OA Vs Vinegar vs Citric Acid  RSS Feed

#1 2013-02-06 11:36pm

From: Mount Prospect, IL
Registered: 2009-07-31
Posts: 291
Bikes: 1

OA Vs Vinegar vs Citric Acid

I have seen a number of posts on using different methods to treat rust.  I am trying to work out what will work best for me.  I have a frame that was spray bombed that I have stripped and I would like to remove the surface rust on the inside and outside of the frame before I send it off to be powder coated.

I live in the midwest and as you can imagine it is cold here right now.  I would like to do the treatment in the house.  From what i have read it is probably not a good idea to go with OA indoors because of the fumes.  However, I have seen other posts about Citric acid causing some issues with bar metal (discoloring it etc.).  That leaves me with vinegar..

So, I wanted to ask the experts what they think?  Should i wait till it warms up and do the OA bath outside, go the vinegar route now...

Any feedback would be appreciated.


Like Schwinn Stings? - here's a great reference site:




#2 2013-02-07 11:41am

"Rim Specialist"
From: Port Angeles, WA
Registered: 2009-04-18
Posts: 3995
Bikes: 32

Re: OA Vs Vinegar vs Citric Acid

Both can be smelly. Not toxic or anything just strong smell that you might not want inside. I use to use vinegar but on my last restore is bought 2 lbs of citric acid on ebay. I feel it was less harsh to the chrome and did an awesome job!
You could put a small heater in your garage just to keep the temp above freezing .


No more media blasting at this time.
I am always glad to give advice any time!!!



#3 2013-02-07 12:28pm

road rashed
From: Minnesnowda
Registered: 2012-04-06
Posts: 283
Bikes: 8

Re: OA Vs Vinegar vs Citric Acid

I used an OA bath this winter and I am up in northern Minnesota. I have the bath in a covered container in my basement. I empty it right after I am done. No problems at all. cmb has a great thread and really detailed directions here:



Last edited by soulride (2013-02-07 12:30pm)

You know, pools are perfect for holding water...



#4 2013-04-10 7:54pm

From: Central Oregon
Registered: 2013-02-12
Posts: 52
Bikes: 9

Re: OA Vs Vinegar vs Citric Acid

Citric Acid killed it for me!!! never a cheaper easier way to clean off rust... literally wipes off

"Things we learn, are more true than things we've been taught."



#5 2013-04-11 9:35am

Museum Addict
From: New Jersey
Registered: 2008-05-22
Posts: 2440

Re: OA Vs Vinegar vs Citric Acid

The dirty vinegar is the worst smelling BY FAR.  Works good tho.



#6 2013-04-11 9:43am

Pro MemberBMX Archaeologist
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-03-25
Posts: 8259
For Sale: 8

Re: OA Vs Vinegar vs Citric Acid

If you are sending the frame to have it powder coated, the shop will in all likelihood blast (sand blast) the frame before they powder it, so you may not need to go through all this effort. Have you checked with them?

Martin Luther - “he who has no beer, has nothing to drink”

P. Trudeau - "Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature."

F#ck Chris Kyle & John Amery!



#7 2013-04-12 7:58am

Pro MemberNeomaxizoomdweebie
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Registered: 2011-05-14
Posts: 3906
Bikes: 4

Re: OA Vs Vinegar vs Citric Acid

Whichever route you go should likely be fine, but I'll add that if the parts are chrome plated, I'm all about oxalic acid because of how it reacts to the chrome substrate layer ...

But, that being said, if the bike is nickel or raw steel, I like either vinegar or citric acid better and if someone only wants to use just one type of acid (without concerning themselves over ideal results for one type of finish over another ...) - I'd recommend citric acid.

The clock struck two, I shot my goo...



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