something like this doesn’t mean cleaning; it means protecting and taking care of that product. 

Hence, in the next section, I’ll share how you can clean a garbage can made from stainless steel. Don’t skip reading!

How Do You Clean A Rust Off Stainless Steel Garbage Can?

The cleaning of a stainless steel garbage can that has already been rusted off shall be done with great care. 

Because the layer of Chromium Oxide, as well as that garbage can of stainless steel, are totally linked to it. In short, 

Cleaning rust off stainless steel garbage cans is a little different from the ordinary cleaning you perform at your house. You will need to use some sandpaper to clean the flaky rust at first. Then you can use the solution of baking soda in water or any cleaner having oxalic acid inside. 

This way, if you do things in order, you will be able to remove all the rust from your stainless steel garbage can. 

I have a step-by-step process ready to help you clean a rusty garbage can made of stainless steel.

Step By Step Process To Clean A Rust Off Stainless Steel Garbage Can:

We all know that if it is concerned with the normal or daily cleaning of a garbage can, it can be done using any good detergent, washing liquid, or soap. 

Using this, you can remove dust, fingerprints, non-oxidized soils, and other debris from your garbage cans. A warm water solution helps more in doing something like this.

But this cleaning is slightly different when that stainless steel garbage can has lost its value. This is done by the following steps. 

Step 1: Gather The Essentials:

Before you start, make sure that you have the following things available. 

garbage can cleaning materials
Cleaning Materials for the garbage can
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eyeglass for eye protection
  • A 120 grit sandpaper 
  • Steel wool
  • Baking soda or white vinegar
  • Or any cleaner with oxalic acid
  • Hot water and a suitable place to perform cleaning

When these things are ready and available, move on to cleaning that garbage can. 

Step 2: Removing Rust Using Sandpaper:

At first, you will have to apply the sandpaper and remove the rust from all the wide areas of that rusty garbage can. This will be flaky rust that will be removed in this way. 

Step 3: Prepare A Solution:

Add some hot water to a pile and add some baking soda (if not available, white vinegar) into the water. You can also use any garbage can cleaner which has Oxalic acid. 

An example of this cleaner is Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser. 

Step 4: Apply The Solution:

Now, use any piece of cloth or any sort of bristle brush to apply this solution on all the sides and surfaces of that stainless steel garbage can. 

You need to rub the sides so that all the stains must leave these sides of the garbage can, and it shall become rust-free. 

Step 5: When Using White Vinegar:

Suppose you don’t have the baking soda and chose white vinegar to clean your rusty stainless steel garbage can. 

preparing baking soda solution
preparing baking soda solution to clean stainless steel garbage can

In that case, what will you do to whip that rust off? Simple, you must use white vinegar to clean your garbage can. 

For this, you just have to pour some distilled white vinegar drips on those spots showing rust. Once done, let it be there for a couple of hours until it shows you the cleaning results. 

Step 6: Use That Steel Wool:

After that time has been ended for both cases, such as using white vinegar and baking soda, the can would be ready to be cleaned out. 

Now, you can use that steel wool and scrap off all the rust from that stainless steel garbage can. 

Although it may take a little while. But the rust will likely come out, providing a new and cleared shape to your stainless steel garbage can!

Final Thoughts:

When everything gets done, use clean water one more time and clean all the surfaces as well as the sides of your stainless steel garbage can. Use any polish on the garbage can to give it a shiny look. Moreover, paint it in case you never want to experience it rusting off. So, that was all you have to do in order to learn how to clean rust off the stainless steel garbage cans.

Let me know if you have more queries. But thanks for staying and being patient. Have a nice day!


  1. (n.d.). GE Appliances Support & Troubleshooting Guides by Product Category. [online] Available at:
  2. Ashley, S. (2011). How to Clean Rust Off of Carbon Steel. [online] Available at:
  3. Padovani, C., Winsley, R.J., Smart, N.R., Fennell, P.A.H., Harris, C. and Christie, K., 2015. Corrosion control of stainless steels in indoor atmospheres—practical experience (Part 2). Corrosion71(5), pp.646-666.

1 thought on “How To Clean Rust Off Stainless Steel Garbage CAN?”

Comments are closed.