How do you make steel rust faster?

How do you make steel rust faster?

This is a question we are asked quite often.

Firstly it’s worth mentioning that mild steel will weather naturally to a golden brown over 9 to 12 months. Corten steel will weather faster typically within a month in the damp UK climate. The weathered finish on Corten and mild steel is almost identical.

Sometimes our customers are looking to achieve the natural rusted patina on their steel edging and woven steel fencing sooner. For example when supplying designers setting up established looking show gardens.

In the photo below we are applying rust accelerant to our fencing panels for the Gardeners world show in Birmingham. They took around 2 weeks to weather fully.

How do you make steel rust faster?
How do you make steel rust faster?

So how do you do it?

It’s quite simple really…

There are 4 main ingredients – Water, Hydrogen Peroxide (also known as Muriatic acid which is available from Amazon), Vinegar and Salt.

Mix them together in the following ratios. The volumes can be varied depending on the area your looking to cover.

  • 1 Litre if water
  • 1 Litre of Hydrogen peroxide
  • 100 ml of white vinegar
  • 1 table spoon of salt


Apply outside with a brush or sprayer for larger areas. To apply on fences you will find a sprayer is easier due to the weave. Wear eye and skin protection, do not store in a sealed container for more than a day as gasses can build up.

You will need to reapply 2 or 3 times to achieve a fully weathered surface, ideally leave a day so you can see the full affects of the previous application.

This is a fairly aggressive solution and you will see it begin to fizz on the steel almost instantly with the runoff being a rusty colour. There is no harm in increasing the water content to reduce the rusting speed if you prefer.

Take care applying rust accelerant if it runs onto paved surfaces this solution will cause staining.

Please note we cannot be held liable for any loss or damage as a result of our advise. Take care and exercise safe practice.

If your interested to know more about the differences between Corten and mild steel read our other blog Corten edging or Mild steel.

As always if you need any more information please get in touch.

How do you make steel rust faster?

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