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My girlfriend has a pasta maker, pictured.

Pasta Maker

Alas, it was accidentally cleaned with water, which is explictly forbidden (!!!) by the directions, which state:

After using, clean with dry cloth or brush. Occasionally apply a few drops of oil to cylinder ends, turning cylinders to distribute oil evenly.

Never use water on this machine.

Alas, it has begun to rust, as shown here:

Metal's Mortal Enemy!

More photos.

Is there anything I can do to recover the sanctity of my beloved's pasta maker?

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I wonder if you could use electrolysis and then dry it really quickly. –  rfusca Feb 15 '12 at 15:50
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4 Answers

On Valentines Day, no less! Shame!

The good news is that I think it will be fine. Just some surface rust on the cutters and loss of lubrication on the moving components.

For the rust, start simple and move up:

  1. I would start by cleaning with a sponge and some Bar Keepers Friend. It usually handles surface rust pretty well.
  2. If that doesn't get it all, you could try a stronger chemical like CLR (Calcium Lime Rust), or you could use some 0000 or 000 steel wool from the hardware store (0000 is very fine, 000 is fine). Rub the rusty rollers firmly, adjusting the rollers to get all the corners. Go slow with abrasives on the chrome covers - 0000 steel wool is fine for chrome if it has any surface rust, but 000 or 00 could dull the chrome if used aggressively.

For the lubrication, use whatever oil is recommended in the manual, or any food-grade mineral oil (usually sold at kitchen stores for general lubrication tasks or oiling wooden utensils). Just put a few drops on each moving part and move the rollers to distribute. Wipe off any excess with a cloth.

Finally, buy your girl something nice so she keeps making fresh pasta for you. ;)

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You have to use water with the Bar Keeper's Friend, right? So you might have to be really careful to get it dry after trying to clean off the rust. (Compressed air? Hair dryer?) –  Jefromi Feb 15 '12 at 6:18
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True, you would need additional water with the Bar Keeper's Friend. The key with things like this though is not to let water sit on it - to remove the rinse water, you'd want to use a hair dryer (good idea), or by putting it in a warm oven. Treat it a bit like you'd treat a carbon steel knife - even if it gets wet, don't let it STAY wet. –  Sam Ley Feb 15 '12 at 6:39
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Put the pasta maker in a bag of rice for a few days to make sure all the internal parts are good and dry. This will help avoid additional rusting. Then follow Sam Ley's answer to clean up the existing rust and lubricate.

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I'd start by making up a batch of sacrificial pasta that you can run through the roller and the cutters. This will pick up any remaining moisture, remove any rust particles that the cutters knock off each other, and give you a better idea of how bad the damage is.

If the cutters still cut cleanly and the damage is mostly cosmetic, that's good news. You could try to remove rust by carefully applying something like a non-scratch Scotch-Brite scouring pad, but I'd avoid abrasives like steel wool. You want to be careful to avoid making the problem any worse than it is.

If the cutters no longer cut cleanly, it may be time to look for replacement parts. If you can locate the manufacturer, that's your best bet for getting proper parts. You might even be able to send the machine back to be refurbished. Check the instruction manual, if you have it, for an address, phone number, whatever might help. If that's not an option because the manufacturer is out of business or whatever, look for similar machines that you can use for parts. Maybe you'll find a Domus machine on eBay that has a good set of cutters. Carefully measure the width of the cutters and check other machines -- it may be that the cutting rollers from an Atlas or Imperia machine will fit into your Domus.

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The sacrificial pasta batch is a great idea, just make sure you lube the rollers a bit first. As for abrasives, 0000 steel wool is more gentle than a Scotchbrite pad, and is very commonly used for restoring carbon steel cutters and removing surface rust from chrome. –  Sam Ley Feb 15 '12 at 16:22
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This problem can be split into two subproblems:

  1. removing the rust
  2. putting the machine at work again

Point 1 If you can disassemble it it would be better, in any case you have penty of methods to remove rust. I suggest mechanical+chemical methods like the ones reported here:

Point 2 You'll have to sacrify some pasta, maybe putting the same pasta severa time in the machine in order to clean it.

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