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  1. #1
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    Oxalic Acid - Some quick questions

    I'm about to start using OA for the first time and have read some of the posts and advice on here - I'm happy with volumes etc, but I have two questions that searching hasn't answered:

    1. What sort of container should I use for the solution? i.e. will a plastic bucket suffice or does the bath need to be metal/enameled to withstand the solution?

    2. How long will a mixed solution last? Can I fill a bucket and use it over and over again?

    Thanks chaps!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Neocaligato. May I suggest you do a search of this forum's archives. There are tons of threads that talk about OA and its uses. Having said that, I have used a large plastic pail, outside, wear gloves and change the solution when it appears murky.

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    Thanks rootboy - that answers my questions. I'll continue to search if I have any others.

    Regards, Chris

  4. #4
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Plastic works great. I use the solution over many times. Make sure the part is clean first, as any grease will foul your solution and it won't last nearly as long. Over time, the OA solution tends to get stringy white snot like material in it. Time to change it. I have a small container of dilute OA right now that I use for parts, its at least three months old, and I have put many, many, parts through it (typically headset cups, nuts and bolts, cable clamps, QR levers and nuts, and so on). Anything steel. Do not put aluminum in it!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neocaligatio View Post
    I'm about to start using OA for the first time and have read some of the posts and advice on here - I'm happy with volumes etc, but I have two questions that searching hasn't answered:

    1. What sort of container should I use for the solution? i.e. will a plastic bucket suffice or does the bath need to be metal/enameled to withstand the solution?

    2. How long will a mixed solution last? Can I fill a bucket and use it over and over again?

    Thanks chaps!

    Chris
    Oxalic Acid is is not really an ideal acid to use for rust removal and cleaning. It is more caustic and more dangerous than you really need.

    I recommend using muratic acid which is readily available at many hardware stores and is cheap, and is a little easier to control than oxalic acid and is a little bit safer. good luck.
    Mike

  6. #6
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    OA works very well even in very dilute solutions. OA attacks rust and just about only that when used in an extremely dilute soak. Rust is already fairly water-soluble and all it takes is a bit of OA to get it to totally dissolve in the water. You have time on your hands and after 24-48 hours rust magically disappears in a weak OA solution.

    Any plastic container works very well. I like the rubbermaid tubs as I often garbage-pick them when people are moving and cleaning out there storage units. I'd be reluctant to use any acid or harsh cleaner in a nice bathtub -not only for fear of damaging the tub itself but the pipes of the drain. Having underground pipes torn up and replaced is not a fun thing. I won't even use drain-clog stuff which is also very hard on the pipes. If you do pour the solution down the drain make sure to put down plenty of water with it to dilute and flush it out. But we are not talking using OA in very strong solutions. A whole rubbermaid tub only needs a couple tablespoons of the flakes and a small pint OA Savogran container should last you years and years unless you are using way too much.

    Like wrk said, it gets full of crud when it is doing its job. Eventually it'll stop working as all the acid gets neutralized by the rust and any oils that are on the parts. It's best to do a good scrubbing of any parts so the only thing the OA is reacting with is the ferris oxid. If you do this the solution will last a long time before it gets yucky. Frames, handlebars, and things with hollow bits where there is a lot of rust and yuck hidden inside will use up the OA faster.
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  7. #7
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    1/ Acids aren't caustic, they are acidic. Bases are caustic.

    Muratic acid is hydrochloric acid, which is big time bad news for the average home owner to use.

    I would not recommend muratic to any average home owner.

    Note, I have nothing against muratic, used tank truck volumes in the chemical plants I managed (millions of pounds per year of it), but we had the training, equipment, gear, and knowledge to use it safely. Pretty much any chemical can be used safely, with enough knowledge, training and gear. Go to a BMX forum, or a car enthusiasts forum, or whatever, and you will find a lot of them recommending OA. But it is your choice. None of the chemicals used to remove rust are "friendly", but muratic is particularly rough.

    Muratic Acid Acute Hazards (acute = immediately):

    Very hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, irritant, permeator), of eye contact (irritant, corrosive), of ingestion, . Slightly hazardous in case of inhalation (lung sensitizer). Non-corrosive for lungs. Liquid or spray mist may produce tissue damage particularly on mucous membranes of eyes, mouth and respiratory tract. Skin contact may produce burns. Inhalation of the spray mist may produce severe irritation of respiratory tract, characterized by coughing, choking, or shortness of breath. Severe over-exposure can result in death.

    Chronic Hazards (chronic = long term):

    The substance may be toxic to kidneys, liver, mucous membranes, upper respiratory tract, skin, eyes, Circulatory System, teeth. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. Repeated or prolonged contact with spray mist may produce chronic eye irritation and severe skin irritation. Repeated or prolonged exposure to spray mist may produce respiratory tract irritation leading to frequent attacks of bronchial infection. Repeated exposure to a highly toxic material may produce general deterioration of health by an accumulation in one or many human organs.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    Oxalic Acid is is not really an ideal acid to use for rust removal and cleaning. It is more caustic and more dangerous than you really need.

    I recommend using muratic acid which is readily available at many hardware stores and is cheap, and is a little easier to control than oxalic acid and is a little bit safer. good luck.
    I do not agree.
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  9. #9
    Cottered Crank Amesja's Avatar
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    About the only thing muratic acid is any good for other than messing yourself and your lungs up is getting bad stains out of toilet bowls and sinks. Plumbers use it sometimes. I stay away from it. I've heard that it works wonders on dried concrete stuck on car bumpers from construction sites or road construction cuts. I have never tried it on frames or bike parts. Why use a harsh hydrocloric acid that attacks steel when OA does such a wonderful job in very dilute solutions?

    I don't know of another easily available acid other than OA that has such an affinity to dissolving rust and not touching anything else even when very diluted.
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  10. #10
    Ride heavy metal. Maddox's Avatar
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    OP, type "Oxalic acid site:bikeforums.net" into Google. It shall lead to you to the threads you seek.
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