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"How do I clean rust off brass faucet?" Topic

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448 hits since 23 May 2016
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Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2016 6:17 p.m. PST

Here's the situation.
I have a clothes washer that is falling apart. A friend is giving me a new ine.

There is a brass fixture to which the water pipes on the washer are connected.
On the hot water hose, there was a lot of bluish powdery corrosion.
It leaked when I ran laundry.
When I disconnected the hose, the metal fitting disintegrated. I was left with rusty lumps around the threads. Using WD-40 and wire brush and dental picks, I was able to remove 90% of the rust. The brass thread looks good but has lumps of rust I cannot get off them. I can screw a Jose on to the cold water spigot but not this one.

What is the best way to clean off these threads so I can attach the hose? Currently I can't even get it up 2 threads.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2016 6:18 p.m. PST

Note. I am not looking into making it look pretty and shiny. I just want to hook up the hoses.

And it might be bronze also. grin

coryfromMissoula23 May 2016 7:58 p.m. PST

Sounds like mixed metal electrolysis.

If the rust isn't too bad I would use a small file to clear the threads and then make sure your hose has a new washer.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2016 10:02 p.m. PST

I can screw a Jose on to the cold water spigot

Well that usually fixed the problem for me. Jose has been very reliable over the years.

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member24 May 2016 4:24 a.m. PST

Why not just replace the faucet?

ArmymenRGreat Inactive Member24 May 2016 6:05 a.m. PST

Mechanically. Wire brush the threads a little harder. Use the old cold water hose (with the fitting that didn't disintegrate) and screw that on with pliers to clean the rust off before using a new hose for the hot.

Those connections seal at the rubber insert washer and not the threads. You can probably insert a second washer so that the hose doesn't have to screw on so far. I think the washer is the same as a garden hose washer… cheap and readily available.

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2016 12:48 p.m. PST

Do you have a Dremel with the rotary wire brush?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2016 2:32 p.m. PST

Yes. I have a Dremel.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member24 May 2016 6:43 p.m. PST

Hoses to Washing Machines should be changed every 5 or so years.

There is a product called "CLR" that you can use to clean the threads (corrosion, rust, build-up, etc.) on the faucet. A little steel wool might help as well.

Another thing to do would be to use a plumber's putty to help seal the thread grooves when attaching the hose to the faucet.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2016 8:48 a.m. PST

I think you'll find that if you have to be that aggressive to remove the corrosion you'll never get a proper fit again. The corrosion will have removed some metal you need, and the the corrosion removal work will remove other metal that you need.

I don't think that's actually rust – rust is iron, obviously. I think that's etched brass, another sign that you're not going to get a proper fit.

Is there a spigot there? There usually is. If the corrosion is on the output of the spigot you should replace the spigot – they cost about five dollars. If there is no spigot there is supposed to be, and you want there to be one so you can work on the washing machine and its hoses without turning off water to the whole house.

Also, always remember to wrap joints like that in teflon tape.

TL:DR my vote is to replace that piece.

ArmymenRGreat Inactive Member25 May 2016 5:48 p.m. PST

So what's the update?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2016 6:39 p.m. PST

I stopped at Walmart to get some CLR. Unfortunately the label specifically says "not for use on brass, copper or aluminum".

So I got some small wire brushes, and stainless steel scouring pads.
I am able to screw a hose outlet up 4 or 5 threads. Can't go higher than that. So a few spritzed of WD-40, scraping, etc.
I'm slowly getting it ready.

The spigot is sweated into place to copper pipe. That is beyond my level of expertise replacing. I don't know how to sweat it.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP26 May 2016 7:02 a.m. PST

How much pipe do you have?

You might be able cut the spigot off at the joint with a hacksaw and rethread the end of the pipe. You need a special (expensive) tool to do that, but you can probably rent it for a couple bucks at Home Depot or Lowes (or your FLHS, if you have one). They should be able to show you how to use it, too. It's not hard, but you don't want to experiment on the bitter end of your pipe.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2016 10:52 a.m. PST


1) Do you have a friend who can sweat pipe? It's not hard, lots of DIYers can do it. You may know someone who can put on a new spigot as a favor.

2) Pay the plumber a few hundred dollars. Ouch.

3) Epoxy putty won't hold water pressure, I tried it once.

4) You could clean the spigot then put lots and lots of teflon tape on there, then screw the hose on really tight and see if hat will hold. Might work. Lots of teflon tape.

5) You could learn to sweat joints. It's not hard.

I had a plumbing problem and was looking at $5,000 USD-$10,000. I did my research, got my wife on board, and fixed it all myself for $300. USD This included sweating a joint or two. (I used Sharkbite components for most of the project.) I bough several pieces of pipe for practice joints, sweated them, and hooked them up to the supply to make sure they were water tight. All five practice joints were fine, and so was the joint I did in the wall after that. So I'm six for six! My joints didn't look great, but I don't care.

There are plenty of web sites and YouTube videos that will teach you how to do this. If you are the sort of person that likes learning and doing these things, take a swing at it. You'll probably spend under $100 USD on the torch and prep tools, and then you'll be ready for your next problem or to help your friends. If this is not at all your thing that's understandable, but you'll have to find someone who can do it, and that could cost you.

Typical copper household plumbing is supposed to have a useful life of twenty five years. After that you get problems. If your plumbing is over twenty five years old this will not be the last time you need to sweat pipe.

If you lived within an hour of me I'd be over there with my box of toys Monday morning.

Good luck!

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member26 May 2016 5:49 p.m. PST

"The spigot is sweated into place to copper pipe. That is beyond my level of expertise replacing. I don't know how to sweat it."

There is a series of product called "SharkBite" that does not require sweating. The big box DIY carry the line. Not sure if there is a faucet fixture or not. I have used them for various plumbing connections.

Edit: Just saw the comments about SharkBite in the preceeding post.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2016 6:27 p.m. PST

Oops, I left two good options off my list…

6) Cut off the spigot, slide on a Sharkbite spigot. This will cost quite a bit more than a regular spigot, but less than all the tools to sweat the joint. Shark bite is insanely easy to use, has a crazy good warranty, I love it.

7) Cut off the spigot, slide on a shark bite fitting with threads on the other end and then screw a spigot onto that fitting. This might be cheaper, and it will be cheaper again down the road when you need to replace the spigot again.

Cutting off the pipe is easy. Buy the saw. Saw off the pipe, leaving as much as you can. Be sure to go slow and leave a clean edge, you need that for Sharkbite or sweating. You'll also need the interior and exterior demurring tools, since the saw will leave the pipe a mess. Again, you need a clean end no matter which way you go.

14Bore29 May 2016 12:08 p.m. PST

If you would want to ever try to sweat and joint now would have been your time. It's not hard really.
1 heat joint to get apart with torch, pull with plyers.
The existing joint will be ok but could clean it with pipe wire brush and flux.
Clean new part with pipe brush and paste with flux.
Heat pipe back up holding new part with players, when it's at right temp the new part will slip fully in.
Let go with players and solder around.
I inspect with magnifier to look for any pin holes in solder bead around joint.
May suggestion is anyone who wants to learn and is handy try it before one needs to do it. Like anything practice makes perfect.

Last Hussar19 Jun 2016 6:05 a.m. PST

Not sure about the plumbing in the US, but this is how I would do it.

This assumes you have a specialist ended spigot for washer input, and the pipe in is a rubber one with plastic nut on the end these are the UK standard.

Basically get a compression joint
And a length of copper pipe
(Obviously both the same size as current pipe!)
as well as a pipe cutter IT IS WORTH BUYING- it is quicker and more to the point NEATER than a hack saw- Burred ends are a no-no.
Also get a new spigot.
(This one is also compression.)

The basic method is cut the pipe in place back 6-9 inches (depending on what you have to play with access etc- you are making enough room that the coupler is not near the spigot, put on the coupler, cut pipe you just bought to make up the length you cut off, put the tap on the end. I prep the 'Added' piece first, as it is easier to maneuver, and you only have to tighten one nut in place. (like assembling a model- its easier to put together if you make up modules)

If its a cold water inlet you won't need to sweat it. Sweating is easy. Run water through until it gets hot. The joint will expand, letting it leak. Turn off water, and tighten.
Repeat until no leaks.

Toilet paper is your friend here not only will it soak up drips, but it will make it obvious you have a drip- Roll it up and knot around pipe below the joint.

Ive never soldered- compression is easier.

You can get a coupler with a inbuilt valve. These are more expensive (only a couple of quid) but have a screw in themthat can be turned to isolate the pipe. I always fit these (retro fit if replacing stuff)- if a tap (faucet) goes wrong, you only have to isolate that pipe, rather than turn off all the plumbing.

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