Chemically remove rust

This blog post will explain the topic, ‘chemically remove rust” and cover topics like how to remove rust chemically, a few chemical methods of removing rust, and frequently asked questions.

How to remove rust chemically?

Rust can be removed chemically by using phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is the most often used rust-removal agent. When sprayed on rust, the solution causes a chemical reaction, turning it into a water-soluble molecule that can be washed away fast and simply.

Few chemical methods of removing rust:

Few chemical methods of removing rust are given below:

  • Molasses
  • Evapo-rust
  • Oxalic Acid
  • Restore Rust Remover Solution
  • Naval Jelly
  • Vinegar (white)
  • Lime/Lemon Juice with Salt
  • Citric Acid
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Salt and Vinegar


Molasses derived from sugar cane has a high acidity level (beet molasses has a pH of 8.0). In the papers, molasses to freshwater ratios of 1:4, 1:6, or 1:9 have been suggested. Clarkson’s Fancy Molasses, for example, has a pH of 4.5-6.0. (with a 1:1 dilution). When the freshwater and molasses combination is exposed to the atmosphere, it ferments, yielding acetic acid and other compounds. The disadvantage of molasses is that it is very slow to produce – it may take a week or more. If you keep molasses in the bath for too long, it won’t eliminate as much steel. It appears to be the gentlest.


Evapo-Rust is a chemical product that works by binding to iron by chelation. An iron chelator is a substance that reacts with specific metal ions to generate a soluble, complicated compound that inactivates the ions, preventing them from reacting with other components or ions to form precipitates. The iron may develop a black coating as a result of this process; the longer the object remains in the liquid, the darker the film grows.

Evaporust is everything a corrosion remover should be: non-toxic, fume-free, and recyclable. It’s incredible. Large goods may be prohibitively pricey.

Oxalic Acid

The organic chemical oxalic acid has the formula H2C2O4.   By shaking some into a moist cloth, spreading it all over the area, and keeping it for 10-15 minutes, you may also be used as a paste. This is said to be quite effective in removing corrosion from chrome-plated surfaces.

Restore Rust Remover Solution

Restore Rust Remover Solution is a unique product from the United Kingdom. When a wooden grip can’t be readily detached in order to submerge the whole instrument, a gel is ideal. Etidronic acids and trisodium nitrilotriacetate are both included in the formulation. Both are pH-neutral chelating chemicals.

Naval Jelly

Loctite, a firm that specializes in sealants, glue, and surface coating, makes Naval Jelly, a famous rust-removal solution. Naval Jelly is a gel, not a liquid, as its name implies, making it less prone to dribble or spill while in use.

The basis of Naval Jelly’s recipe is phosphoric acid. Because Naval Jelly is strong enough to remove paint and may even scorch human flesh, wear gloves and keep it away from paintwork while dealing with it. Because phosphoric acid may be dangerous if breathed over a long length of time, use Naval Jelly in a well-ventilated location.

Simply brush Naval Jelly over a corroded or damaged metal substrate, wait five to ten minutes, and then wash clean with fresh water. It’s not a good idea to leave Naval Jelly on any object for more than fifteen min.

Vinegar (white)

White vinegar is one of those home goods that seems to have a wide range of applications.

Steps of removing rust with vinegar:

  • This procedure works best in areas that have a lot of corrosion, particularly if the object can be immersed.
  • The rust easily interacts with the vinegar and dissolves, making it an excellent corrosion remover. 
  • If the rusted object is tiny enough to be immersed in a bath of white vinegar, just leave it there for a few hours before wiping the paste away.
  • If your item is too big to immerse, just pour the white vinegar over the area and wait for it to do its job.
  • You might also wipe/scrub the corrosion off with steel wool, a bristle brush, or even aluminum foil steeped in vinegar.
  • If required, this procedure may be repeated.
  • Simply clean with water and soap after you’re satisfied with the outcome and let it dry.

Lime/Lemon Juice with Salt

Another inexpensive and efficient technique to remove corrosion is to use a lime as rust remover. This approach works well on extremely light corroded surfaces. Due to the nature of the items utilized, it’s ideal for things like kitchen knives.

Steps of removing rust with lemon:

  • All you have to do is apply a coating of salt to the rusty surface. After that, squeeze a lemon or lime over the salt. Give 2 – 4 hours of work time and generously apply both items.
  • Finally, scrape the combination clean. We suggest using the remaining rind/s to help eliminate the combination at first, but if you need more aid, steel wool or a bristle brush may be used.
  • If required, this procedure may be repeated safely.
  • Allow drying after washing the leftovers of the solution with soap and water.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is another method for efficiently eliminating rust. This approach works well on more severe corrosion that can readily be immersed.

Please be warned that this procedure will eliminate any paint or other surface coverings. If you wish to prevent this, we suggest utilizing one of the other choices given above.

Steps of removing rust with citric acid:

  • To use the citric acid procedure, fill a bath with a few inches of warm water and add 2–3 teaspoons of citric acid.
  • Immerse your object in the water and let it work for a few hours (even overnight if necessary).
  • After that, take the object out of the solution, scrape any free flaking corrosion with steel wool or a bristle brush, wash, and dry.

Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid is a strong substance that may be used to etch cement, reduce the pH of chlorinated water, and remove corrosion and rust from metal. Muriatic acid is available from a number of well-known manufacturers, such as Klean Strip, and Jasco.

Muriatic acid is quite similar to HCL, in terms of composition. In truth, the two acids are almost identical, with the exception that muriatic acid includes contaminants. The majority of these contaminants were added to boost the acid’s effectiveness. 

HCL is already a potent acid (in fact, it aids in the digestion of food in human tummies), therefore muriatic acid is no different. When dealing with muriatic acid, constantly take the essential safety measures, such as wearing protective gloves and basic surgical masks, and operating in a well-ventilated location.

Muriatic acid should only be used on stainless steel since it may quickly oxidize other materials. Brush muriatic acid over a surface of the metal, scrape carefully and then neutralize the acid with sodium bicarbonate after the apparent rust has disappeared.

Salt and Vinegar

You may produce your own rusty removers in addition to citric acid. Vinegar and salts are also effective in removing corrosion from tiny metal items. This is because vinegar (which is often used in preparing food) is a weak acid that becomes more acidic when salt is added.

Place the rusty things in a plastic container and fill it with white vinegar to eliminate corrosion using vinegar and salt. For every gallon of vinegar, add one cup of salt, mix gently, and allow for 12 hours or till all visible corrosion has disappeared.

Vinegar and salt, unlike many store-bought corrosion removers, are not dangerous to people. Working with them does not need the use of any safety equipment. They may also be rinsed down the drain with no problems.

Other Chemicals for Rust Removal

Because some of these chemicals are quite potent, extra caution should be used while utilizing them. Before using chemicals, we suggest attempting one of the aforementioned approaches first.

Phosphoric acid is the most often used rust-removal agent. When sprayed on rust, the solution causes a chemical reaction, turning it into a water-soluble molecule that can be washed away fast and simply.

This sort of chemical is quite efficient and fast to function, but it is crucial to note that it is very poisonous. If you choose this option, pay special attention to which chemicals are contained in the product and follow the directions to the letter.

When working with these compounds, you should wear gloves, a mask, adequate close-toed shoes, a lengthy t-shirt, and long trousers.

Materials Needed
Naval Jelly
Lemon Juice
Oxalic Acid
Citric Acid
Muriatic Acid
Restore Rust Remover Solution
Steel Wool
Bristle Brush

Types of Chemical Removers

Commercial-grade chemicals that eat away at corrosion build-up and stains are the most popular technique of corrosion removal. Chemical corrosion removers are divided into three categories:

  • Acids
  • Petroleum-based chemicals
  • Sodium hydrosulfite


Nitric acid, acetic acid (white vinegar), phosphoric acid, HCl, and citric acid are some examples of acids. A corrosion remover’s acid content is typically about 30%, which is the greatest quantity that may dissolve in water and act as a cleaning solution. Acids create severe chemical vapors that must be used outside or in a well-ventilated location, and you must use safety gear when using chemicals (goggles, face mask or respirator, rubber gloves).

Acids may also cause surface damage owing to their corrosiveness. Naval Jelly, a caustic corrosion remover based on phosphoric acid, is suitable for badly corroded iron or steel, but not for delicate materials such as textiles, copper, chrome, alloy steels, concrete, glass, granite, polymers, or painted surfaces (it will remove paint). Naval jelly, on the other hand, removes corrosion in approximately five to ten minutes and any extra product may be washed away with water.

Petroleum-based chemicals:

Solvents derived from petroleum, such as WD-40. While not as caustic or dangerous as acids, these compounds often disperse with pressured gases, which are combustible and may cause respiratory problems. These products might take 24 hours to fully take action.

Sodium hydrosulfite:

A common active component in powdered corrosion removers is sodium hydrosulfite. This salt mixture may be used to remove rust spots from the cloth. According to research conducted by the US General Services Administration, it may also eliminate rust spots from cement, stone, and granite. 

Sodium hydrosulfite may be used in baths, toilets, kitchens, and washers to minimize the need for scraping away spots in cleaning goods. Rust spots should vanish in five to thirty minutes after they’ve been applied.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs, “chemically remove rust?”

What household chemical can remove rust?

Vinegar. The most frequent home ingredient used to eliminate corrosion is vinegar. It’s especially useful for little goods that can fit into a basin and be soaked in vinegar. Dip your rusted cutlery in vinegar for at least a day.

Is WD-40 a rust inhibitor?

WD-40 Specialist® Rust Inhibitor is an anti-rust spray that is suited for preventive maintenance and usage in high-humidity situations. It features a long-lasting composition that prevents rust and corrosion on metal items for up to a year outside or two years inside.

How do you remove heavy rust?

Steps of removing heavy rust:

  • Simply immerse the rusted metal item in white vinegar for a few hours before wiping the corrosion away. 
  • If the item is too big, just pour white vinegar evenly on the surface and let it sit for a few minutes.

How do you remove thick rust?

  • Make a thick paste with water and baking soda and rub it all over the metal, ensuring sure rusty parts are fully coated. 
  • Allow an hour or so for the paste to dry on the item. 
  • Scrub the piece with steel wool or a scrubbing brush to eliminate the corrosion. 
  • Wash the mixture with water and let it dry completely.

Can bleach get rid of rust?

Rust is not removed by using bleach! If you use chlorine bleach on the corrosion or the rust spot, it will react with the corrosion and increase the discoloration. DO clean it off – if the rust is merely superficial, brush it off before using any corrosion removers.

Is muriatic acid the same as hydrochloric acid?

Muriatic acid is a kind of HCL with a pH ranging from 1 to 2. The main distinction between muriatic acid and hydrochloric acid is purity—muriatic acid is weakened to between 14.5 and 28 percent and often includes particles like iron.


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