The Best Way to Get Rid of Rust on Buckles

by Grace Riley
Use fresh or bottled lemon juice to remove rust.

Use fresh or bottled lemon juice to remove rust.

People might expect to discover rust on patio furniture and hardware, but not on their favorite clothes and accessories. Nevertheless, fashion buckles can rust just like any other metal, rendering them useless. The product you use to restore a rusty lawn chair or hammer is not going to be the appropriate treatment for a rusted buckle. You do have safer but equally effective options. A home rust-busting concoction is simple to make, inexpensive and safe to use, but there is a potent alternative you can purchase, if needed.

Homemade Rust Remedy

Add salt to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a small bowl until the mixture forms a paste. Coat the buckle in the paste until the rust is obscured. Leave the paste on the buckle for five to 10 minutes. The citric acid in the lemon juice will dissolve some of the rust, making it easy for the abrasive salt granules to loosen the rust particles.

Scrub the belt buckle using the type of rough sponge used for scouring pans. Repeat the steps if there's any lingering rust.

Rinse the buckle thoroughly with water after you remove all of the corrosion.

Store-Bought Solution

Treat the buckle with a store-bought fabric-safe rust remover if three applications of the lemon paste do not remove all the rust. Fabric-safe rust removers are generally available next to fabric dyes in superstores, craft stores and some drugstores.

Follow the safety precautions printed on the product packaging. Rust removers can eventually damage skin, clothing, linens and furniture if they spill and are not cleaned up quickly.

Apply the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Items you will need

  • Towel
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Hard-bristled toothbrush or rough scrubbing sponge
  • Water
  • Fabric-safe rust remover


  • Consult a professional if home treatments and bottled treatments fail to remove all the rust. A shoe repair shop should be able to address rust on leather goods, including handbags and clothing, in addition to shoes. A talented seamstress can likely devise a way to strategically remove and then replace the buckle without significantly altering a garment’s appearance. Consult a secondhand or vintage clothing shop about treating costume jewelry or watches made of non-precious metals.


  • Do not apply bleach to rust or a rust stain. Bleach reacts with rust and will make the stain more noticeable.

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits

  • Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images