Rust is never an easy thing to deal with. Weather, regular wear and tear, and subpar materials can all lead to the pesky byproduct building up anywhere on your car. Having an effective removal method is vital to keep your car looking pristine and performing consistently over the years. In fact, many rust removers can be used in all sorts of applications, from kitchen appliances to household appliances.
Best Rust Removers in 2019
Despite accomplishing the same task, rust removers can vary from product to product. Method of application, composition, and range of functionality are all things to consider when looking for the right rust removal item for your needs. Below is a table outlining some of these characteristics.
1. Boeshield Rust Free Jug — Effective and Easy
The Boeshield rust remover doesn’t come cheap, but it has nothing but positive reception. The manufacturer recommendation is to use it on virtually any surface, but as some people point out, it is heavily effective regardless.
Acidic and Tough
The fact that this product is biodegradable by no means makes it a lightweight cleaning tool. If anything, its environmentally-friendly formula does little to affect its potency. The makers of this product specifically state that it is for just about any surface, from steel to porcelain to cast iron. So, at its core, the formula is centered around rust removal first and surface safety second. They also outline that it is not for use on guns or black oxide tools.
In the product description, they break down the steps. If the surface has some light rust, spray it on a rag and wipe it down. As one buyer notes, it requires a bit of effort to do it this way, but the end result is worth it. If the surface is heavily rusted, spray directly on the surface and scrub it with a pad—again, this takes a bit of hard work on the user’s part, as is to be expected. For lighter rusting, it is recommended to not spray directly on the surface, as it may lead to spotting. The strength of this product can be concluded in the manufacturer’s own words: “rust free is acidic and should be used with care.” They also recommend using a corrosion protection liquid afterwards to protect bare metal surfaces after cleaning.
Little to No Complaints
At its core, this product has very little negative responses to outline its weaknesses. Overall, people were pleasantly surprised with the results. One customer stated that he had used other rust removers in the past to no avail, and when he tried out Rust Free he was surprised at its effectiveness. He did add that it took some elbow grease on his part, but it nearly instantly cleared the mild rust that had been plaguing his table. Another buyer also highly recommends this product for both professional (at sea, specifically) and at-home use, due to its ability to effectively revitalize frozen metal parts.
If every review could be summarized into one, it would outline that the product works really well, takes little effort to remove lighter rusting (and some effort for heavier rust), and is good for use anywhere in the home due to its strong formula. All in all, this is a solid product—you just need to be careful when using it due to the acidity.
- Wide range of applications
- Easy to use
- For all degrees of rust
- Very acidic
2. Evapo-Rust The Original Super Safe Rust Remover — The Safe Option
The Evapo-Rust product in our list is one for smaller odd jobs. Marketed as the ultimate safe rust remover, it is great for anyone who is perhaps inexperienced with large amounts of rust around the house or on their car.
Safe In Every Way
The biggest selling point, as mentioned, is the care that went into making this product as safe and easy to use as possible. Not only is it non-toxic and biodegradable, but it also contains no acids, bases, solvents, or volatile compounds. There is no fear of damaging yourself or your equipment when using this product, due to its non-corrosive formula. Since it is also water based, it is safe around the eyes and on the skin, allowing users to apply it without the need for gloves or eyewear. Finally, it is reusable, and, as the makers of this remover advertise, one gallon of this product can de-rust 300 lb of steel.
As expected, this means it can be applied to a variety of rusty equipment and items, ranging from household items to rusty car parts. There is no scrubbing required (according to the manufacturer), and all you need to do is pour it on and let the rusty areas soak in the liquid.
All The Tight Spots
The effectiveness of this product can be summarized on an anecdote from a happy buyer. They had rust in hard-to-reach places and all the nooks and crannies of their engine. It cleaned rusted spots that they couldn’t clean over 30 years of owning the car, and it didn’t affect the metal or the paint. However, they did note that harsher rust took multiple soaks to get the job done, as the active chemical seemed to stop working after some time. Nearly all reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and a common theme with heavy, seemingly un-restorable rusting is that two soaks gets the job done.
On to the negatives—bad experiences are fairly rare with this product, but when someone has a complaint regarding this remover, it’s very harsh. In fact, there are countless reviews on the opposite end of the spectrum, where the product either takes way longer than advertised or doesn’t work at all. One buyer left his parts to soak for a week and found no positive result. However, in most of these cases, there is little mention of scrubbing or additional soaking done, so take the negatives with a pinch of salt.
- Wide range of applications
- Easy to use and convenient
- Completely safe on most surfaces and skin
- Very environmentally friendly
- Often requires multiple applications
- Several instances of zero result
3. Citrisurf 77 Plus Stainless Steel Cleaner and Rust Removal — Stainless Steel Miracle
The Citrisurf product is the first on our list that comes in a spray bottle. This means that not only is it more convenient, but you don’t have to shell out for an entire gallon of something that may or may not work in the long run. Let’s see how it compares in effectiveness.
As the name might suggest, the main ingredient in this rust remover is citric acid, something you find in many cleaning products for its effective grime removal and pleasant scent. You’ve probably used citric acid-based cleaning products in the form of dish soap or floor cleaners, but rust is a different beast entirely. The convenience of a spray bottle might turn many heads, but the end goal is, of course, to remove rust. Luckily, it seems to be very effective at not only removing rust, but also protecting surfaces from rusting in the future. However, it should be said that this product is marketed specifically for stainless steel, so if you’re looking to remove rust from household appliances made of plastic or cast iron, for example, it might not be as effective.
Miracle for Steel
Every review lauds this product as easy to use and extremely effective. While this product hasn’t made the rounds as much as some of the others in this list, the reception has been very positive; multiple customers used this on their deck/cables near the ocean, and after going through several different products, this one got the job done. In addition, multiple people credit this remover as very effective for preventing rust in the future. The spray provides “the highest chrome oxide levels possible” and is designed to passivate stainless steel just as well as it removes the rust itself. All in all, there have been no complaints about this product; it is easy to use, effective, and requires very little scrubbing (according to reviews). It is also biodegradable and non-toxic, and probably smells lemon-fresh, to boot.
- Convenient spray bottle
- Easy to use
- Very effective at maintaining steel
- Small bottle in comparison
- Designed specifically for stainless steel
4. Workshop Hero WH290487 Metal Rescue Rust Remover — Bath For Your Tools
This rust remover is one of the more popular ones in terms of exposure, and has a unique recommended application method. However, this results in using much more liquid than expected; to clean a 2-gallon gas tank, you’d be lucky to use only one gallon of this product.
The way this product works to remove rust is through an extended period of soaking, or a “bath”. Essentially, you place the rusted surface into a container (namely plastic) and soak it in this liquid. Depending on the severity of rust, it could take 5 minutes or an entire day to get the desired result. In a similar vein, for bigger items (a motorcycle gas tank, for example), you might need a lot more of this remover than expected. Because this product isn’t a simple “apply and scrub” remover, one gallon of it could last you anywhere from one application to an entire year—depending on what you’re working with.
On the other side of the coin, this method makes it very easy to use. As far as labor is concerned, all you need to do is find a plastic container and pour an acceptable amount of this liquid in it. In addition, despite the prolonged exposure of metal parts to this product, there is virtually no damage to be found.
As one might expect, a product this simple to use has a mix of positive and negative reviews. As for the positives, there are several buyers that were in awe at how well this worked—one user had tools that were rusted beyond any possible use, and an overnight soak in this remover restored them to practically brand new. A different user managed to clean their 2.5-gallon gas tank (hence the earlier example) with only a gallon of this liquid, moving the part around every hour or so to get into the entire surface. While the result wasn’t shockingly good, they were very pleased with how well it worked.
On the other end of the spectrum, some buyers were very displeased. There seems to be two patterns for the critical reviews: either it didn’t work at all, or it was too inefficient in terms of how much liquid was required for the job. Several buyers noted that even after following instructions to a tee, they saw no result in the rusted surfaces. One customer even soaked their gas tank for 8 days with no visible improvement in the rusting. As for the other complaints, many were left dissatisfied cause of the skewed cost-result ratio. For something that compares in price to some others in this list, this product doesn’t do all that much to compensate for how much you might need to use.
A few other complaints were aimed at the liquid not doing its job past a certain point and even peeling paint off metal items. One reviewer even suggested they add a “safe for infants” sticker on this product because “it does nothing.” Overall, the critical reviews made up around 20% of the total—if you don’t count positive reviews that noted its low cost-efficiency.
- Easy to use
- No labor required
- Various complaints about effectiveness
- Potential unwanted results with certain materials
5. Iron OUT Rust Stain Remover Spray Gel — Household Option
This product is the second spray bottle on our list, and unlike the previous one, is designed for all applications around the home. In fact, it is specifically marketed as a household item more so than a heavy-duty rust remover.
Cheap and Safe
This product is safe in every way, from the investment to the liquid itself. It is designed to be much safer than traditional rust removers, and hence is a very fitting choice for the bathroom and kitchen (and even carpet, as the label would suggest). However, despite its price and very safe formula, the manufacturers ensure that it is a very strong dissolver of heavy rust around the house. It is also designed to cling to the rust and dissolve it with no scrubbing required—a tough ask for something up to five times cheaper than other items in this list. Either way, if your bathroom or kitchen have rust all over, this product would be a safe option that might save your life.
Some pictures that satisfied buyers attach would lead you to believe that this is product is a miracle. Countless images of showers rusted beyond belief fill the viewer with dread and doubt, and yet the Iron OUT spray worked wonders to make them look brand new. Perhaps this is where it shines: specifically in the realm of iron rust stains.
However, when you step out of the iron-based rust world, this product is a mixed bag of reviews. Some users complained that this product didn’t even work—the spray bottle didn’t spray nearly as well as you would expect it to. Others noted that their stains were untouched, but it’s possible that the rust stains were different in nature. As the name suggests, the Iron OUT rust stain remover is only consistently effective on iron-based stainage. Others yet complained about the lack of a return policy, so when they found it didn’t work for them, they were out of luck.
- Easy to use
- Perfect for iron-based rust stains in the bathroom
- Complaints about the spray nozzle
- Mixed results for non-iron stains
- Not as heavy-duty as described
Guide to Choosing Your Rust Remover
As we’ve seen, there are many things to consider when choosing the rust remover you need. From application method to type of rust, there is a great deal of variance in both quality and specifications.
For the House
In terms of rust removers for everyday use, there are three that instantly spring to mind. The Iron OUT product is a very safe option in terms of price and application, and it has a track record of removing stains in the kitchen and bathroom. However, it’s best when the stains are iron-based in nature, as it might not even work for the type of stainage you have.
The Evapo-Rust is another safe option, but might require a little more patience and work. For heavy rust, it is recommended to be patient and use it more than once to completely clean a surface. In addition, it is stronger than the Iron OUT remover, as it can clean not only rust stains, but rust itself. It is a good middle-of-the-line option for basic rust removal around the house.
The Boeshield product is the most versatile and perhaps most effective of the three. It can be used anywhere in the home and in many different ways, from soaking to a simple scrub (depending on the degree or nature of rust). It is very acidic, however, and it is important to be careful when using it. Either way, if you’re looking to simply get the job done, this liquid works well and is versatile to boot.
More Specific Applications
For the tight spots that you can’t get with a simple scrub or douse of liquid, the Workshop Hero “bath” method is the way to go. However, it is quite cost-inefficient and might not work as well as advertised—despite the multitude of glowing reviews. If you’re in need of something that can clean out the inside of something (a gas tank, for example) or don’t want to put much work in, giving your rusted items a bath in this product might be for you.
Finally, the Citrisurf spray bottle is the most impressive of the items in this list—but it is narrowed down to stainless steel products. If you have any stainless steel rusting around the house or work (cables, car parts, you name it), this might be the right product due to its specifically-designed formula. It is easy to use and even prevents rusting in the future, moving it to the top of the list when it comes to stainless steel.
All in all, choosing the right rust remover is a matter of preference and, most importantly, requirements. Hopefully the above helps you choose the product to tackle the problems you are facing, from rusting near the ocean to a stained bathtub. In the end, all that matters is what you want to get rid of and how you prefer to do it.