Cleaning rusty steel shot without using cola

My carbon steel shot which has not rusted in 9 years of use suddenly
rusted after I used it last week. I ran the tumbler overnight, and it
shut off before I got up. By the time I got downstairs, it was
ugly… luckily the silver pieces therein were not badly affected,
but the shot looks awful.

The archives mention over and over using flat cola to clean rusty
shot. I don’t drink cola (long time addiction now kicked) and I don’t
want to buy any just to use for cleaning shot. What else can I put in
the tumbler with the shot to clean it that won’t hurt the tumbler

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

You might give these folks a call and see what they think about
using their product for your shot… Let us know what they say.

John Dach

and I don't want to buy any just to use for cleaning shot. What
else can I put in the tumbler with the shot to clean it that won't
hurt the tumbler barrel? 

Oh c’mon, Kathy. Next time you’re in a grocery checkout, reach into
that cooler at the back of the checkout and grab a single can of
regular old coca cola. cheaper than anything you might buy that will
do the job, and you’re not likely to have anything better under the
kitchen sink. Open it, leave it open till the next day, don’t drink
it, and then add it to your shot. Simple. Done deal. No dietary risk.

Peter Rowe

"Simple green " to clean your shot.

Just run the shot with a bit of new polishing soap for a half an
hour. That should do it. Discard soap solution before polishing
anything else.

Nick royall

Phosphoric acid from home depot Coke is a week solution and
available everywhere. A weak solution is a fertilizer and good for
the garden… Too much is bad for aquatic creatures. Put on the garden
not down the drain It converts the rust to a stable phosphate… CLR is
largely Lactic acid ( spoiled sour Milk)… Safe environmentally.

It seems your tumbling solution got acidic. Pickle contamination?
Steel rusts in acid environment and needs to be alkaline. Your
solution is messed up. Add some washing soda ( sodium carbonate
–soda ash) A “good” grocery “should” have it. Find one that caters
to the common people not the elite In the laundry products area. Old
time harsh laundry bar soap might have some residual lye content.
modern stuff is different. Oxalic Acid also dissolves rust It can be
found In Barkeepers friend cleanser and ZUD. Both from the grocery
store. Rinse well after using any acid product and add some alkaline
material Keep your steel shot under ALKALINE water–


You can purchase Phos-lo or “Ospho” at most good hardware stores. It
is made by the Skybrite Company and is a phosphoric acid and
dichromate solution sold for rust-stopping, stripping and priming
ferrous metals. This product can also be used in etching
(specifically electro etching for silver, gold and I have had
limited sucsess with.030 Ti). The shipyard local to me also uses it
to prep stainless and to remove rust prior to using the stainless.
There is also a tutorial by another Orchidian about using it for
etching- I do not have the link right now. The machinist I learned
this from tumbles the stainless pins that are rusty- the rust (Iron
Oxide) converts to Iron Phosphate (Black scale)- then is tumbled with
dry hard media to polish it.

Hope this helps.