QUESTION: How to Remove Rust from My SUV

We get email questions that can also benefit our other readers. Here is an email from a Maryland reader. This customer is working to get rid of rust on his SUV and has some specific questions regarding rusty metal we would like to share with you.  This reader included his own pictures for illustration. We love to get pictures from our readers. If you have any before and after pictures of your projects, send them our way. We can feature your rusty metal projects in a future blog.


1. Is Rust Doctor thin enough to be sprayed using a garden sprayer, such as the one below? If not, can it be thinned with water and retain its effectiveness if used in multiple coats? I’d like to use this wand to get down between inner and outer fender panels and other hard to reach places on my SUV.

garden sprayer

For “hard to reach” areas of rusty metal, reach for a garden sprayer, spray bottle or even a syringe.

Rust Doctor is thin enough to go through a garden sprayer.  However, the pressure in the sprayer is not enough to atomize the paint to give you a nice even spray.  For the use you describe, this process will work fine as the sprayer will get the Rust Doctor to the surfaces you want to treat, just not in a nice even spray.  You do not want to thin Rust Doctor as it will diminish the effectiveness of the product.  The viscosity of Rust Doctor is more fluid than Latex paint which allows you to use it in a spray gun with a latex tip.  Also, it is fluid enough to penetrate seams and crevices to convert rust to magnetite and completely seal them. This makes reaching those rusty spots easy for the restorer. That way you don’t have to take door panels etc. apart. Regarding multiple coats, usually only one coat of Rust Doctor is needed to treat a surface.  Heavy rust may require a second coat.  Apply the second coat of Rust Doctor while the first coat is still tacky.

 2. What is the “pot life” of Rust Doctor once a container has been opened?

You can open and close a container of Rust Doctor as much as necessary without affecting the two year shelf life. 

Make sure that Rust Doctor is not exposed to freezing weather.

3. Your site says Rust Doctor can be used over paint. If I treat the lower fender chips shown in the photo below, will it only affect the rust spots and leave the paint alone? In your video, it seemed to stain the paint, as well. My thought was to treat, fill the chips with filler, sand, and spray on a rubberized coating. Do you think that will work?

fender rust

Rusty spots on this customer’s SUV.

Rust Doctor does two things when you apply it to the surface of rusty metal or rusty metal and paint.  The rust converters change the red iron oxide we call rust to a non-rusting black iron oxide called magnetite which will never rust.  The magnetite actually protects the base metal from ever rusting.  The entire surface that is treated is covered with a clear latex primer.  So when you paint your lower fenders, the Rust Doctor will convert any rust on the surface to magnetite and coat the entire surface (paint and converted rust) with a latex primer.  You can then top coat the surface with any kind of paint, bed liner coating or sound deadening material.  Nothing in Rust Doctor will affect the paint.  The stains you refer to is some of the rust in the clear primer picked up by the brush and converted black magnetite.  This does not affect the surface in any way.  Your suggestion of filling the chipped spots after Rust Doctor treatment with filler and then painting with a rubberized coating should work just fine. The latex primer in Rust Doctor will fill the nicks to some degree, requiring less filler.  By the way, when you paint Rust Doctor on the fender you will see a lot more black spots on the surface than rust spots on the surface before treatment. That is because Rust Doctor finds any rust on the surface and coverts it to magnetite, even the tinniest little scratch or nick in the paint.


REMEMBER: Rust Doctor is non-toxic, non-flammable and biodegradable. All Rust Doctor products are made in the USA! 


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Your rusty metal solution is here!


For more information on how to use Rust Doctor on rusty metal, click here. If you need technical assistance, we are here to help! Please contact the Rust Doctor team for help.

Rust Removal from Metal Railings, Gates and Fencing


rust railing

Don’t let your fencing get to this point.


We often get  inquiries about rust removal on metal rails, fences and gates.  New metal railings, fences and gates can be costly.  Some customers have fairly new metal fences and are surprised at the amount of rust that sometimes develops in 6 months or less.   This happened to a Rust Doctor team member with a gate they purchased this summer. Rust had developed in a short time. In this case, the rust started where the upright and cross piece met and was welded together.

It’s important that when you are ready to re-furbish your fences and rails, that you take to steps to remove rust permanently.  Here are the steps for success for rust removal.

  • Clean off the loose rust and paint with a wire brush. If the rust is fairly new, you may be able to use a power washer to loosen up the flakes of rust and paint.
  • Use a cleaner/degreaser like the Grease Doctor. You want to be sure the surface is free of dirt and any oil and grime that may be present. Thoroughly rinse the surface with water.
  • Once dry, apply the Rust Doctor. A trick  to make painting the rails and decorative surfaces easier is to use a painter’s mitt. Painting intricate pickets or rails can be difficult, so using the mitt makes the job go faster. The rusted areas will turn black.  It is best to apply the Rust Doctor to the whole surface of the project. When Rust Doctor is applied, it also leaves a clear primer on the surface. You can decide to leave it black, or paint the surface with any paint type or color.

Be sure you get the paint mitts for this type of job

  • Wait 24 hours for the Rust Doctor to dry or cure. Rust Doctor is dry to touch in 30 minutes, but not ready to paint until 24 hours.
  • If you choose light colored latex paint, such as white, you will need to use a stain blocking primer. This will prevent any tannin staining. This only applies when using a latex paint on the surface. You can skip this step if using an other types of paint or a dark colored latex paint.
  • You can weld on a surface that has been treated with Rust Doctor if the entire treated surface is rusty.
  • Be sure to figure out how much Rust Doctor you will need before ordering. A quart will cover 50 square feet and a gallon will cover 200 square feet, only requiring a single coat of coverage. If you need help figuring out how much Rust Doctor will be needed, please contact us. We also have 5 gallon buckets for those large jobs.
  • Step back and enjoy the great job you have completed. Now you will have a rust protected surface that looks great and will last a long time.

    railing being sanded

    No need for long and tedious labor intensive prep with Rust Doctor


Tips & Tricks for Those “Hard to Reach Places”

Our customer Tom inquired about using a Hudson garden sprayer to apply Rust Doctor to repair rust on his truck.

Thanks Tom, for your question on how to approach rust removal. You can apply Rust Doctor with a Hudson Sprayer or any type of garden sprayer on rusty metal. However, the sprayer does not atomize the paint very well because there isn’t enough pressure in the tank. Consequently you don’t get a nice even spray as you would with a spray gun with a latex tip (19-22) or with an airless spray gun. The Hudson Sprayer works great for places that are hard to reach on your rusty metal as you can use the long wand to reach down into the bottom of a door or areas on the undercarriage. Painting with a brush will give you a smoother surface on rusty metal. Here is a link to our “how to” page  to make your rusty metal project look great.

Here are more “TIPS & TRICKS” on how to repair rust on your projects.

 Rust Doctor is a very versatile product. Here are various ways you can use Rust Doctor to treat and seal rusty metal.

  •  One of the most difficult problems in treating rust is access to the rusted area. In car restoration, for example, inside doors it is difficult to get at seams and welds that contain rust. One solution is to use a spray bottle to squirt Rust Doctor into hard to get at places. By setting the spray adjustment to a stream, you can direct Rust Doctor at the elusive welds and seams. Follow-up by using a spray gun to spray the remainder of the inside of the door to completely stop any rust that is present and seal the metal.
  •  Another method for getting at difficult places is to use a syringe to squirt Rust Doctor into tight locations where you need more control that the spray bottle provides. The syringe will shoot a stream of Rust Doctor into a tight location. You can easily control the force and quantity of the spray by varying how hard you push on the plunger.
  •  To clean large areas of rusty metal, pressure washing will effectively remove dirt, rust, grease and loose paint in one operation. For storage tanks, car frames and bodies, metal structures and etc., high pressure washing will effectively prepare the surface for Rust Doctor treatment. If grease is present, add a cleaner/degreaser such as Grease Doctor to the wash water. Be sure to rinse the surface before moving on to the next step of using the Rust Doctor.
  •  Before you treat metal with Rust Doctor, you must remove any grease or oil that might be present on the rusted surface. On very old metal, oil down in the rust is difficult to see. One way to check for oil or grease in the rust is to spray the surface with a fine mist of water. If oil is present, the mist will lay on the surface. Without the presence of oil in the rust, the mist will soak into the rust, indicating that you will not need to worry about a cleaner/degreaser. Try several areas to be sure oil or grease in not present. The Grease Doctor is a very effective cleaner/degreaser. Since it is a concentrate, you can decide how many parts of water to Grease Doctor parts you would need.
  •  When treating metal with Rust Doctor, it is important to force Rust Doctor into places where metal is welded or riveted. Rust builds up where the two pieces of metal are attached. Foam brushes work very effectively at forcing the paint between the metal pieces. Even if you can’t force Rust Doctor completely between the metal, it will create a barrier along the outside edges to keep moisture and oxygen from reaching whatever rust could not be treated. This is important because the rust will continue to grow if it is not sealed off. If the surface is painted, rust stains will appear along the edges of the seam where the metal is connected if that connection is not sealed off.
  • On automobile bodies, it is important to treat the front and back of metal body panels. If you only treat the front of a panel and then paint it, rust will migrate around the edges from the back side of the panel and stain the paint or create bubbles that eventually cause the paint to release. In some cases additional panels cover the backside of body panels, making it difficult to treat rust. It may be necessary to drill holes in these covering panels (this is inside the body and not visible) and spray Rust Doctor between the panels to stop the rust. This is the only way this rust can be stopped. The holes can then be welded or filled with rubber plugs.
  • Clean-up is a snap with our Rust Doctor products. Many of our competitors rust products require using solvents to clean tools such as  brushes and sprayers. The water clean up of our products is not only a time saver when working on your rust repair, it is also much safer.  Rust Doctor is non-toxic, non-flammable and biodegradable.

question-mark  samll

Remember, if you have any questions about how to stop rust, don’t hesitate to call or email us. The Rust Doctor team will help you with your rust repair questions.


A garden sprayer like this can be your best friend when trying to reach those hard to reach area on your rusty metal project.