Blender blade left uncleaned will rust - Family Guide Central
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Why do Blender Blades Rust? 6 Easy Methods

Have you ever come home from a long vacation, looked into your sink, and realized that you’ve left your dirty blender filled with water, in the sink? After careful inspection, you’ve realized by now that there’s rust that has built up on the blades. What a frustrating moment.

Why did your blender blades rust?

The blender blades rust because of water. Although these blades are composed of an alloy that mitigates rusting, it doesn’t completely prevent rust altogether. There’s a chemical process that occurs when water makes contact with metal. With enough time, a process called oxidation occurs and produces brown, brittle remnants called rust that can ultimately damage the blades.

Now, this process doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time to occur. Most blenders are fitted with stainless steel blades that are otherwise considered resistant to water. However, even if they were to be made of stainless steel, and you happen to submerge them in water for long enough, they will begin to rust.

A deep look into how rust develops

On a chemical level, rusting is considered the result of an oxidation reaction. This means that when you combine oxygen (which is found in water) with iron, a reaction occurs and over time begins to produce the brown rust you see in front of you.

This kind of reaction doesn’t just happen from oxygen in the air alone; it actually occurs when the water touches the metal. There are electrolytes inside pure water that help speed up the process of oxidation.

What’s also interesting is that salty water will further accelerate rust quicker than pure water. This seems to be the case with blenders since it’s not just water you’re blending, but sometimes salty foods as well. And again this is because of the electrolytes that act to aid in the reaction.

6 Best ways to remove rust from blender blades

1. Using White Vinegar

White vinegar isn’t just for salads; it’s a powerful, natural rust remover that’s probably sitting in your pantry right now. Submerge your blender blades in a bowl of white vinegar and let them soak overnight. The acetic acid in the vinegar works wonders on rust. For an extra boost, add a little salt to the vinegar before soaking. The next day, remove the blades and scrub gently with a soft brush or cloth. You’ll find the rust comes off much easier. As a rarely mentioned tip, if you’re in a hurry, heating the vinegar before soaking can speed up the process.

2. Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is another kitchen staple that can tackle rust effectively. Make a thick paste with baking soda and water, and apply it generously to the rusted areas of the blades. Let it sit for a couple of hours; this allows the baking soda to break down the rust. Afterward, scrub gently with a toothbrush or sponge. It’s environmentally friendly and safe for your skin, making it an excellent choice for household use. An often overlooked tip is to add a few drops of lemon juice to the paste for extra rust-fighting power from the citric acid.

3. Potato and Dish Soap Trick

This might sound like an old wives’ tale, but the oxalic acid in potatoes actually dissolves rust. Cut a potato in half and spread dish soap over the cut end. Then, press the potato against the rusted blender blades and let it sit for a few hours. The dish soap helps to break down grease and grime, while the potato works on the rust. Rotate the potato to a fresh cut side occasionally to keep the acid active. This method is highly effective for small spots of rust and is also safe and non-toxic. A rarely mentioned hack is to sprinkle some baking soda on the potato for an abrasive boost.

4. Citric Acid Bath

Citric acid, found in lemon juice or in powdered form, can be an excellent rust remover. Create a solution by mixing water with citric acid powder (or use straight lemon juice) and soaking the blender blades overnight. Citric acid is gentle yet effective at breaking down rust without harming the metal underneath. In the morning, use a soft brush to scrub away the loosened rust. For those who prefer a more natural approach, this method is biodegradable and won’t leave harmful residues. A seldom-shared tip is to add a teaspoon of salt to the mixture to enhance the rust removal process through electrolysis.

5. Electrolysis Method

This method is a bit more technical but highly effective for serious rust issues. You’ll need a plastic container, baking soda, water, a battery charger, and some sacrificial steel (like an old spoon). Fill the container with water, add a tablespoon of baking soda per gallon of water to create an electrolyte solution, and submerge the rusted blades along with the sacrificial steel, connected by wires to the battery charger. Turn on the charger and let the setup work overnight. The electrical current will transfer the rust from your blades to the sacrificial metal. While not commonly mentioned, it’s crucial to ensure safety by working in a well-ventilated area and wearing protective gloves. This method can restore even heavily rusted items to their near-original condition.

6. WD-40 Spray

A popular and effective method, WD-40 is known for its rust-busting capability. Just spray a fair amount of WD-40 directly onto the rusty blender blades and let it soak for about 10 minutes. The key ingredients in WD-40 are designed to break down the rust, making it easy to wipe off with a cloth or scrub with a brush for more stubborn spots. Because WD-40 is a lubricant as well as a rust remover, it can also help with any squeaky or stiff parts of your blender. A rarely discussed trick is to apply a second, lighter coat of WD-40 after cleaning and leave it on to prevent future rusting.

How long does it take for blender blades to get rusty?

Because most blender blades are stainless steel, it has a chromium component preventing it from rusting. 

However, if the conditions are right and it sits in water for more than a day, it can and will develop rust. If you happen to leave your blender container in the sink and then go on vacation for several days, you’ll almost certainly come home with rusty blades. Studies show that if you leave steel submerged in water for 4-5 days, you will start seeing signs of rust.

Things like heat and oxygen will also contribute to rusting. For instance, rust may not appear as quickly in the winter as it will in the summer due to the humidity. It also strongly depends on how often you use your blender. People who use it on a daily basis will oftentimes find that their blender blades become rustier sooner.

For those who use it rarely, maybe once every week or two, we’ll find that the blender blades will last them as long as 5 years or more. It also ultimately falls down to how well you maintain your blender. You must be considerate in making sure you clean the blender each and every time you use it and that you store it in a cool and dry environment.

How do you prevent blender blades from rusting?

  • Dry Immediately After Washing: The critical practice is not to let your blender blades sit in water for extended periods. After washing, dry them immediately with a towel. Avoid air-drying, as the leftover moisture can result in rusting. For instance, utilize a microfiber cloth, known for absorbing water more swiftly and efficiently than typical towels.
  • Minimize Periods of Inactivity: Even something seemingly harmless, like a short vacation trip, can cause your blender blades to rust if they’re not properly dried before your departure. If you know you’ll not be using your blender for a while, ensure it’s thoroughly clean and dry before you leave.
  • Coat With Food-Safe Mineral Oil: Apply a thin layer of food-safe mineral oil on the blender blades to create a protective barrier against air and moisture. For blender blades not in regular use, this tip is particularly useful.
  • Store in a Dry, Well-Ventilated Location: When storing your blender or the disassembled blades, pick a dry, cool spot away from moisture. Avoid capping it and let it open in a downward position on a rack to speed up the drying and ensure thorough airflow. Silica gel packets can also absorb any excess moisture in your storage area.
  • Regular Maintenance Checks: Regularly inspect your blades for any signs of rust or damage. Blades affected by rust often feel brittle and fragile, possibly weakening their performance. Spotting a small rust spot early on could save you from an extensive cleaning job or a complete blade replacement.
  • Use and Clean Regularly: Using your blender frequently prevents rusting since the blades don’t sit idle for long. Regular use, followed by proper cleaning and immediate drying, provides an effective routine to keep your blender rust-free.
  • Avoid Prolonged Exposure to Acidic Foods: Acidic foods can accelerate corrosion, so don’t let these foods sit in the blender for an extended period. After blending such ingredients, immediately clean and dry your blender components.

How to clean your blender quick and easy

Stainless steel blender blades cleaned and dried - Family Guide Central
Stainless steel blender blades cleaned and dried

When pressed for time and you have to clean your blender quick, follow these easy instructions:

  1. Fill the blender 1/2 way with hot water and a few drops of dish soap.
  2. Secure the lid and turn the machine on for a few seconds.
  3. Dump the contents and rinse.
  4. Dry the blades preferably on a rack.

Are blenders usually dishwasher-safe?

Most blender models are dishwasher safe. But, this only includes the blades and the container, not the base. This is because the base contains electrical mechanisms that can stop functioning if you put it in the dishwasher. Also, some brands don’t recommend putting the blades in the dishwasher as this can dull them.

To clean the base, use a moist, slightly soapy sponge to wipe everything down. Take a paper towel or dry, clean cloth immediately after to wipe off all moisture.

How to get food unstuck from your blender blades?

If you find food stuck to your blender blades, there are a couple of ways to get it off. If you just used them to make things like nut butter, you can make a smoothie afterward to reduce the stuck-on gunk.

But if what you made isn’t going to work in a smoothie or if it’s been there for a few days, then allow the blades to soak in soapy, warm water. After about 30 minutes to an hour, add more warm water and turn the machine on.

Then wash the blades as usual with dish soap and water followed by thorough drying.

Is it safe to use a blender with rusty blades?

No, it is not safe to use a blender with rusty blades. Rust is composed of material known as iron oxide, which is a toxic substance unsafe for human consumption.

Mild symptoms can range from vomiting and diarrhea to drowsiness and abdominal pain. More severe cases will have symptoms like low blood pressure, seizures, or coma.

If symptoms go untreated, even the more mild ones, it can lead to permanent organ damage and ultimately death.

When should I replace the blender blades?

You should replace blender blades when they become dull or they’re so bent and misshapen that they don’t properly blend food the way they used to.

These days, when you buy a blender, there is usually a three to five-year warranty that backs it up.

More often than not, the blades themselves should last at the very least 3 years (with proper maintenance) until you need to replace them.

Again, it really depends on how often you use it.

The bottom line

Rust isn’t good for anyone. Blending food with rusty blades could end up falling off into your food. Consuming rust can cause some major health issues. 

Furthermore, you need to get into the habit of washing your blender as soon as it is used. Leaving it in water or with food clinging onto it will eventually ignite the chemical reaction that produces rust which will force a burden on you to find ways to restore the blades.

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