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How to Clean Rusty Golf Clubs: 6 Easy Steps to Follow

Last Update: June 21, 2023
How to Clean Rusty Golf Clubs

Are you new to golf? Did you buy an old set of clubs to give it a go? Are your clubs rusty? If you need advice on reviving old golf clubs or simply taking care of them, you’re in the right place. Here’s what you need to know about the repair and maintenance of rusty old golf clubs.

How Rust Affects Golf Clubs?

How to Clean Rusty Golf Clubs

When Iron comes in touch with moisture, the oxygen creates a redox reaction and produces Ferric oxide AKA Iron (III) Oxide. This reddish-brown compound is known as rust.

The bigger segment of golf clubs is made of metals. Chrome-plated steel, stainless steel, titanium, carbon-fiber-reinforced epoxy, graphite fiber-reinforced epoxy, or aluminum are used to make club shafts. The club handles, however, are made from molded synthetic rubber or wrapped leather.

Graphite and stainless steel are rust resilient metals. Mild carbon steel clubs are more prone to getting rust. But the accumulation of Iron Oxide doesn’t make the clubs useless. So instead of throwing out your old and rusty golf clubs, clean and revive them so you can take them to the golf ground again.

Rush Prevention Methods

As we know, prevention is always better than cure. Sometimes, rust can lead to further damage that’s known as pitting corrosion. The metallic surfaces end up with holes and dents on them that is extremely difficult to repair. So, it’s more convenient to protect your clubs so they don’t end up rusty.

  • The first thing is store your golf clubs in a cool, dry place and avoid humidity
  • After every session, wipe your clubs with cotton
  • Clean the clubs with a multipurpose lubricant once every 2/3 months
  • Check on them at least once a month
  • Use a rust remover spray on the metallic parts of the club that could help eliminate as well as prevent rust. But some rust removers might not be friendly to your clubs
  • If they do get wet, make sure to dry them out before storage

How to Clean Rusty Golf Clubs & Repair Rusty Golf Clubs

How to Clean Rusty Golf Clubs & Repair Rusty Golf Clubs

Step 1: Gather the tools you need

  • Fine steel wool
  • Hard bristle toothbrush
  • White vinegar
  • Sandpaper (dry and wet)
  • Bucket
  • Metal polish
  • Elbow grease
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Warm water
  • A rotary tool or a rag for polishing

Step 2: Cleaning

First, pour white vinegar into the bucket so that it covers the head of the club. You can splash onto the rest of the shaft using your hands. You could use a cloth too. Whatever you do, consider doing it outside or else your place will smell like vinegar.

Get the steel wool dipped in the vinegar and start rubbing the shaft. Be careful so you don’t damage the chrome finish. Keep dipping the steel wool frequently in the vinegar so it doesn’t dry up. Apply some pressure when you rub the rust off and you’d get a satisfactory result eventually.

On the surfaces with deeper layers of rust, use sandpapers. This normally happens around the head of the club. Also, add a bit of elbow grease and it would clean up just fine, without causing any damage on the finish.

Step 3: Focus on the face

Put the toothbrush into work. The face of a club has slender grooves that need to be cleaned thoroughly. Make sure you cover these areas. Dip the toothbrush in the vinegar and start brushing until the rust is gone. It normally takes around an hour to clean the faces of a whole set of clubs.

Step 4: Get to the handle

Now it’s time to clean the handle. Mix some warm water and dishwashing liquid. Dip the toothbrush into the mix and start scrubbing the handle. When you’re done, they will shine like newly bought ones.

Step 5: Rinse and dry

After all that scrubbing, spray them with water, using a hose or a gardening pot. Make sure all the surfaces and grooves are completely cleaned. Now let them dry. Keep them in the sun for an hour or so before moving on to the next step.

Step 6: Polishing

A rotary tool makes this step really easier but it’s not compulsory. You can use a rag and hand polish all your club shafts using an all-purpose metal polish. This will bring a good result and you’re ready to use your clubs.

Alternative Methods

  • Coca-Cola

Coca-cola can dissolve rust. But it might be harmful to the clubs if they’re in touch with it for an extended period. So try dipping the clubs in cola for a few minutes and get the scraping done within that time. Use a small brush to scrub off the rust.

  • Vinegar and Lemon Juice

Adding a dash of lemon juice to vinegar can help break down the rust on clubs. The added acidity of the lemon works as a catalyst. Wet a brush in the mixture and start cleaning.

  • Rust Remover

If these home remedies don’t work, get an industrial rust remover that’s commonly found at hardware stores. But this is an abrasive chemical that could damage club finishes and other surfaces. So, stay alert and only spray on surfaces you want to clean and always follow the instructions attached with the product you buy.

Refinishing Clubs

  • Professional Help

Professional finishing costs $50 per club which is pretty expensive. If you are fine with spending that much money, don’t hesitate to hire an expert for a shiny new finish for your clubs.

  • Wax

Wax is a considerable and helpful option. You can apply a coat of wax on shafts and golf heads. Wax is a slippery material. So don’t put on places where friction is needed, such as wedge faces.

  • New grips

If you’ve tried everything above but still didn’t get the desired result, try getting new grips. Replacing the grips of your clubs is a recommendable way to bring life to your old clubs.


1. Can you use WD40 on golf clubs?

Ans. Yes, you can. Take the clubs out of the bag, spray WD40 on them, and let them sit for a few minutes before wiping them clean.

2. Why do some golfers play with rusty wedges?

Ans. Raw, rusty wedges feel softer and spin more over time while the sun glare is reduced and the spins last longer, preserving the groove geometry as a result.

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