Zinc is used as a finish for screws to give an extra layer of protection to prevent rusting, however it has a bright finish and isn't a good match for traditional ironmongery. If you are trying to find traditional wood screws with a darker, self-colour antiqued finish, watch the video below or read our step-by-step guide How To Remove Zinc Plating From Screws.
How To Remove Zinc Plating From Screws: Items Needed
Here is a checklist of items needed for the job. Make sure you have the items you need before you start:
Citric acid crystals, warm water, container, spoon, cloth, WD40, zinc plated screws.
Step 1: Make Up The Citric Acid Solution
- Put x2 spoons of citric acid into the container.
- Add warm water.
- Mix to dissolve.
Step 2: Soak Screws In The Solution
- Add screws to the solution and mix.
- Leave the screws to soak. Depending upon the thickness of the coating leave for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Tip: The reaction of the citric acid and the zinc coating will create a rotten-egg smell therefore it is best to leave the conatiner outside where possible, or away from the main living areas of your home.
- The acid will attack the zinc and will begin to froth up.
- The screws will become darker the longer they are left in the solution. If you need a darker screw you can double the amount of citric acid and leave them in the solution for twice as long.
Step 3: Wash & Dry
- Once the screws have reached the desired colour (minimum 30 minutes) tip the solution away and wash the screws in plain water.
- Put the screws onto the cloth and dry.
- Note: The screws will oxidise quickly. Make sure they are dried throroughly before the next step.
Step 4: Protect
- With zinc coating removed you will need to protect the screws from rusting.
- Spray carefully with WD40.
- Your screws are now ready to use.
- For ongoing maintenance please give an ocassional spray with WD40.
You can see the difference in this before and after photo. The zinc-stripped screws can now be used in antique style ironmongery without looking out of place.