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.

List of items needed for stripping zinc plating from screws


Step 1: Make Up The Citric Acid Solution

Making up 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

 Screws soaking in citric acid 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

Drying screws after soaking in citric acid

  • 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

Spraying stripped screws with WD40

  • 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.



Before and after zinc stripping

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.

We hope you found this step-by-guide helpful. Please do check out our other video and step-by-step guides, including How To Hang A Door and How To Fit A Tubular Latch.


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