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How to Care for Wrought Iron

Megan Mattingly-Arthur

The term "wrought iron" describes metal that has been heated and hammered into a particular shape by a skilled metal worker. This process is popularly used for wrought iron gates, fences and patio furniture.

A beautifully ornate wrought iron garden gate

Classically beautiful and incredibly durable, wrought iron will retain its beauty for many years if given the proper care. Preventing damage in the first place goes a long way in maintaining your wrought iron.

  1. Wash your wrought iron with dishwashing liquid and warm water at least once a month to remove everyday dirt, dust and grime. Dry the wrought iron with a clean towel to prevent it from rusting.

  2. Cover your wrought iron, if possible, during rainy or foggy weather to minimize rusting. Tarps can be used to cover wrought iron gates or railings and protective slipcovers can be purchased to protect wrought iron patio furniture.

  3. Examine your wrought iron regularly for scratches or chipping paint. If you discover an exposed patch of wrought iron, wash the area with warm soap water and then touch up the finish using a rust-resistant exterior metal paint. Sometimes touch up paint is included with the purchase of wrought iron patio furniture. If touch up paint was not included, or you are repairing a wrought iron fence or gate, use an automotive paint in a matching color.

  4. Remove rust from your wrought iron by scrubbing it with the finest grade steel wool scouring pad that you can find. If your wrought iron is severely rusted or you are planning to refinish it anyway, consider using a product called naval jelly to dissolve the rust.

  5. Spray your wrought iron with an automotive spray wax twice a year to help prevent rust. For best results, apply the spray wax according to package directions.

  6. Tip

    Naval jelly can be purchased from your local hardware or automotive store.


    Do not use naval jelly on wrought iron that won't be refinished as it is known to dissolve paint.