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Saving Our Patio Chairs from a Rusty Future


The evening we returned home from completing the Lowe’s Spring Makeover, it was warm. We were thrilled. (Warm weather in April in Chicago? It can’t be!) We were happily exhausted from the weekend and travel, but Scott suggested that we push through and get our front porch ready for spring and summer (and fall, too). I was so giddy over the weather that I couldn’t unroll our rug fast enough, and as I started fluffing the pillows on our porch swing, Scott noticed that over the winter, our wrought iron patio chairs were starting to show the smallest signs of rust.

I made a mental note to figure out a way to nip that as quickly as possible, and a few online articles suggested using liquid car wax for wrought iron prevention! That seemed easy enough, so last weekend, I took thirty minutes to prevent a rusty demise for our chairs, and the results were pretty impressive.

Liquid car wax + applicator (we used this one)
Steel wool
Dish soap
Hose + water
Microfiber for buffing


WHAT WE DID. We caught the rust pretty early (note to self: buy covers for these guys!), which I think is the key to this simple method. Below, you can see the rust starting to creep out from the welds, but it was pretty minimal, thank goodness.


After hosing the chairs down to get rid of any loose debris, I used super fine steel wool (#0000) to get into all the crevices where the rust was hiding. Some areas took a bit more muscle than others, and in a few spots, the rust had eaten away at the powder coating. We quickly tossed away the idea of spritzing those areas with spray paint, as the imperfections give them character, we think.


After scrubbing away as much rust as I could, I squeezed dish soap into a soaking sponge and gave both chairs a good bath. They were way overdue for this!


After a rinse and air dry, the final step is the liquid wax! I used the applicator that came with the wax, and I followed the instructions on the back of the bottle; shake well, apply a small amount, buff. Scott buffed one chair while I did the other, and we used microfiber cloths to bring them to a nice shine, and holy cats, what a difference! Before and after:


I’m not sure why I was so surprised at the difference in color, but just as when you wax a car, the liquid wax made our chairs pop!, while also prolonging their lives for the season. We were lucky to have caught the rust early, but especially rusty wrought iron furniture would need a deeper sanding and re-painting (or powder coat) – and a waxy polish to keep things looking nice.


In other news, yesterday marked 3 years from the day we closed on this house! Soon after, we smashed champagne and ate pizza on the floor of this front porch. As we began demolition of almost every single room, this outdoor ‘room’ was our saving grace. It was where we found our sanity after a long day with the sledgehammer, the one place where the dust couldn’t touch us. And now? Years later, with the house (mostly) dust free, you’ll still find us here every evening – well, from April to October!


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  • Mary6.8.16 - 9:23 AM

    Chairs look great! Does the wax rub off at all onto clothing or skin?ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.8.16 - 9:44 AM

      Nope, not at all! It’s literally the same as if you were leaning against a freshly waxed car… nothing.ReplyCancel

  • Elaine - Visual Meringue6.8.16 - 10:10 AM

    Amazing! I had no idea! What a difference. Thanks for the great tip and those chairs – sigh – so gorgeous! I love the shape.ReplyCancel

  • Liz6.8.16 - 10:19 AM

    This is genius. So glad you suggested this. Remind us where you bought those stellar chairs? They look so comfy!ReplyCancel

  • Liz6.8.16 - 10:20 AM

    Ignore my last comment- I totally forgot they came from Elkhorn Flea! Man, what a FIND!ReplyCancel

  • Josh @ The Kentucky Gent6.8.16 - 10:34 AM

    Three cheers for patio weather! And I never would’ve thought about using car wax for a task like this – but they look great!ReplyCancel

  • Vero6.13.16 - 8:29 AM

    Thanks for sharing Kim! That’s genius!ReplyCancel

  • lsaspacey6.14.16 - 10:10 AM


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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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