Best Rust Removers: Clean and Protect Your Vehicle
Prevent the spread of rust and remove it for good with these high-quality rust removers.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON October 7, 2019
No matter how carefully you maintain your car with regular cleanings, detailings, waxes and other types of care, you can still fall victim to one of the most common problems on the road: rust. Thanks to moisture and damp weather, salt on the roads paired with humidity that hides moisture across your vehicle’s undercarriage, rust and corrosion are incredibly common. And even when you take great pains to protect your car from rust, it can still sneak up on you. But there is one way to fix unsightly, damage-causing rust. You can apply a rust remover.
Rust removers are specialty automotive products (and even household products) that are designed to eliminate rust as soon as you spot it. Whether rust appears on your still-glossy paint job or underneath your car in less visible locations, a rust remover can target that growing corrosion and help you restore its vital parts back to perfectly solid, glistening metal. We’ve rounded up the best rust removers you can try right here.
A water-based rust remover that restores metal surfaces and extends the lifespan of the material. The formula also protects and prevents further corrosion
- Easy to apply
- Quick to clean with soap and water
- Can be used on nearly any appliance or marine vehicle
- It has to be applied by hand and does not include a spray bottle
- It’s recommended that you use it with a primer to prevent discoloration in the metal
This is a non-toxic and eco-friendly rust remover that is simple to apply. It’s water-based and is capable of removing rust without scrubbing
- Versatile and can be used on metal, plastic, PVC, rubber, and steel
- Non-corrosive and biodegradable
- Works best on surface rust, so for anything deeper you will need a sandblaster
- If left open for a while, it will also lose some of its power
This product removes and dissolves rust on metal materials. It’s non-toxic and biodegradable
- Solution effectively grinds away rust without using acids or caustic chemicals
- Its powerful blend keeps you from having to scrub or chip away the rust
- You will need to buy a spray bottle to reach more difficult areas
- May also take a lot of the compound to successfully remove rust
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Rust Remover
- Maintain your car’s appearance. As it grows, rust becomes more than an ugly spot on your car. It can literally eat through the metal body, leaving behind ugly holes and jagged areas of damage. If you want to keep your car looking its best, a rust remover can prevent rust from expanding and causing whole-car damage that ruins its sleek, stylish appearance. With a rust remover, you can eliminate small spots and keep your vehicle looking its best.
- Prevents damage. As rust and corrosion take hold in various places on your car, damage can become a serious problem. These seemingly small and unsightly issues can eat holes both in your car’s body and some of its essential parts. A rust remover helps you prevent this costly and sometimes irreparable damage. By catching rust and removing it early on, you’ll be able to avoid the more significant damage that can happen after years of ignoring or avoiding rust.
- Avoid costly repairs. Like we just mentioned, letting rust grow unfettered can result in some serious repairs. And the cost of fixing corrosion damage can be pretty expensive. Keep a rust remover in your car maintenance toolkit, however, and you can avoid these costly expenses. Instead, you can remove small amounts of rust right at home, saving yourself from paying even more later on.
- Maintain resale value. By keeping your car in good shape with a rust remover (and eliminating any rust right when you find it), you’ll actually help your vehicle maintain its resale value. No one wants to buy a car that’s riddled with rust or totally unattractive thanks to corrosion-caused damage. A rust remover can help you maintain your car in the ways most critical to its value for potential buyers.
- Versatility. Rust removers aren’t just for vehicles! These products are actually versatile cleaning and maintenance products for other metal items too. You can put a single bottle of rust remover to work beyond your garage — you can use it to clean up rusty tools, remove rust throughout your house, and even use some formulas to remove rust on stainless steel appliances or ceramic items link sinks and tubs.
Types of Rust Removers
Some rust remover products come in spray bottles or aerosol cans for easy application. Typically, these products are designed for rust stains and not deep rust. Spray formulas are good if the rust is located in a hard-to-reach spot. They usually don't require the user to chisel or scrape away the rust.
If you have a metal surface area with a lot of built-up rust, you may need to soak the part to treat the corrosion. Sometimes this process takes just a few minutes, but tougher jobs may require an overnight treatment. Look for brands that have reusable liquid, so you get more bang for your buck.
For minor rust stains on carpets, clothing, bathtubs, sinks, and toilets, you may want to use a rust remover powder. You can sprinkle the formula into your toilet bowl or even into a washing machine if necessary. This type of product is good if your water has a high level of iron in it.
Chemical-Based Rust Removers
Many people use chemical rust removers, which are great for tackling stains and rust buildup. For example, acid-based removers are very fast-acting and effective and typically take just a few minutes to work. However, they emit toxic fumes and need to be used with protective equipment in a ventilated area. They can also be a little too corrosive and cause surface damage if not used correctly.
Eco-Friendly Rust Removers
If you don't want to deal with potentially hazardous chemicals, choose one containing chelating agents instead. These products are acid-free and non-toxic, so they're better for you and the environment. They don't work as quickly as chemical-based rust removers, but they're still effective at cleaning a variety of tools and surface areas.
If you have so much rust that it's difficult to remove, consider using a rust converter. It turns rust into a black coating that will protect the surface area and act as a primer, so you can paint it with oil or epoxy-based products. Rust converters work on iron or steel but not on aluminum, copper, or stainless or galvanized steel.
Corroseal is made by the Rodda Paint Company in Portland, Ore. It's designed for a wide variety of uses, including shovels, wheelbarrows, garden tools, boats, trailers, car undercarriages, truck beds, and industrial applications. The Rodda Paint Company was founded in 1932. One top product is the Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter.
Evapo-Rust was founded in 1997 and is a non-toxic, biodegradable, non-corrosive formula that removes rust without harming unrusted surfaces. The company is based in Springdale, Arizona. Its popular product is the Evapo-Rust The Original Super Safe Rust Remover.
The WD-40 company is headquartered in San Diego, Calif., and made its eponymous formula in the 1950s. It produces a series of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers, including the WD-40 Specialist Rust Remover Soak.
Rust Remover Pricing
- Under $10: Did you know that you can find rust remover that’s as cheap as $4 or $5? It’s true — some products are incredibly affordable and can be purchased for significantly less than $10 in total. In this budget-friendly range, you’ll find small containers that are great for small spot treatments or spray-on application.
- $11 to $25: You’ll find most rust removers priced within this range, giving you plenty of different options and solution types for a relatively reasonable investment. You can choose from just about any type of rust remover within these prices.
- $26 and up: If you need an exceptionally strong rust remover or simply want to buy more at one time, expect to spend $26 or more. Some rust remover products, especially those sold in bulk packages that can provide you with a whole lot of uses, can be priced as high as $50.
You should decide what you plan on using the product for before you make a purchase. If you want to remove the rust from a collection of tools, then you need a product that will allow you to soak them. If you plan on using the rust remover in the bathroom, the product should be safe to use on septic systems and pipes. There are also non-toxic and biodegradable options if you want something that is environmentally-friendly.
It goes without saying that most people want a rust remover that is easy to apply, but some formulas are easier to use than others and require less preparation. Check to see if the product requires you to scrub or scrape the surface area during application. If possible, look for one that dissolves rust quickly and efficiently without requiring much elbow grease.
In addition to removing rust, some products also incorporate a protective barrier that prevents rust from coming back. This is a great added feature; otherwise, you may have to reapply the product when rust returns. Some of the best products have anti-moisture seals that keep rust and corrosion at bay.
- Size. Rust remover products come in a variety of sizes. Choose one that matches your task to save money and space. Some brands come in quart containers, gallon jugs, or spray containers. Which one will meet your needs? Also, take into consideration how much square footage the product can treat. Some formulas are designed to work on up to several hundred square feet without a problem.
- Suitability for Different Materials. Before applying any kind of rust treatment or remover product to your vehicle, make sure you check what kinds of materials it’s suited for. Some are perfectly safe to use on paint and clear coats; others really only work on bare, untreated metal. Always make sure to consider the materials it’s recommended for — and you can give it a small spot test before applying it widely.
- Versatility. While versatility may not be one of the top features you need to look for in a rust remover, it’s worth considering. There are quite a few rust removers that’ll work both on your vehicle and other items, from your tools to your home appliances to all kinds of metal goods. If you find yourself frequently frustrated by rust, then you’ll get some great bang for your buck by choosing a rust remover that’s very versatile. One that can be used for multiple products is the best investment for your needs.
Best Rust Removers Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- To make the process more effective, first, scrape or scrub away the rust with a wire brush. Then you can apply the rust remover to speed things up.
- While rust remover may not be dangerous to your skin, you should still consider wearing gloves to avoid it from getting on you.
- Rust remover isn’t a fix-all guarantee. There may be rust that is too large or too deep to properly be removed by the solution. You will need to grind it down or take it to a professional if the remover isn’t effective.
- It’s important to properly dispose of the rust remover. Different removers have their own levels of toxicity, and they could impact how you get rid of it.
Q: What materials can I use a rust remover on?
You can apply rust removers on a wide selection of metals and other materials. They work best on iron and metal but can also be used on steel. You can use them on vehicles or construction machinery. You can also use them on plastic and fiberglass to remove rust on boats.
Q: Do I need to wear protective clothing when using rust remover?
Many rust removers can contain a high level of toxicity, so it’s wise to protect yourself from harsh chemicals. Consider wearing thick materials, and use gloves and eyewear to keep your eyes safe. Also, a paint mask will prevent any chemicals from entering your mouth.
Q: What’s the difference between a rust converter and a rust remover?
A rust converter covers the rust to prevent it from spreading. You can then chip it away or paint over it to match the previous color. A rust remover completely removes rust from a surface.
Q: What is the best rust remover for chrome?
If you have chrome components that are spotted and speckled with rust, there are a few different products you can use. Any of our best rust remover products mentioned here that are safe for chrome will do the trick. However, CLR Calcium Lime and Rust Remover and Krud Kutter Rust Remover are two of the best solutions if you’re trying to eliminate rust on once-sparkling chrome.
For one of the best ways to fight against rust, consider the Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter.
Or save some cash and get the Evapo-Rust The Original Super Safe Rust Remover to combat rust and prevent it from spreading.