Clean and Preparation
Pipe décor is made from industrial strength, malleable iron pipe, and fittings. It is very strong and durable. But as with most industrial-strength anything, there are drawbacks.
One is that authentic pipe has a sheen of oil that helps prevent rust. After all, it is iron metal and metal rusts. So this post is about how I clean and prepare the pipe and fittings before I even start a project.
I used some old face cloths or rags. I used white ones so I can show how much cleaning this pipe needed. I used different 6-in pipes for this demonstration.
Mind you, the work area is a fairly large room, so I didn’t think twice about working without a face mask. But the strong odor from Goof Off certainly changed my mind.
All three worked well to remove the oil, but my preference was Goo Gone. I was able to remove the odd sheen by wiping down the pipe with a clean, dry rag. I wiped down all three pipes and my fingers were unstained.
I let them sit in the bucket for a few seconds, even though Goo Gone didn’t smell bad at all when I just whetted down a rag, in it’s purest form and with as much as I put in the bucket, it was unpleasant. But after wiping the fittings down with a clean dry rag, it was good to go.
I prefer cleaning the pipes and fittings before I work on them because I really don’t like the stains on my hands. I would also recommend using latex gloves, you don’t want these chemicals on your hands. Using mineral spirits left my fingernails soft, I learned my lesson quickly.
Other people wipe them down after their project is done, it’s all about personal preference.
Now that the pipes are clean, they must be sealed against rust.
Someone had mentioned I try Brasso, which is supposed to clean and polish. I tried it, it didn’t go well. First, this has been around for decades, long before anyone thought of using pipe for decor. Second, it’s messy, as you can see by the messy cap. Once you wipe it on the metal, it needed to be wiped off and polished. After all the cleaning I did, I didn’t want to delay my assembly further.
Instead, I opted for the easiest way. I got a clear coat spray paint.
The best thing about spray paint is that there is a variety of different colors and even textures that can be sprayed on easily.
There is no right or wrong in DIY, it’s however and whatever you’re comfortable with. A project can be quick and easy or elaborate and complex.
Regardless of your creation, it’s highly recommended to clean and seal your pipe.