It's a messy job. And without precautions it can be somewhat of a dangerous job. But if done properly, sandblasting is a very effective way to remove rust from steel and cast iron.
Sandblasting has been around since about 1870. Media blasting, as it's generally called now, has changed over the years, but the process has basically remained the same. The equipment consists of the media, an air compressor, and ablasting nozzle. The media or abrasive, (and in this case, the sand), is propelled at high speeds against a surface, either to smooth a rough surface, or to roughen a smooth surface. Because the sand rebounds, bounces, and skips off the surface being blasted, it can dangerous to the person doing the blasting, and can it can be very messy, unless the blasting is in an area dedicated to that purpose.
For the same reason, the sand can also wind up in cracks and crevices in equipment, which can cause damage, or it may be hidden and not discovered for years.
But with the proper safety precautions and advance preparations to contain the sand and protect other surfaces, sandblasting is an effective method for cleaning.
Specialized Industrial Cleaning, Concrete Coatings and Concrete Repair
Dry Ice Blasting