How to Use Naval Jelly to Remove Rust

Metal objects are prone to rust, affecting their lifespan and usefulness, and one way of ensuring you get the most out of them while still extending their lifespan is keeping them rust-free. The good news is it’s easy to remove rust from your valuable metal objects using Naval Jelly.

To remove rust with Naval Jelly, prepare your working space by removing any dirt and loose rust from the metal surface. Apply the jelly on the rusted metal with a brush, then allow it to settle for about 10-15 minutes. To finish it off, clean the surface and wipe it dry.

Read on for a detailed look at using Naval Jelly to remove rust like a pro.

Using Naval Jelly to remove rust.

Naval Jelly Composition

Before looking at removing rust using this gel, let’s first understand what it is and how it works.

Naval Jelly is a chemical solution that has been used to remove rust from metal surfaces for a long time. It comes as a blend of water and several chemicals, e.g., phosphoric acid, phosphate ester, sulfuric acid, isopropyl alcohol, and polysaccharides. It also contains a significant amount of Xanthan gum, an additive that gives it a jelly-like consistency, preventing it from dripping off the metal surface you’re treating.

Naval Jelly comes as an eye-catching pink viscous gel.

Based on its ingredients, it’s clear that this rust-removing gel contains corrosive chemicals; thus, precautionary measures should be exercised when using it.

How Does Naval Jelly Work?

Naval Jelly works by dissolving rust molecules from metal surfaces. But how exactly does it do this?

Phosphoric acid is the second main ingredient in this jelly after water. It accounts for approximately 30% of the composition.

Once you apply Naval Jelly on a metal surface, the phosphoric acid works on rust molecules, changing them into iron phosphate that’s highly soluble in water. Once the rust molecules have been altered, it becomes easy to wipe them off the metal surface using water.

However, given the gel’s high concentration, you shouldn’t leave it on metal objects for more than 15 minutes because it can damage the metal surface by causing tiny pockmarks and streaks.

How to Remove Rust With Naval Jelly

Let’s now look at how you can remove rust from metal surfaces using this gel.

Essential Tools

To begin with, here’s a rundown of the essential tools you’ll need:

Step-by-Step Guide

The procedure is quite simple:

  1. Start by preparing your working area. Take the plastic sheets or drop cloths and place them on the ground below your working area to prevent the gel from damaging the underlying items and reduce messy cleanups.
  2. Wear your protective gear, which includes hand gloves, a face mask, and safety goggles.
  3. Now take a wire brush and remove any dirt or loose rust from the surface. Remove as much dirt and rust as you can and wipe the surface clean using a dry cloth.
  4. Once the surface is clean, it’s now time to apply Naval Jelly. Pour the gel into a tin and use a paintbrush to apply a generous amount all over the surface. For the hard-to-reach corners and crevices, you can use an old toothbrush to apply the rust remover.
  5. Allow the gel to sit for about 5-10 minutes. Take care not to overexpose the surface to Naval Jelly because it may corrode it due to its high concentration. Naval Jelly will work by changing the rust molecules into water-soluble iron phosphate molecules. When applying the gel, ensure you follow the instructions on the packaging.
  6. Now wipe the surface clean using a clean wet cloth or a garden hose pipe. Next, take a clean, dry cloth and dry the metal.
  7. Inspect the surface for any remaining stubborn rust stains and repeat the cleaning if necessary.
  8. Allow the surface to dry before working on it. If you intend to leave it exposed for a few days, consider applying a thin layer of primer and paint to prevent rust from reoccurring. If you intend to paint the surface after the application of Naval Jelly, it’s advisable to use solvent-based paint because this rust dissolver gel isn’t compatible with latex paint.

When to Use Naval Jelly

You can use Naval Jelly on a wide range of steel, iron, and ferrous surfaces, which include:

  • Garden tools
  • Automobile bodies
  • Metal sheets
  • Metal rails
  • Barbeque grill
  • Metal toys
  • Bicycles

Although Naval Jelly comes as rust removing staple, you shouldn’t use it on surfaces like:

  • Aluminum
  • Cement
  • Fiberglass
  • Stainless steel
  • Chrome
  • Plastic
  • Marble
  • Porcelain

Safety and Precautionary Measures

Naval Jelly is made of highly concentrated chemicals; therefore, you need to exercise precautionary measures when using it.

Here are some safety measures that you shouldn’t overlook:

  • Naval Jelly is hazardous and should be kept away from children and pets.
  • This rust removing gel emits toxic fumes that are harmful when inhaled and therefore should be used in a well-ventilated area. If your working space has no openings, ensure you wear a respirator or face mask.
  • Follow all the safety instructions on the packaging and ensure you wear protective gear when handling this gel.
  • If you or your family member ingests this hazardous chemical, don’t try induced vomiting. Instead, drink a lot of water and seek medical attention immediately.
  • If some of the Naval Jelly falls on your skin, wash it off immediately with lots of water and soap. This gel is highly corrosive and may have a burning effect on your sensitive skin.
  • If the gel accidentally gets into your eyes, wash it off immediately with a lot of clean water and consult a doctor.
  • Avoid using Naval Jelly on objects such as aluminum, fiberglass, chrome, plastic, marble, and porcelain.

Naval Jelly is also harmful to the environment and therefore should be disposed of appropriately. It’s advisable to neutralize it when disposing of it. Here are some ways in which you can neutralize this gel:

  • By using soda ash or lime
  • You can also spread an inert metal like sorbalite clay to blanket the Naval Jelly
  • Alternatively, you can flash its remnants using water flowing at high pressure from, let’s say, a garden hosepipe. Here, you can flush it continuously for about 15 minutes or so.


Q: Is Naval Jelly Dangerous?

Naval Jelly is hazardous and highly toxic. It emits toxic fumes that are harmful when inhaled, and its high concentration can have burning effects when it comes into contact with exposed skin. Additionally, this gel is harmful to the environment and should be disposed of with caution.

Due to its toxic nature, you should keep Naval Jelly away from children and pets.

Q: How Long Should You Leave Naval Jelly on a Surface?

Naval Jelly should be allowed to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you leave this rust dissolver on a metal surface for a long time, it can eat away the metal surface due to its high concentration leaving ugly pockmarks and streaks on your metal. Far much worse, the high concentration of phosphoric and sulfuric acids, which are highly corrosive, can create more rust on the surface if left for too long.

Q: What Surface Is Naval Jelly Best Suited For?

You can use Naval Jelly on a wide range of surfaces such as garden tools, metal rails, metal sheets, metal toys, and automobile surfaces, to mention a few. In a nutshell, you can use this rust dissolver on surfaces made of iron, steel, or ferrous materials. However, it’s not recommended to use aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, marble, plastic, chrome, and porcelain.

Wrapping It Up

No more struggling to deal with metal surfaces covered in ugly rust stains. Keep your valuable objects rust-free and extend their lifespan and usefulness using Naval Jelly.

The rust removal process is quite easy, but you must be cautious and practice the recommended safety and precautionary measures because Naval Jelly is toxic and hazardous.

Give your metal objects a fresh, new look with this rust-removing staple.

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