For decades, the world's most widely used and highest quality weightlifting bars—York and Jackson, for example—had a natural finish, and nobody thought twice about the fact that they oxidized, turning dark brown over the years. Some of the finest bars in the world today, such as Schnell, maintain this tradition, but the norm for both bargain-basement bars and high-end IWF/IPF certified bars is chrome plating, leaving some people unaccustomed to the whole idea of a lifting bar going from bright to brown as it ages and oxidizes.
All IronMind Bars and some grip tools—Apollon’s Axle, Buffalo Bar, S-Cubed Bar, Big Boy Dumbbell Bars, Olympic Husky Handle DB Bars, Wrist Reinforcer, and Little Big Horn—are made from a natural finish steel. If you live in a humid place, you will want to keep the surface covered with something to block moisture or they will rust. We don’t know of a lifting bar ever oxidizing to the point of creating a structural risk, so the chief concern has always been cosmetic.
Apollon's Axle™ S-Cubed Bar™ Buffalo Bar®
Big Boy Dumbbell Bars™ Olympic Husky Handle Dumbbell Bars™ Wrist Reinforcer™ Little Big Horn™
To restore a rusty bar to its original shiny look:
1. First, use a polishing cream or light abrasive like steel wool or a scouring pad to remove the surface rust. To prevent scratch marks when using steel wool or a pad, use a twisting motion around the circumference of the bar, rather than sliding up and down the length of the bar.
2. Next, block moisture from the surface by wiping down the bar with a rag covered with a light oil or even car wax making sure to wipe off any excess before you lift.
3. Some people leave the knurling untreated, only cleaning the smooth sections of the bar.
If you prefer a durable protectant with a dry finish (unlike oil), you might want to give the Sentry Tuf-Cloth a try.
See also: Care and Feeding of IronMind Grippers