Vintage table & chair set...rusting legs.

I picked up a 1950s “cracked ice” table and chair set at an estate sale back about 15 years ago, and have used it ever since - it’s a great kitchen set. At some point, someone had put adhesive felt on the bottom of the silvertone metal tube legs/supports on the chairs (which have a ‘U’ shaped footprint) but this has long ago fallen apart, leaving only remnants.

Now I have kids, and where there are kids there will be spills, and where there are spills…these chairs rust. They leave rust marks on my linoleum. The floor looks horrible. I tried putting clear tape on the bottoms of the tubing, but it only worked briefly. Pick the chair up and look at the underside of the ‘U’ foot and it’s…ugh, disgusting, and it’s in my kitchen!!

Can anyone suggest an inexpensive fix, patch, or other approach that will keep my floor cleaner? Mopping isn’t really a fix, because if the floor isn’t perfectly dry when the chair is set back down, the moisture contributes to further rust. The only things I can come up with are ‘a way to wrap or coat the tubing to protect it’ or ‘some sort of rug or floor covering for the chairs to sit on’.

What about scrubbing the legs, scouring them with a fine steel wool to remove as much of the rust as possible, and then spraying on some sort of protective paint? It won’t be proper re-chroming, but I can’t afford to do a proper re-chroming at any rate.

Gentle scrubbing with steel wool might remove some of the rust. Then you should treat the area with a rust neutralizer (which will turn the rust black, but kill it) and perhaps coat with a clear paint.

After that, I’d be tempted to make “feet” for it by slicing open the sides of some short lengths of rubber hose (try an auto parts store) or clear poly flexible tubing (hardware store) and slipping them onto the horizontal part of the legs.