"We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us"

Published: Nov 20, 2011

Review: Evapo-Rust

Works shockingly well

Available from Amazon.com in quart , gallon , and 5-gallon sizes.

I've tried a lot of different rust removers over the years. Usually, they fall into two camps. Either they're not particularly effective or they're quite dangerous to handle. One that comes to mind in the second camp is BoeShield Rust Free, which is basically battery acid in a handy aerosol can. Nasty, nasty stuff.

I had heard others rave about Evapo-Rust over the last couple years, so I decided to give it a shot.

What is Evapo-Rust?

A better question might be "What is Evapo-Rust not?" Well, it's non-corrosive and non-toxic. It's also water-based, so it's non-flammable. Finally, it emits no VOCs, fumes, or nasty odors.

As for what it is, it's safe on wood, plastic, rubber, most paints, unrusted steel or other metals, and (most importantly) skin. It's also biodegradable.

It's also the best rust remover I've ever tried.

Putting Evapo-Rust to the test

To test out Evapo-Rust, I bought a 1-quart bottle from Amazon and decided to test it out on one of my dad's old crescent wrenches. And when I say old, I mean really old, like maybe 40 years old. Somewhat heavily rusted and pitted, it was a pretty good test and I wouldn't be heartbroken if Evapo-Rust messed it up, since it was sticky and hard to adjust.

According to the directions, all you do is soak whatever you're trying to de-rust in the Evapo-Rust, the length of time depends on how badly rusted the steel is. The manufacturers recommend starting with thirty minutes and checking, but as much as 24 hours may be needed for heavy rust. In this case, I opted for the overnight soak. I poured the Evapo-Rust into a 5-gallon bucket and then set the wrench into it. I was a little worried because the Evapo-Rust barely covered the wrench and, since it was so little, there was no way to lift the wrench off the bottom of the bucket to allow circulation. I was fully prepared for at least a partial failure, especially on the bottom side. (Note: Evapo-Rust recommends you keep the solution over 60° during the soak for full effectiveness. Also, while Evapo-Rust will penetrate grease and oil, they will contaminate the solution and reduce its life. Best to degrease before soaking)

The next morning, after about a 10-hour soak, I opened the bucket and pulled out the wrench. Wow, what a difference! With no scrubbing, the rust was (for the most part) simply gone, even on the side that was against the bottom of the bucket. Per the directions, I just rinsed the wrench with plain water and wiped dry. It was simply astounding, the steel was mostly shiny and clean, no residue at all. Even better, the wrench was no longer sticky, Evapo-Rust had flushed out the rust from the mechanisms and the wrench now works as smoothly if not smoother than it did when brand-new. The Evapo-Rust directions say that deep pits may still contain rust and that was true, the most badly rusted areas still had rust in the pits. However, Evapo-Rust says that rinsing and wiping these areas and then re-soaking will remove additional rust.

To test out Evapo-Rust's claim about getting into the pits, I tried putting the wrench back into the used solution for another soak, this time about eight hours. Evapo-Rust says you can just keep using the solution over and over again until it quits working, they estimate that one gallon will de-rust about 300 pounds of lightly rusted steel before losing it's effectiveness. That's kind of a strange metric, it seems that a certain number of square feet would be a better measure. After all, cleaning sheets of 1" steel should take approximate the same amount of work as sheets of 1/16" steel, right?

Anyhow, the addition soak did exactly what Evapo-Rust claimed. Here are some closeups of the wrench head after the first and second cleanings, as well as the full wrench and head after the second cleaning. The wrench is virtually rust-free, all that's left is in the deepest pits and I'm sure that additional soakings would get rid of all that, too.

Trust me, get some

I'm super-pleased with the performance of Evapo-Rust. Like me, you can test it our yourself for a relatively low price by getting just a quart. I'm betting that, like me, after seeing it's amazing performance you'll be placing your own order for a 5-gallon bucket. Then you, too, can get results like this.


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