Whether the metal object is a bike, a clock, outdoor furniture, or anything else metal that we own, rust is enemy number one. It breaks down our property and can be a real nuisance. Any metal structure will be ruined by a heavy amount of rust. It is important to remove rust where necessary and prevent it if we can.
What are the best rust remover tools? The following chart gives the best rust remover tools that are on the market today:
In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about the best rust remover tools, including a list of the best tools and how to use them, homemade treatments, ways to prevent rust, and even how the rust gets there in the first place. Read on to find out more!
Best Rust Remover Tools
There are many methods you can use to remove rust from metal. The best way to rid the rust is by scouring, sanding, or grinding it down. Here is a detailed list of the best rust remover tools, with everything you could need to know about them and just how well they work.
1. Scouring Pad
A scouring pad is probably one of the least effective of the tools to remove rust. It only works on very fine rust and is usually used after a chemical treatment. Some people swear by dusting the rust with baking soda and leaving it for a while for the soda to dry the metal out, then going in with a scouring pad to remove excess rust.
If the rust you want to remove is very fine and in the early stages of development, a scouring pad may work for you. Otherwise, keep reading to find the perfect tool for you.
Scotch-Brite Industrial Heavy Duty Scouring Pads (See on Amazon)
The perfect size for larger surface areas, resulting in faster results. Heavy duty and great for deep cleaning.
- Perfect for deep baked-on mess
- Tools, grills, cast iron pots
- Heavy duty
The Crown Choice Scouring Pads (Amazon)
The Crown choice scouring pads are non-scratch, scrubbing pads that are built to ensure durability. They dry quickly and eliminate smell.
- Dishwasher safe
Heavy Duty Scouring Pads (Amazon)
Reusable household cleaning scouring pads. Anti-grease and non-scratch.
- Heavy duty
2. Wire Brush
A wire brush isn’t the most effective tool to use when removing rust. However, it works well enough for small amounts of rust or rust that isn’t too embedded. The good thing about using a wire brush is that it’s very cheap and you can get wire brushes in all sorts of shapes and sizes to match the metal that you need to fix.
You can get very small or thin brushes that are great for crevices and small metal objects. Alternatively, you can get very large brushes for larges surface areas. Although it’s not the most effective way of removing rust, it is one of the cheapest.
Brass and Stainless Steel 3-piece Brush Set (Amazon)
Three brushes are included, the large brush has stainless steel bristles. The medium and small brushes have brass bristles.
- Three durable brushes
- Different sizes for different surface areas
- Useful for many different purposes
Purdy Premium Wire Brush (Amazon)
Purdy wire brushes have crisscross bristles that are made of durable stainless steel. The design makes for faster rust removal.
- Rubber cushion non-slip grip handle
- Hammerhead end
- Heavy duty
S&R Scratch Wire Brush Set (Amazon)
This brush set has three different brushes with three different wire bristles: one steel, one stainless steel, and one brass.
- Perfect for rust, paint and wood
- Three different brushes included
3. Steel Wool
Steel wool works really well on a nice finished metal surface, it doesn’t leave deep scratches and instead leaves a shine on the metal. Again, this method is extremely cheap and probably more effective than the wire brush. However, if you want to remove deep, thick rust from a large area, this probably isn’t your go-to.
Red Devil Steel Wool (Amazon)
This particular pack of steel wool has a good variety of grades. This means you will definitely find the correct wool for your project.
- Handy size
- Removes rust well
- Perfect for final finishes
Rhodes American Super Fine Steel Wool (Amazon)
Twelve pads of superfine grade steel wool
- High-quality metal
- Superfine grade
Assorted Steel Wool (Amazon)
A variety of six different grades of steel wool that typically lasts longer than low carbon steel
- Crumble resistant
Sandpaper is another effective way of removing rust. It works just as well as steel wool, sometimes better. This, of course, depends on the coarseness of the paper. The amount of grit you use depends on how bad the rust is, the surface of the metal, and how you want the metal to look when you’re done. The higher the grit, the deeper the scratches, but the quicker the rust is removed.
There are different types of sandpaper. The type of sandpaper recommended for rust removal use would be silicon carbide. This sandpaper is rougher and more suitable for rust removal than other sandpapers, such as an aluminum oxide or garnet paper. It is very rare that you will need sandpaper finer than 320 grit.
Pro-Pak Aluminum Oxide Sheets (Amazon)
Aluminum oxide sheets are great for removing rust and general-purpose sanding.
- 80 grit
- All-purpose sanding
- Great value
Sandflex Sanding Block (Amazon)
A variety of three different grades of sandpaper grit. As you use the block, fresh grit is exposed.
- Takes rust away
- You can carve the block into any shape to fit corners or any surface you need
- Contains one fine, one medium, one coarse
3M Wetordry Sandpaper (Amazon)
3M Wetordry sandpaper smoothly cuts quickly through rust or any defects on metal or wood surface.
- Contains five sheets
- Uniform finish
A chisel can help remove very thick, well-developed chunks of rust. However, this doesn’t seem the most effective way of removing it all. If you have a very thick blanket of rust on the metal surface, a chisel may be great at helping you remove the mass of rust before going in with an angle grinder or sandblaster to remove the rest.
The chisel should only be used to help remove large chunks of rust. Some people have sworn by an electric needle/chisel scaler to help with rust removal. This quickly fires the tip of the chisel back and forth very quickly onto the surface to help budge the rust.
Red Devil Putty Chisel (Amazon)
High quality and professional chisel with a solvent resistant handle.
- Chisel edge blade
- Rust-resistant steel blade
- Solid steel nail setting head
GREBSTK Professional Wood Chisel (Amazon)
Suitable for both beginner and professional. Each of the four chisels come with their own cap to protect the sharp blades.
- Beech handles
- Comes with a protective storage bag
- High quality
TEKTON Wood Chisel (Amazon)
A short beveled blade cuts rust well. This chisel is versatile and a perfect addition to any toolbox.
- Soft non-slip rubber grips
- High-carbon steel blade
- Lacquer blade coating resists rust
6. Angle Grinder
Angle grinders are probably the best way to remove rust from metal, especially the very stubborn and well-rooted rust. Different wheels can be applied to the angle grinder to remove the rust in the most effective way.
Some of the best wheels to use for the angle grinder when removing rust are
- Cup wire brush – all-round great wheel for all uses
- Knotted wire wheel – for corners and edges, great for the tough spots
- 80 grit flap wheel – very abrasive, good for corners/deep-rooted rust
- Aluminum oxide abrasive disc – for middle/flat spots
An angle grinder is one of the most convenient ways to remove rust. Different attachments make this a versatile tool, perfect for different objects and severity of rust.
Bosch Angle Grinder (Amazon)
This angle grinder generates all-day power with a 6.0-amp motor. Perfect for metal workers.
- Powerful 6.0 amp motor
- Durable, protected from abrasive debris by epoxy coating
DEWALT Angle Grinder (Amazon)
This angle grinder has a one-touch guard to allow for a single action to readjust the guard, making this a safer option for beginners.
- Extremely powerful 7.5 amp motor
- One-touch guard
- Increased control and comfort by removable side handles
BLACK&DECKER Angle Grinder (Amazon)
Ideal for sharpening, grinding and cutting. A 3-position side handle gives more stability and ease.
- Spindle lock for easy accessory changes
- Metal gear case for longer life
- 6-amp motor
Sandblasting is one of the best rust remover tools on the market; it uses compressed air to blast sand at an extremely quick speed. However, it can be extremely messy and even damage the mental underneath, but this depends on the type of metal you’re sandblasting and what it’s used for.
Safety is important when it comes to sandblasting; the correct goggles and mask should be worn to protect your eyes and respiratory system from the fine sand. Sandblasting is a fairly simple yet effective way of removing rust on the right metal; all you need are a few tips to help you.
- Mess – This method is messy, so be sure to cover or tape up any areas that you don’t want to get covered in sand. Sand can easily get into small crevices and remain undiscovered for a long time.
- Don’t warp it! – It easy to warp the metal by sandblasting the same area for more than a few seconds at a time. It’s hard to tell you have warped the metal until you have finished removing the rust. Allow the metal to cool before attempting to sandblast the same area, or you may have another problem arise.
- Angle – It is very important to angle the sandblaster correctly. Although it may be tempting to face the sandblaster head-on, directly at the rust, it’s important to angle the sandblaster at a slight angle towards the rust. This will allow the sand to catch the rust from the corners of the rust and list it off with ease. This will make the sandblasting easier and quicker.
This method is perfect when you need a harsher abrasive for larger objects or surfaces. It is also the fastest way to remove rust. However, this is not good for smaller objects, delicate objects, or finished surfaces.
LE LEMATEC Sandblaster Gun (Amazon)
This sandblaster comes with a twelve-month guarantee. It has an adjustable control valve that controls the sand flow perfectly.
- Comfort grip handle
- Safety vented tank
- Portable and lightweight
Speedblaster Gravity Feed (Amazon)
The Speedblaster runs clog-free, all day with extreme power.
- Unique gravity feed design
- Powerful high operating pressure
- Easy to use
Jewboer Air Sandblaster (Amazon)
The Jewboer has a steel nozzle and ceramic nozzle with high efficacy trigger actions.
- Cast aluminum pistol for durability
- Perfect for rust removal
- High quality, finely made parts
Other Ways to Effectively Remove Rust
Other than tools, the most effective way to remove rust is by chemicals or cleaning substances made by-products you will have in your kitchen cupboard. Here are a few favorites for you to try out if you feel the tool route isn’t the direction you want to go down.
Some of these methods work well alongside a scouring pad or steel wool.
Salt and Vinegar
Not only are they a great flavor on chips, but salt and vinegar are great for removing rust, believe it or not. Vinegar acts as a mild acid when salt is added that acidity is boosted.
- Fill a large tub with white vinegar.
- Add a cup of salt for every gallon of vinegar you use.
- Soak the metal object into the liquid overnight.
- If the rust is no longer visible, take it out and wipe it down.
This solution is great as its non-toxic, easy to use, and most people have this stuff in their cupboards.
Citric acid is another fantastic, natural acid that you’ll probably have at home. This acid is mostly found in fruits such as lemons or limes.
- Squeeze lemon or other citrus fruit juice into a tub of warm water. (Citric acid powder works just as well, you can usually find this in the baking section at the supermarket)
- Let the object you’re treating sit in the water.
- After an hour, scrub it with a scouring pad.
- If all rust isn’t removed, try again.
- Repeat until all rust is removed.
This works bet on small metal parts such as bike parts or tools.
Dish Soap and Potato
Yes, you’re reading that correctly. A potato. It sounds insane. But believe it or not, apparently it works, and with reason.
This method isn’t a very strong rust remover. However, it works great on small amounts of rust and in easy to reach areas.
Oxalic acid is an acid often used to remove rust. Usually used concentrated and with great results. Oxalic acid is also found in potatoes! Add a little dish soap, which is used to cut through grease and dirt. Together they make the perfect duo for rust removal.
- Cut a potato in half.
- Use one of the halves and soak the cut side down into dish soap.
- Place the soapy cut side of the potato on top of the rust for a few hours to allow the chemicals to react with the rust.
- When the waiting time is up, rub the soapy potato over the surface.
- Follow up with a wire brush or scouring pad if required.
Rust Removing Chemicals
There is a large number of rust removing chemicals on the market. They all claim to work really well. However, most people recommend using homemade treatments and tools; this is the most inexpensive and safest way to remove rust. It can be dangerous to mix chemicals that you don’t know a lot about, and the chemicals often used in rust removal are quite potent and reactive.
Phosphoric acid is the most commonly used chemical when removing rust. The chemical reaction caused when the acid meets the rust and turns the rust into a liquid – this makes it much easier to wipe away. This chemical is often used as a jelly. The jelly is poured on, left for a few moments, and then wiped away. This takes the rust away with it.
Although this chemical works and is quick, it is extremely potent. Be sure not to allow this acid to meet any other chemicals. Wear protective gear such as a mask, goggles, gloves, and long sleeves to protect you from any spills.
This chemical is very powerful and is often used for etching concrete and removing corrosion and rust.
The regular safety precautions are to be followed when using this very potent chemical. If you are going to use this chemical, make sure you’re using it in a well-ventilated area.
To use this chemical, brush it onto the metal surface, leave for a few moments, give a good scrub, and then remove. It is best to neutralize the acid with baking soda. Sprinkle the baking soda on and leave for a while when the rust has been removed.
What Causes Rust?
Rust is caused by a reaction called oxidation. This reaction happens when iron is in contact with water and oxygen. Iron and oxygen have opposite charges, which means they tend to be drawn to each other.
This causes the oxidation reaction where the iron loses electrolytes to the oxygen and results in the red-brown, flaky substance that we know as rust. Rust is also known as ferric oxide, which is the scientific term for the result of that particular chemical reaction.
Rust can be sped up very quickly in a number of ways. There are many different environmental factors that speed it up, including:
- Warm temperature
- Copper or other reactive metals
Prevention is key when it comes to rust. There are many ways that prove to be effective in the prevention of rust. Here are some tips to help prevent rust in the future.
1. Anti-rust Spray
An anti-rust spray is an obvious way to help prevent rust, however, whether or not you should use this product depends on what exactly you’re using it for. There are sprays such as WD40 that work well for preventing rust.
2. Prevent Damage
Damage to metal, such as scratches or scrapes, for instance, can cause rust to thrive. This is because water can settle in the cracks and lead to corrosion.
3. Protective Coating
There is a process many people choose to do to protect metal, and that process is called bluing. Bluing is where you dip the metal into a bluing solution made up of potassium nitrate, sodium hydroxide and water. This leaves the metal with a protective coat that prevents corrosion and future rusting.
Paint is the most popular way people prevent rust, usually using oil-based or acrylic paint. However, paint can crack and chip, this can leave gaps on the metal exposed and a perfect pocket for water to sit. It is important to frequently check and fix any paintwork on metal.
4. Keep it Dry
This sounds like an obvious one, but it’s the most effective as the water holds oxygen that causes the oxidation process. Keep the metal indoors and preferably near a dehumidifier. Water can also be found in mud, so it is important to also keep it clean.
Whether it’s topping up a protective coat, keeping the metal clean and dry, or applying an anti-rust spray, maintenance is key to preventing rust. Don’t forget to keep on top of this.
Why Is It Important To Remove Rust?
The biggest reason for removing rust is, of course, corroding and weakening. If left untreated, rust will spread and get worse. This will eventually weaken and waste away the actual structure of the metal.
In conclusion, we found that of all the best rust remover tools, the angle grinder is the best told to use. It is versatile and can be used on different surface areas, corners, edges and more. The wheels on the grinder are interchangeable, which means that you can pick the right wheel for the right object and amount of rust. The angle grinder isn’t overly expensive, and you can purchase one from any good hardware store.
Smaller tools such as wire brushes, scouring pads, and steel wool work well as an add-on to a homemade treatment such as citric acid or potato and dish soap.
If you’re experienced with tools and need a lot of rust removed, we would highly suggest a sandblaster to remover large amounts of rust on large surface areas. Happy rust removing!