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Rusty Jar Lid Rehab

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I got these fabulous, big antique pickled herring jars at a garage sale earlier this season--cool shapes and complete with lids. They're great for storing food except that the lids are rusted on the inside which makes them hard to screw on and off. Plus the rust gets into the jar and the food which, obviously, is boo.

Does anyone have any ideas about how I could food-safely rehab the interiors of these lids? The outsides have great screenprinting on them and it would subtract a lot of the appeal if I just replaced them with new lids, KWIM?

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  1. You can try using something like CLR (calcium, lime, rust remover). I have used the Home Depot 'Zep' brand with good results. I would try filling the lids partway with the solution, and see what happens. You'll want to wear gloves when doing this, as the stuff is not nice to your skin. It may also tend to remove the screenprinting, so try to keep it off that. I have used this stuff to clean rusty bolts from a car, and it worked nicely.

    Alternatively, you could use steel wool (like a brillo pad). I think the chemical solution might be most effective, though.