The 10 Best Rust Removers

Updated November 03, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Rust Removers
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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. If you have taken on the challenge of restoring a classic automobile, we salute you. But you're definitely going to need one of these rust removers to help give that machinery back its original shine. Of course, they are also excellent for many household uses, too, like the removal of rust stains from toilet bowls and restoring old saw blades. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rust remover on Amazon.

10. The Must For Rust

Krud Kutter's The Must For Rust can help neutralize the problem anywhere you need it. You can use the spray nozzle to quickly lubricate and shift a stuck screw or bolt but you'll need more patience with stubborn stains as it requires a long soaking time to get good results
  • concentrated formula lasts a while
  • fumes are very strong
  • not as protective as it claims
Brand Krud Kutter
Model MR326
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Loctite Naval Jelly

Loctite Naval Jelly comes in a single, a 2-, 4- or 6-pack to tackle any size of job. It will remove all grime from ferrous metals, so it is ready to be primed or painted, although you do need to brush on a very thick coat for it to work effectively.
  • water soluble for easy cleanup
  • includes a brush applicator
  • not ideal for vertical surfaces
Brand Henkel
Model 553472
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. RustAid Goof Off

RustAid Goof Off is a biodregradable spray gel that dissolves limescale and calcium deposits left on concrete or stucco caused by sprinklers. It takes a little bit of scrubbing to work and there is a possibility it may lighten your surface a little while removing rust.
  • safe for use around pets
  • suitable for indoor surfaces
  • may need multiple applications
Brand RustAid
Model GSX00101
Weight 8.9 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. WD-40 Specialist

WD-40 Specialist is a must-have for the mechanic or contractor dealing with older, rundown tools, screws and other metal hardware plagued with rust. It gets the job done in the most professional manner, without harming painted or non-metal parts.
  • large spout for quick pouring
  • commercial strength formula
  • safe biodegradable ingredients
Brand WD-40
Model 300045
Weight 9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

6. Whink 1081

Whink 1081 is a veritable miracle worker when it comes to cleaning and restoring toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and tile in older bathrooms. It won't stain or discolor fabrics and comes in at a price that won't break the bank, so feel free to use it liberally.
  • safe on copper and plastic plumbing
  • made in the usa
  • strong chemical smell
Brand Whink
Model 1081
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Workshop Hero Metal Rescue

Workshop Hero Metal Rescue is amazingly easy to use. All it takes is a few minutes of your time with zero elbow grease. You simply fill a plastic container with the solution, submerge that rusty saw blade or gear for five minutes, then wipe it clean.
  • safe to pour down the drain
  • does not damage paint
  • available in three sizes
Brand Workshop Hero
Model WH290487
Weight 9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Boeshield Rust Free

The formula contained in Boeshield Rust Free is biodegradable, nontoxic, and nonflammable. But don't worry, it's still tough on rust for light or heavy removal from cast iron, vinyl, chrome, fiberglass, and much more. The spray bottle offers precision in smaller areas.
  • safe to use indoors with ventilation
  • a little goes a long way
  • costly for a small bottle
Brand Boeshield
Model RF0008
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Evapo-Rust

Evapo-Rust is an industrial-strength option that will help you get the job done quickly and safely. It removes rust from a range of metals, like iron and steel, and is nontoxic and harmless to your skin or eyes if it happens to come in contact with them.
  • makes metal shine like new again
  • doesn't have a strong smell
  • sturdy handle for easy pouring
Brand Evapo-Rust
Model ER012
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Summit Brands Super Iron Out

Trust Summit Brands Super Iron Out to make any old and rusty item sparkle again. It works like a charm with minimal effort, even on the toughest stains, and the trigger spray makes it very convenient to target areas that are out of reach.
  • instructions are simple to follow
  • effective on old stubborn stains
  • doesn't leave behind any residue
Brand Summit Brands
Model LI0616PN
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Jelmar Calcium, Lime, Rust Pro

The Jelmar Calcium, Lime, Rust Pro, better known by its acronym CLR, is a powerhouse cleaner that helps break up and remove all three of the materials for which it is named. Use it to clean faucets and shower heads and to get that bathtub bright white again.
  • cleans most surfaces without damage
  • ideal for home and industrial use
  • will not harm plants or trees
Brand CLR
Weight 9.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Rust: The Silent Killer

It doesn't happen overnight. There's no sudden turning point when rust becomes a problem. It creeps into your life over many nights, slowly, as oxygen and moisture circulate through the air and rest on steel surfaces. Without a sound, the metal reacts with the atmosphere and begins to corrode. Rust can sneak into any garage or toolbox given time and inactivity. Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but when corrosion gets intense and metal starts to flake, it can cause a lot of problems.

Simple hand tools can become unusable if they're caked and flaking. Disfigured nuts and bolts marred by red-orange deposits can see use again, but they'll need some help. Saw blades, knives, scissors, and pliers all need to be rust-free to work properly.

Home and property owners will find a lot of uses for a quality rust remover. Bathrooms, of course, are notorious for corrosion due to all the moisture. Plumbing fixtures, faucets, and even toilet bowls are in danger of discoloration or damage, especially in the presence of hard water. Major appliances, whether in the kitchen, outdoors, or in the basement, are subject to constant use and extreme conditions. Driveways and parking lots often develop rust stains thanks to leaks from cars, and the right chemical can get rid of those blemishes. Outdoor fixtures like furniture and fences, often made from wrought iron, can easily oxidize in humid climates.

Cars can benefit from proper treatment in a few ways. Rust attacks vehicles in three main places: the engine bay, the undercarriage, and the body. Keeping corrosion out of your engine bay will extend the life of your car's most sensitive components. A rust-free underbody ensures that important parts like brakes, steering, and suspension stay in working order, keeping your driving experience safe. And body panels with no holes eaten out of them keep your car looking good while helping to prevent those internal oxidation infections.

Rust removers even have utility for collectors and artists. Antiques, especially guns, can suffer from discoloration and damage because of the older types of metal used in their construction. And there's nothing quite like a truly old piece of antique jewelry that's been restored to its former beauty.

Rust is so common, it might even cause you to wonder: what exactly am I removing?

What Is Rust, Anyway?

Time for a little science. Rust is a slow-acting reduction-oxidation reaction, also known as a redox. A redox is a chemical reaction where the involved particles alter their electron states. When two substances swap electrons, heat is released and one or more chemical products are formed. These reactions represent phenomena as simple as the formation of carbon dioxide and as complex as our body breaking down nutrients into raw cellular fuel.

Iron, the main component of steel, provides a good example of this process. As the iron is exposed to oxygen in the air, it slowly loses electrons, known as oxidizing. If there's water (liquid or vapor) in contact with the iron, the increase in available oxygen speeds up the process. The oxygen molecule gains those electrons in a step called reduction, and two products are created: heat and iron oxide. Iron oxide, of course, is none other than rust, the red devil itself.

Interestingly, another common example of a redox is fire. While rust is a slow reaction, fire is a very fast one. Rather than converting the fuel to an oxide slowly over time, fire does so with the help of intense heat to get it started. Once this happens, electrons are ripped from the fuel source so quickly that the process propagates itself, as the heat from the highly exothermic redox greatly increases the availability of free oxygen molecules in the air that serve as the reaction's oxidant.

This is very similar to the reaction that causes your car's body panels to turn reddish-brown, even if it's got a little more spark behind it. Indeed, cellular respiration, the rusting of an antique, and the burning of a campfire are all chemically similar, which is why rust is often called the slow fire.

What To Look For In A Chemical

Metal is usually pretty strong stuff, and rust is awfully difficult to physically remove from any specimen. It takes a lot of sanding and grinding to scrape a serious rust infestation off an old body panel, if it's possible at all. Nobody will blame you if you'd rather not spend an extra half-hour scrubbing the red stuff off all the specialized nuts and bolts needed to put your car back together once it's repaired.

There's no shortage of products on the market to replace that elbow grease. In fact, there are quite a few, and different types can serve different purposes. Some compounds as simple as vinegar work to remove rust, but might not be as effective as more powerful chemicals. Lubricating solvents similar to the household WD-40 do a decent job of removing rust.

While some products are designed for soaking the afflicted parts, others come in spray bottles and attack surface corrosion and discoloration. Some of these spray-on options include solvents effective against a range of chemicals that form deposits, making them perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.

Pay close attention to two important issues: any health hazards created by your chemical of choice, as well as its environmental toxicity. Especially if the runoff from your cleaning process will come anywhere near your lawn, garden, greywater tank, or groundwater source, it's imperative to find a non-toxic offering. Similarly, some chemicals absolutely require good ventilation, otherwise eye, throat, and lung damage could occur before you've even finished the project.

Remember to keep everything properly oiled and protected from the elements to minimize contact between metal and oxygen. If and when rust does invade your tools, cars, or house, there's a rust remover out there that will surely make your life easier.

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Last updated on November 03, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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