How to Remove Rust From Dumbbells and Weight Plates

rusty olympic weight plates

When my husband and I decided to buy a house, one of his only requirements was that it had room for a gym. Fortunately, we found a home with space. When we started buying weights, we learned that, to get a good deal, you sometimes have to settle for rusty plates and dumbbells.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to remove the rust. So, If you’re trying to get a discount on weights, don’t let the rusty ones deter you from buying them. It’s a smelly process, but totally worth it.

Follow the instructions below to try it yourself.

Supplies needed to remove rust from weights

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When we got the weights they looked like this. Not totally covered in rust, but they were not in the best shape.

steel brush the weights

Step 1: brush off the rust

Using a stainless steel bristle brush, scrape off as much of the excess rust and chipping paint as  possible.

Step 2: Soak the weights in vinegar and water

Pay attention to the recommended dilution ratio on the vinegar you buy. Use that ratio of water and vinegar and soak the weights for about 3 days.

I recommend keeping them somewhere you don’t have to spend much time because it smells bad. I’d recommend a garage or basement.

Also, when you finish and dump out your solution, make sure you pour it down a large drain and not in your yard. The vinegar will kill your grass.

Note: We used 4 bottles (64 fl oz) of vinegar. We also took some of the less rusty weights out earlier and got similar results. If your weights have a lot of rust, they will need more time in the solution.

weight plate after rust removal

Step 3: Dry the weights

Take the weights out of the vinegar solution and dry them really well. If they’re exposed to moisture, they’ll begin to rust again.

The plate in the image above is the same plate pictured in step 1. It looks much better now. It has not been spray painted yet either! I was shocked to see the difference!

spray painted weight plates

Step 4 (optional): spray paint the weights

In the image above, the first plate has been spray painted. The other was just removed from the vinegar solution and dried.

When you’re done, you’ll have some fancy, seemingly new weights. And they look so nice!

weights soaking in vinegar/water solution

Look at the round iron dumbbells. Super rusty, right?

spray painted York dumbbells

These are the same ones!

So, if you’re considering buying weights, don’t avoid the rusty ones. And if you’re considering getting rid of your rusty weights, don’t do it! Use this process to fix them up instead.

Hope you enjoyed this one.

Happy crafting!

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