Rust Converter vs Rust Remover 

 November 9, 2020

By  Xion Lab

If you see some unsightly stains that are reddish-brown on your expensive tools, it is a sign that they need a proper treatment for rust. For these treatments, you have two options; you can either use a property or a rust remover.

Even though these products fulfil the same goal i.e. remove rust from metal objects, comparing both of these products will be like comparing apples and oranges. That’s because both these products fall in the same class but work in their unique ways.

Rust Converters

As you may have understood by their name, these products tend to remove the rust from your valuables by converting iron, oxide or rust into inert and harmless compounds. Not only do they do this, but these inactive compounds also provide a form of protection for your valuables from further corrosion.

The critical ingredient used in these rust converters is called phosphoric acid. It tends to react in a way that the iron oxide binds with it and forms an entirely new compound called iron phosphate. You’ll notice that the reddish-brown substance on your valuables turns black, which means that the conversion process has completed.

The advantage of this, as we said before, is that it forms a protective coat over your valuables called iron phosphate. It harmless and inert compound tends to act like a barrier over the surface of your tools and valuables, so they do not get corrupted in the future. Iron phosphate, however, is not durable – which means that rust converters need to use on products that are compatible with it for the perfect form of surface protection.

Applying rust converters usually involves adding a coat of anti-rust paint for treating the metal surface. It will effectively ensure that no further corrosion will occur as long as the topcoat is still present.

The unique advantage of this product is that rust converters will remove the need of scraping off all the reddish-brown material on your valuables. It is in contrast to the traditional method where a considerable amount of elbow grease and patience is needed.

However, rust converters ensure that all you need to do is scraping off all the extra red flakes that are loosely present over your valuables. After this, you need to apply the rust converter paint over the affected areas. Lastly, you’ll have to wait and watch the rust converter work its magic.

Once you see that the rust converter has turned the affected area into a black surface, you will know that the iron oxide has neutralized into a harmless and inert compound. After adding just a layer or two of the topcoat, your job for the day will have concluded.

Rust converters work by forming ferric phosphate on your valuables and need very minimal preparation before they are applied. This water-based chemical contains two main ingredients which differ depending on the products in the industry. These ingredients are tannic acid, phosphoric acid or a combination of both.

The other ingredient of these products is an ordinarily organic polymer, which turns into the organic polymer that works like the protective primer over the substrate. Both these compounds mix to remove the need for sandblasting or manually eliminating rust. It saves both time and energy.

These products are known to work best for a wide range of applications such as outdoor fixtures and fittings, farming equipment, machinery and industrial equipment. Other than these, rust converters are known to be used mostly on trailers and vehicles.

The only things one would have to do before the application is to flack the rust using a wire brush, all you should be aiming for is degreasing and cleaning the area from other contaminants so that they do not interfere with the conversion process. Sometimes, people also use wax over the layer of black material to ensure long term rust prevention.

Rust Removers

Rust removers, unlike rust converters, will need a significant amount of elbow grease and patience to remove all the stain from the metal surface of your valuables. It is the older and traditional method of removing rust. It means that every single bit of iron oxide from the body will have to removed manually using the rust remover.

The only purpose of a rust remover is to speed things up because the formula of these products consists of strong acids that react with iron oxide. No chemical transformations (as is the case of rust converters) will take place over your valuables, and it will only loosen the adherent rust over the metal.

To start removing the rust from your valuables, you begin by applying the product onto the affected areas. The acid then reacts with the dust particles, which separates them from the surface of the metal. Most such products use an active ingredient called oxalic acid. It brings us to the problem that lies within these products.  Should use oxalic acid with extreme caution because they are highly toxic chemicals.

As we discussed above, the rust converters convert the rust into a stable and protective compound while removers detach the rust from the surface of the metal. What would help you decide between the two is how each of these products works with your valuables.

Many car enthusiasts out there think that rust converters don’t work because they cannot prevent further rust. They are right because the inert compound that forms over the metal surfaces prevents further corrosion. For any car that is aged significantly, continually apply this product will stop their metal surfaces from getting corrupted any more than it may already have, using the extra barrier layer.

There will, however, always be some very vulnerable areas where the rust converters are never applied. These could be the areas around bumper windscreen, the undercarriage of the car, or even the wheel wells where rust is known to appear. These areas usually are where rust converters must use to prevent iron oxide formations most effectively.

It entirely depends on where these products used to experience the most advantages.

Ideal Uses of Rust Converters

These products leave very little room for error when they have applied on the wrong surfaces. Rust converters need a hundred per cent of rust to be present for it to work correctly and provide results that are a full cure. When they have cured, they may even not need topcoats.

The ideal areas for this product’s use are those who have been affected by substantial rust. Rust converters are even known to work where there are bare metal or other sorts of coatings around the affected areas.

Other areas where the use of rust converters recommended are those with heavy flakes of rust. It usually happens after considerable periods. These flakes look like scales which have formed over the metal. Even though won’t need it, we would recommend that should knock that off the loose leaves before application of the product.

The goal of using the rust converter here would be to turn the whole scaly surface into a purplish-black one when it has finished curing. Depending on the amount of rust, it may take 2 to 4 coats to completely cover the body.

Poor uses of rust converters need to discussed here are well. Should never use rust converters over bare metal surfaces as 100% of rust is required for these products to work. If these products used over pure metal, then there are chances of flash rust to form over these surfaces.

Another everyday use of rust converters is when they have applied over mixed surfaces. If surfaces have a mix of metal and rust, then rust converters will not be able to provide the best results. If the body has a combination of paint and rust, they should not use rust converters.

There are always some areas over your valuables with small spots of rust that need to cure. Rust converters will not be able to work here as well because the surrounding areas can get damaged because of this.

Ideal Uses of Rust Removers

Can found rust removers in many forms including gels, powders and most commonly – liquids. They are used in both commercial and residential purposes but require extra time and effort to work. People have found to use rust removers for the following purposes:

Concrete Driveways

Often sidewalks and concrete driveways are found to have some rust on them because of fertilizers from lawns or battery leaks from vehicles. With rust removers, these stains can be removed manually but only with those products that specially formulated for this purpose.

Hand Tools

The hand tools that are used by gardeners, technicians and mechanics are prone to form rust now and then. Using rust removers on them from time to time can ensure that they aren’t affected. All that you need to do is immerse these tools in the rust remover liquid for just a few minutes and then manually remove the rust.

Nuts And Bolts

If these are for adherent rust in your home, then can also leave them in rust remover liquids for a few minutes. After the chemicals have reacted with them, they can be rinsed with fast-flowing water to be back to their former shiny self.

Antique Guns

The gun enthusiasts out there know what we’re talking. Their antique collection of guns needs to be cleaned continuously with rust removers so that they maintain their original value.


Rails or sidings tend to form rust over some time due to their exposure to different elements. It could be because of leaky pipes or merely the level of humidity in the home. A few minutes of cleaning with a rust remover will be enough to tackle the problem.

Steel Appliances

Appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers begin to form rust just after a few years of usage. A few sprays ofrust remover products can loosen up all the rust before they are wiped clean.

Iron Surfaces

Fences, gates, utensils are always in need of treatments using rust removal products. These also need to be sprayed on and cleaned using rags or cloths.

Patio Furniture

All the furniture in your patio, especially those that made of metal, will start showing sign of discolouration after just a period. If you apply some rust remover to these, these discolourations can also wipe off using rags or cloth.

The bottom line of it all is that both these products can use to counter the problem of rust formations. Their usage, however, depends on the type of rust that formed over them and what fixtures or other valuables are. You wouldn’t want black coats over your beautiful vehicles, would you? But the undercarriages of these cars can use rust converters because the extra skin will prevent further corrosion. These products also tend to be perfect for situations where too much rust has formed over a considerable period.

Rust removers, on the other hand, may need a little extra time and effort but are used so that your valuables can return to their original self. Constant use of these products can work like cleansing products for metal surfaces too. Think of it this way. If you don’t want black formations on valuable, then rust remover products are the way to go.

Now that you know, you can use both of these products when their need arises. Just make sure to use the right product for the proper use. Now you’ll never have problems with rust again.

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