If you have problems removing rust from certain metal objects, I’m sure you’ve had many people give you different suggestions. Some would share their homemade rust remover “recipe” while others would praise a product or two. Then again, you’ve surely browsed the web for a solution and maybe even found videos talking about water-based rust removers and how spectacular they are. And one of the best, highest-rated water-based rust removers out there is Evapo-Rust.
Evapo-Rust, an incredibly potent rust remover that everyone can’t seem to stop praising. In fact, the list of Evapo-Rust users is pretty large. It includes such high-profile clients like the U.S. Army, NATO, and the FBI.
So, what is it that makes Evapo-Rust so good? Let’s take a quick dive and find out.
What Is Evapo-Rust?
Evapo-Rust is a soak remover. In other words, it works by submerging a rusty item into it and letting it sit there for a while. It’s similar to other powerful soak rust removers, like muriatic acid.
However, there is one clear difference between acids and Evapo-Rust. While an acid will definitely get rid of rust, it also tends to eat away at the metal underneath. So, you’ll get rid of the iron(III) oxide, but lose a lot of healthy iron in the process.
Evapo-Rust, on the other hand, only removes the rust. It does so through the process known as chelation. Large, synthetic molecules form bonds with atoms within metals and hold them firmly within the solution. Evapo-Rust’s own active ingredient chelates exclusively with iron; it will be strong enough to remove iron(III) oxide from iron, but too weak to remove iron from steel.
What Is It Made Of?
Lots of products out there can remove rust quickly, but using them can be hazardous to your health. Some will give off foul odors or toxic fumes, while others might burn the skin and require protective gear. In addition, as they evaporate, they damage the environment around you.
Evapo-Rust is the exact opposite of everything I mentioned above. It’s biodegradable, non-toxic, non-flammable, and contains no VOCs. Moreover, you can reuse it and, more importantly, don’t need any protective gear since it doesn’t burn the skin. Also, not only can it work well on all types of metal, but it causes zero damage to other materials, like plastic, wood, and fabric.
The final reason why so many people give this product a five-star rating is the fact that it’s so easy to use. Furthermore, it leaves no stains behind and the rust-free item will look brand new, as if you didn’t even use a remover on it hours ago.
Where to Buy the Product
If you don’t feel like shopping online, you can always locate a nearby store that has Evapo-Rust in stock. Simply visit the official website and peruse its local retailer locator for the most accurate results. They even have an international distributors’ list.
If you have no time to seek out retail stores in your area, you can always rely on Amazon or the Home Depot for your online 1-gallon Evapo-Rust remover purchases. Evapo-Rust is available in several sizes; if you don’t plan on using it too often, 32 oz will do. But if you require a bit more, the 3.5 gallon and 5 gallon options are also available.
How to Use Evapo-Rust
Now that we’re all caught up on what Evapo-Rust is, let’s talk about rust removal. In order to get rid of iron(III) oxide, many people tend to use various chemicals and solutions that, at least on the surface, have nothing to do with rust. I’ll go over those a little later and see how Evapo-Rust compares to them (or rather, how they compare to Evapo-Rust).
Aside from Evapo-Rust, you’ll need a few other tools and items to perform the removal safely. First off, you’ll require a container with a lid. For large pieces of metal, I recommend transparent modular plastic bins, since they are durable and you can seal them shut. But if you plan on removing rust from small items such as nuts and bolts, everyday plastic kitchen containers will do just fine.
Next, you’ll need some goggles and a pair of rubber gloves. Evapo-Rust is water-based, so doesn’t harm the skin, nor is it toxic. However, I still recommend using gloves and glasses, since it can splash into your eyes when you’re submerging the metal.
Step 1: Pour Enough Evapo-Rust In
There is one key element to using Evapo-Rust. You have to make sure to submerge the iron in it completely. In order to do that, you’ll need to pour enough Evapo-Rust to cover the whole bit.
Before I do any submerging, I place the rusted piece inside of a container and mark the highest point it reaches; I leave the mark outside of the plastic container to avoid contaminating Evapo-Rust with the marker dye. I then pour the product, but I make sure that it’s a few inches below the marked point. Thanks to the Archimedes’ principle, the liquid will rise well above that point when I put the iron in.
Step 2: Submerging the Item
Earlier, I mentioned how important it was that Evapo-Rust has to completely cover the rusted item. And I do agree with that, to an extent. When the item is completely under the surface, the product can react equally on all sides. So, if you have enough of Evapo-Rust, feel free to pour as much as you need.
However, I had a problem with a different brand of rust remover; because I used it often, I had some left on the bottom of the container, but not enough to cover the item I wanted to be treated. Naturally, it’s entirely possible that you run low on Evapo-Rust when you need it most. So, what do you do then — do you submerge it halfway there or do you paint the remover on the surface of the metal with a brush?
I’ll say it right now, after having tested the second option myself — painting a rust remover onto the item does not remove the rust. It’s honestly just a waste of a good product, since it will evaporate quickly or dry up without removing a single speck of iron(III) oxide.
On the other hand, submerging the item halfway can actually work. However, you will have to flip the item over and submerge the other half as well. It’s a process that’ll take a lot longer than full submersion, but it still works if you have little Evapo-Rust left.
Step 3: Give It Time
When it comes to how long Evapo-Rust needs to perform, it depends on two factors. The first is the outside temperature. Generally, Evapo-Rust will remove rust quickly if you leave it at room temperature. High temperatures will also work, though I do recommend not leaving it in direct sunlight.
Now, the product CAN remove rust in cold weather, but the process will be a lot slower than usual. Moreover, if the plastic container with the metal item is out in the cold, it doesn’t speed up the process if you move it to a warm space. It’ll still take time to warm up, making the removal slower.
The second factor we need to consider is how much rust there is on the item. Usually, I work with bolts, nails, and other small bits that have fine, thin coats of rust, the coats which I can remove with a bronze-bristle wire brush. For that process, you’ll need roughly 20–25 minutes, at most. However, large pieces of metal with thick layers of rust will take anywhere between 8 and 24 hours; I suggest leaving them to sit an extra 12 hours just to be on the safe side.
Step 4: Remove the Item from the Container
After enough time has passed, take the metal item out of the plastic container. You should be able to see two distinct changes:
- The item is slightly darker than before and it has a thin layer of removable gunk
- The Evapo-Rust has turned black
Most people would discard used rust remover, and doing that with Evapo-Rust is easy; it’s biodegradable and non-toxic, so you won’t be harming the environment. However, don’t throw away the used Evapo-Rust. It can be reusable, so I advise keeping it in a separate container (more on that later).
Step 5: Clean the Item
Cleaning the metal item involves rinsing. However, interestingly enough, you can go about it in two different ways.
Rinsing with Water
There isn’t much to explain about this particular process. Get a sponge, a brush, and a used rag and take the item to the nearest source of clean water. You can either hose it up, submerge it in a bucket, or just place it under a tap. There might be some loose debris that you’ll need to scrub off, which is where the sponge and the brush come in handy.
Don’t forget to dry the metal quickly. That way, you’ll prevent further rust from forming. The used rag will be perfect for that.
Rinsing with Unused Evapo-Rust
If you have Evapo-Rust to spare, you can use it to rinse off the remaining rust debris from the metal item. Either submerge the item in a new vat of Evapo-Rust or put the item in an empty container and pour the product over it. Next, let the metal item air dry. The benefit of rinsing with pure Evapo-Rust is that you get some minor rust protection before you apply a more long-term anti-rust solution.
Reusing the Evapo-Rust Properly
As I stated earlier, the beauty of this rust remover is that you can reuse it. However, you need to do it properly. Keeping it in a separate container is one option, but there is another effective alternative.
Once you’re done using Evapo-Rust, let it sit in the container for a while. Soon enough, you’ll notice the black sediment form on the bottom of the vat, with the liquid regaining its yellow hue. Pour the liquid carefully back into the original packaging, but don’t get any of the black sediment in. Finally, store Evapo-Rust in a cool, dry place; it has no shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about it spoiling.
Other Evapo-Rust Products
Evapo-Rust is an amazing rust remover, but it’s also a part of an entire range of high-quality products. I had the honor of testing a few myself and the results were positive across the board.
Earlier, I mentioned that some items might be too big to be submerged in Evapo-Rust. And then there are items that you quite literally cannot submerge, like poles, pillars, large metal sheets, and numerous vertical rusted surfaces. Applying liquid Evapo-Rust onto these surfaces with a brush will not work. However, we have the Evapo-Rust Gel that’s a perfect fit for this job.
This gel is so effective that it gets rid of rust in an hour. Furthermore, it does no damage to copper, brass, aluminum, plastic, or glass. Simply clean the rusty surface from any grime or dirt, apply the gel, let it sit for an hour or so, and rinse it off.
Cleaning the rust away is merely the first step. As soon as you can, you need to apply an anti-rust solution, and Rust-Block is the perfect fit after an Evapo-Rust treatment.
Just like all Evapo-Rust items, Rust-Block is non-toxic, biodegradable, safe to use, and removable with a simple rinse. It comes in a spray bottle, making it easy to apply and even easier to store. I should note that Rust-Block is for indoor-use only, as it will dissipate out in the open and your metal object will have no rust protection.
Rusting can cause a lot of overheating problems in a car. If you’re an avid driver, you might want to treat the corrosion in your cooling system, which is where a product like Thermocure comes in.
In order to use Thermocure, drain the coolant from your car’s cooling system and add about a quart of the product, then fill the radiator to the top with clean water. After roughly 3–4 hours of driving, the product should remove the lingering rust in the cooling system. Simply wait for the engine to cool, drain the Thermocure, flush the cooling system a few times until the water comes out clear, then pour more high-grade coolant and you’re good to go.
SAFR is an automotive finish remover, i.e. its primary purpose is to safely remove any coat of paint from your vehicle. However, just like Safe-Erase, you can use it on walls, wood, plastic, and other surfaces. In addition, the process of applying and removing SAFR is the same as the one with Safe-Erase when it comes to vintage car paint. In short, you apply the gel, wait for a while, then scrape the debris off.
However, the process is a bit different with modern automotive finishes. The coating you apply will be 0.1 in/3 mm thicker than usual, and you’ll have to cover the surface with plastic and heat it up for one hour. Once it’s done, let it cool for 5–10 minutes and scrape the debris off with a spatula.
Metal Rescue, Vinegar, and Other Evapo-Rust Alternatives
While Evapo-Rust might be a great rust remover, I understand if people can’t (or won’t) use it. After all, because of how popular it is, there are times when both online and brick-and-mortar stores are out of stock. So, what would be some alternatives and, more importantly, how effective are they?
Well, let’s start off with the competition. Products such as Metal Rescue, Loctite Naval Jelly, WD-40 and others tend to work out well. In addition, they don’t cost as much as the high-end products. However, they don’t perform the same on different metal surfaces. Moreover, some of them can take more than 24 hours to start having a noticeable effect.
On the other hand, there are some DIY solutions, like electrolysis and a vinegar-salt combination that seem to get the job done right. Of course, there are other methods that have been proven as myths, such as the Coca-Cola rust removal method. Personally, I’d advise using the vinegar-salt combo if you’re strapped for cash or simply can’t find Evapo-Rust anywhere. It’s by far the cheapest method, but it will take some time to work effectively.
You might also want to read: How to Use Naval Jelly Rust Remover
A Few Closing Words
Safe, non-toxic, easy to use as well as reuse, potent, and effective — those would be the words I’d use to summarize my thoughts on the Evapo-Rust soak remover. If I had to pin any potential setbacks to it, I’d say that it does cost more than some of the other options I mentioned earlier. However, it’s definitely worth every penny and I fully recommend it to everyone who has rust-related issues.