Cleaning steel

I have a steel surface that I'd like to treat to a brushed finish. The steel
has been sitting around for a while so it has a fair amount of rust and dirt.
The rust comes off quite easily by sanding. However, under the rust there are
small pits and cavities with black dirt in them and these are very hard to
sand away.
Any suggestions on how I could remove the dirt? The pits are so tiny that I
don't think they'd be too visible if I could just get the telltale black dirt
out of them. I'm willing to consider even drastic measures. Or do I have to
just sand deeper?
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how about a pressure washer.. it works to get the dirt out of the pits in the concrete sidewalks......
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If you don't mind a mild acid, MetalPrep will do it. Instead of the recommended 2:1 dilution with water, go to about 10 or 20 to one (assuming you have a large piece), it just takes longer.
MetalPrep can be had at automotive paint shops. You can also get it in an alcohol base.
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We typically use a knotted wire brush in one of our low hp bench grinders ( 1/2hp or less ). We've had good luck cleaning really nasty rusty steel to a nice brushed finish. You can pick these up at most Job Lot / Stock Overrun type stores for about $3-4 each.
Thanks, jw
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James Walsh Jr.

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