How to Protect Wrought Iron

Wrought iron has been used for centuries for fencing, gates and outdoor furniture because of its durability and fireproof nature.

General Maintenance

Wrought iron's beauty and durability continue to make it a favorite among homeowners.
It is also a great outdoor choice because it is impervious to insects, strong and resistant to rot. The only thing that iron can not stand up against is rust. Simple semi-annual maintenance will keep your wrought iron from suffering the ravages of rust, but it should be re-coated every five years. .

Periodically wash the wrought iron with warm, soapy water. Rinse with hose water.

Scrape off any signs of rust with a steel-bristled brush or sandpaper. Wipe clean.

Prime and paint any nicks or dings with a thin coat of oil-based metal paint. Dry thoroughly between coats.

Protect the finish with automotive wax on non-textured wrought iron. On textured iron, use mineral oil or baby oil to protect.

Five-Year Recoating

Scrub the wrought iron with a steel-bristled brush to loosen any paint and rust.

File down any rough edges with either 80-grit sandpaper or a metal file.

Spray all metal surfaces with a coat of phosphoric acid to neutralize. This will convert any specks of rust remaining to a crust, and will prohibit its spread.

Brush away any loose paint or flakes. Apply a heavy coat of primer with a bristle brush.

Paint with an oil-based metal paint, using a chip brush to apply paint from the top of the piece down.

Things You Will Need

  • Warm soapy water
  • Hose
  • Soft rags
  • Steel-bristled brush
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Oil-based metal paint
  • Auto wax or mineral oil
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Protective gear
  • Primer
  • Bristle brush
  • Chip brush


  • A glossy finish coat will last longer than a matte finish.

About the Author

Becky Lower began writing professionally in 2004. Her work has appeared in "elan" magazine, a northern Virginia publication, "Good Old Days" magazine, the "BGSU Alumni" magazine and on the website thenovelette.com. Lower has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Bowling Green State University.