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What Paint Product to Use to Get Rid of Rust?

Posted by Rodger Busse on

paint many colors


When you get that inkling that you are going to “make new what is now old”… is easy to start thinking what color should I paint my project?  You may have a large scale project like a car restoration or perhaps something smaller like outdoor furniture or a child’s Tonka truck. It’s fun to imagine how it will look when you finish your project. In order to make it a lasting thing of beauty, it’s important to use the right steps to get there. If you have rusty metal present on this project, it is important to take care to remove rust permanently to insure lasting results. When you go to the paint store or big box store, you will see rows and rows of paint products. Which one will help you with that rust removal? It’s overwhelming! Some paint products may have the word “rust or rusty” in their name. Don’t assume that it means it will take care of removing rust on that precious 1956 Chevy you are restoring.

Brazil's 56 Chevy

1956 Chevy restored using Rust Doctor products

How does a consumer pick the right product for their project? How do you remove rust? What about safety and environmental concerns? The Rust Doctor hopes to unravel some of these questions about the best way to attack rusting metal by introducing you to the various paint product to remove rust.

Rust Encapsulation

There are a few paints on the market that advertise the ability to seal or encapsulate rust. They claim to have chemical structures that have very tight molecules that will not allow moisture or oxygen to reach the rusted metal surface. The effectiveness of these products varies, depending on application and surface preparation. Because of the strong chemical nature of these products (toxic), gloves should be worn and adequate ventilation is important. Spraying requires special thinning solvents and specialized breathing equipment. In addition to being highly toxic, most rust paints are EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE and should be handled with caution.


Many solvent based rust removers require special safety equipment


Use of acids to dissolve rust is another method for rust control. A number of products on the market that deal with rust contain phosphoric acid. Acids dissolve the rust and leave behind a thin oxide coating on the surface. Because this coating is thin, it needs to be protected by topcoating with a quality exterior paint. When using acids, it is important rinse off the metal before the acid begins attacking the solid metal that remains after the rust is dissolved. Gloves should be worn and adequate ventilation is required when using acids. Because of the strong fumes associated with acids, spraying requires special breathing equipment and eye protection.

Another process similar to the acid removal process is commercial stripping. In this process, metal (even an entire car frame) is dipped in a large tank of caustic soda at an elevated temperature. After the paint is dissolved, the metal is removed and rinsed with water and then put in another tank of alkaline solution and the rust removed electrolytically. This is an effective process, but requires a topcoating within a few days or rust will start. Because of the cost of this type of operation, these facilities are usually only available in large metropolitan areas.

Chemical Conversion

A very old method of protecting metal from rusting is through chemical conversion. Blacksmiths were probably the first to discover this procedure when they coated their tools with oil and then heated them in a forge. This process created a very hard coating on the tool’s surface, protecting it from rust. Known later as “magnetite,” this very hard form of iron oxide is one of the most effective means of eliminating rust. And because magnetite is chemically inert, it does not react with oxygen or moisture.

Rust Doctor is a paint that uses the chemical conversion process. Two factors make Rust Doctor unique as a rust control system. The paint is a water based latex product, allowing brushes and spray equipment to be cleaned up with soap and water. In addition, because there are no strong acids or solvents in Rust Doctor, it is non-flammable and can be used in an enclosed environment without fear of dangerous fumes. This is especially useful when spraying Rust Doctor in a shop or garage. A second advantage of Rust Doctor is the fact it includes a clear primer that creates an excellent base for topcoating with any kind of paint. Once the conversion process is complete, the surface is left with a heavy coating of this latex primer. In one step, the rust is converted to magnetite and surface is primed. This primed surface will accept sanding primers, making it possible to create as smooth a surface as desired. You can also weld or use fillers if desired on a Rust Doctor treated surface.

Rust Doctor is non-toxic, non-flammable and biodegradable. Water clean-up makes it a breeze to use.

how to use 003

Be sure to visit our web site for a short video on how to use Rust Doctor. Get started on that rusty metal project you have been waiting to restore. The color? That’s up to you!

If you need help with your project or need technical assistance, contact us, the Rust Doctor Team is ready to assist you. Be sure to check out our other articles on this blog to see how easy it is to use Rust Doctor on your  rusty metal restoration projects.


Before Rust Doctor and some elbow grease


After…a nice project well done to last!

Rust Doctor comes in three convenient sizes for your use. Check out our product page to see what we offer to make rust removal easy for you.Rust Doctor and Grease Doctor is proudly made in the USA.

RD 3 sizes




The post What Paint Product to Use to Get Rid of Rust? appeared first on The Rust Doctor.

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