Cheap and easy rust remover

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Review by Rick M. posted 08-17-2013 04:30 AM 2916 views 3 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Cheap and easy rust remover Cheap and easy rust remover Cheap and easy rust remover Click the pictures to enlarge them

Cost: $1 for 24 oz. at The Dollar Store.

Tried this on a few rusty nails that I kept for who knows what reason and on a shiny new zinc covered screw. Put them in a jar with just enough Works to cover and it started bubbling right away. I left the jar outside and went to dinner. About 5 hours later I remembered to check on them and they were rust and zinc free. I rinsed everything in water and dried with a paper towel. This stuff does create some nasty fumes and it’ll wash the pupils right out of your eye but it works better than anything else I’ve tried which is just about everything except Evaporust. The zinc covered screw looked like it could have stood to soak a little longer or maybe it was too long, not sure, but if you want to make a new screw look old this will do it. I accidentally dripped a drop on my tablesaw and wiped it up within 30 seconds but it left a clean streak. I also tried wetting a paper towel and wiping down a hand plane but that did nothing, it needs full contact.

Here is the de-zinc’d screw next to a shiny one.

Before and after, sorry for the harsh lighting.

Update: Here is something more worthwhile than nails and screws. I used The Works on most of this Stanley 9 1/2, used Naval Jelly on the top of the cap.


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Rick M.

5871 posts in 1470 days

20 comments so far

View THOMRIDER's profile


103 posts in 2158 days

#1 posted 08-17-2013 12:26 PM

Nice job, so how does the cleaner work on toilets?

-- Its all about the jigs

View AaronK's profile


1418 posts in 2555 days

#2 posted 08-17-2013 06:46 PM

works great on toilets :-) it’s HCl, so strong stuff, like Rick said. Works really well on the pink mold that tends to grow in damp bathroom spaces too. Never thought to use it in the shop, but why not?

for safety, best is to use in a well ventilated area and with gloves.

View JoeinGa's profile


5634 posts in 1097 days

#3 posted 08-17-2013 07:27 PM

Good to know this….

And I’m guessing pretty much any toilet bowl cleaner will do the same?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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Rick M.

5871 posts in 1470 days

#4 posted 08-17-2013 08:06 PM

Joe, based on what I’ve read, most name brands are less toxic and less effective on rust. The Works is something like 20% hydrochloric acid/muriatic acid. Besides removing rust, it will also kill ants, purify table salt, remove corrosion on steel, aluminum, copper and brass, clean old coins, clean concrete, clean rocks and gemstones, or even clean your toilet and shower. You can mix it with bleach and make chlorine gas for trench warfare.


View Hawaiilad's profile


2643 posts in 2111 days

#5 posted 08-18-2013 12:47 AM

Rick that is really good to know…they don’t have a Dollar store here on the Island, but we do have a $1.99 store…have to check them out. Wonder how it would work on dentures…LOL

-- Larry in sunny and warm Hawaii,

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


719 posts in 2599 days

#6 posted 08-18-2013 04:47 AM

how does the cleaner work on table saw blades ?

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View patcollins's profile


1341 posts in 1955 days

#7 posted 08-18-2013 12:46 PM

I don’t think i would put a saw blade in it, HCL cleans the metal because it eats up the metal. Would be scary to have teeth flying off a blade at you.

View amagineer's profile


1402 posts in 1687 days

#8 posted 08-18-2013 04:33 PM

Thanks for the tip.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View Grumpymike's profile


1629 posts in 1405 days

#9 posted 08-18-2013 05:52 PM

Oh sure Rick, now that I bought a gallon of Evapo-Rust last week, you come up with the $1 product.
I really don’t know why you would want to de-zinc a fastener … you paid extra for the zinc coating and now you remove the zinc ???
Oh, BTW, HCL is not safe to use in septic systems.
Thanks for the post and the tip.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

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Rick M.

5871 posts in 1470 days

#10 posted 08-18-2013 07:01 PM

There are times when you don’t want a shiny fastener; and around here all screws are coated with something unless you buy stainless. There are also times when I’ve needed a new bolt or nut for an old machine and the only thing available was a nice shiny one which sticks out like a sore thumb… a shiny sore thumb, lol.


View Routerisstillmyname's profile


719 posts in 2599 days

#11 posted 08-18-2013 09:21 PM

Teeth flying off a blade. i keep hearing this about every thing that is under two dollar and actually works but not the expensive stuff you have to buy at woodworking stores that don’t work :-)

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1270 posts in 1039 days

#12 posted 08-18-2013 09:56 PM

I use it to remove the rust stains from my shower. I use a respirator and spray it on the walls I wait about 3 min and rinse the rust right off. It doesn’t take long.

View TexAus's profile


24 posts in 1781 days

#13 posted 08-19-2013 04:26 PM

It removes rust like crazy – but don’t get it on cast iron! I almost ruined an old hand drill I was restoring by placing it in a jar of The Works. It did a good job of eating away the cast iron body of the drill.

View JayT's profile


3886 posts in 1301 days

#14 posted 08-19-2013 04:41 PM

Removes rust. Check.

Causes rust. Also a check.

Make sure to store this (or any other HCl acid) totally away from ferrous metal. The fumes will cause massive amounts of surface rust, regardless of finish. In the hardware stores where I work, every single shelf within eight feet of the muriatic acid is rusty within a year despite the epoxy paint. Unprotected steel, such as the paint and stain cans are even worse. I’m not sure of the science, just know the results. Check out comment #34 on the other LJ review of this product.

Not saying it doesn’t work well or not to use it, just wanting to warn of possible bad side effects if proper precautions are not taken.

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View PurpLev's profile


8522 posts in 2739 days

#15 posted 08-19-2013 04:58 PM

interesting… thanks for the review

sounds like the after and side effects as well as the health issues aren’t all that ‘cheap’ and worth it long term in my mind (but that’s just me).

if you want cheap – electrolysis is as cheap as it comes.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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