Frequently Asked Questions
How does Rustbeeter's™ chemical process work?
Rustbeeter™ is a byproduct of the sugar beet-refining process.
Sugar beets need iron-rich soil to grow, as they have an affinity for iron. In a concentrated form after being refined, they continue to actively seek out iron oxides.
Each molecule of Rustbeeter™ combines with a molecule of iron oxide and the by product of this chemical reaction is water. The net result is no leftover residue.
How is Rustbeeter™ packaged?
Rustbeeter™ is sold as a dry product that is mixed with tapwater. A 5-gallon pail requires about 18 pounds of dry Rustbeeter™ granules. A 5-quart box requires about 4 pounds.
How do I mix Rustbeeter™?
Rustbeeter™ is a food byproduct. Simply mix it with tapwater to produce a loose, pudding-like slurry.
What will happen if I mix Rustbeeter™ with too much or too little water?
If you add too much water, let some of it evaporate out. If the solution appears too thick, add tapwater until it makes a pudding-like slurry. Having too much water in the solution will not hurt the metal part you are treating.
Can I make Rustbeeter™ into a paste and apply it on a part to remove rust?
No. Rustbeeter™ is designed for a soaking process, and thus, the entire part must be submerged in the product. Oxygen in the air affects the de-rusting process.
What kind of container should I put Rustbeeter™ in?
A plastic pail is a good choice, and a plastic container with an automotive type spray-on rubber undercoating will help deter mold growth.
The best container for Rustbeeter™ is a rubber livestock pail available at feed stores in 4-gallon to 15-gallon sizes. Note that livestock containers do not have tops. They should be fitted with a cover. If an odd-shaped part will not fit the bucket, a plywood box lined with plastic will work fine. Be sure, however, that the part is completely covered with Rustbeeter™.
What is the largest part I can treat?
Rustbeeter™ is designed for a soaking process, so you must be able to submerge the part for it to work. If you have a part that is too big or long for a traditional pail, then build a container that will better accommodate the part. Making a wooden box and lining it with plastic works well; so do 15-gallon rubber livestock feed pails available at farm supply stores.
Must I take mechanisms apart before I treat them?
Remove wooden and aluminum parts from the steel or cast iron being treated. If you have removable parts that are rusted on, de-rust the entire part and then use penetrating fluid to loosen the rusted area. Once that mechanism is disassembled, degrease and then soak the parts again in Rustbeeter™.
Does grease or oil on the part affect how Rustbeeter™ works?
Because Rustbeeter™ is a water-based food byproduct and because water and oil do not mix, metal must be degreased before being soaked in Rustbeeter™. Even heavily rusted parts might need degreasing, as the rust will form above the greasy and oily surface.
Will Rustbeeter™ remove paint?
Rustbeeter™ will not remove paint that is properly adhered. However, most paint has rust beneath it and Rustbeeter™ will remove the rust and float the paint.
Will Rustbeeter™ loosen rusted parts?
Rustbeeter™ is not a penetrating fluid. If you have parts that are rusted on, de-rust the entire part and then use a penetrating fluid to loosen the rusted area. Once that piece is removed, degrease and soak all parts in Rustbeeter™.
Is Rustbeeter™ a rust converter?
No. Rustbeeter™ is a true rust remover, not a rust converter. It will clean the metal part, not seal or convert the rust. Rustbeeter™ leaves a chemically clean surface that will immediately re-rust without a surface treatment. The exceptions are chrome, galvanized and black oxide parts, which do not need a surface treatment.
Will the metal start to rust again after being cleaned by Rustbeeter™?
Yes. Rustbeeter™ completely cleans the surface of the part but does not apply any protective coating. When de-rusted, the metal will be chemically clean and ready for priming/painting, oiling or waxing. If rust starts forming before the surface treatment is applied, simply re-soak the part in Rustbeeter™.
What will happen if I use Rustbeeter™ on aluminum?
It will destroy aluminum. As a sugar beet byproduct, Rustbeeter™ is slightly acidic. This keeps the product fresh. There is enough acid in Rustbeeter™ to eat aluminum, but not enough to etch steel.
Does Rustbeeter™ affect surface finishes?
Some. Rustbeeter™ will remove gun bluing and Dicromate. It might also negatively affect Damascus steel gun barrels. However, it does not affect chrome, galvanized, zinc or black oxide surfaces.
Does Rustbeeter™ affect black-oxide surfaces?
No. Rustbeeter™ does not remove or damage black-oxide surfaces. Simply re-oil the surface for a factory-like appearance.
Can brass or copper be treated with Rustbeeter™?
Rustbeeter™ will not harm copper or brass. While it will not remove tarnish, neither will Rustbeeter™ damage the surface of the brass or copper.
Will Rustbeeter™ harm soldering, cork, plastic, or Fiberglass?
No. Rustbeeter™ will not affect any of these materials.
Does Rustbeeter™ affect wood?
Yes. It is recommended that you remove metal from wooden parts. Because wood is porous, Rustbeeter will soak in to the pores. The wood might darken and take on a molasses-like odor.
Will Rustbeeter™ clean chrome?
Yes, Rustbeeter™ removes rust from chrome and makes it as shiny as it was when originally plated. Of course, any pitting cracks or flaking from the rusting process will remain.
Does Rustbeeter™ work on cast-iron?
Rustbeeter™ removes rust from cast-iron surfaces, recesses and pitted areas. Due to the high carbon content of cast iron, a slight buildup of free carbon will remain on the surface, giving a darker appearance to the part. To remove this carbon "dirt," simply brush the surface lightly with a small, toothbrush-sized fine wire brush.
After treating a cast-iron part with Rustbeeter™, the metal surface sometimes has a white, chalky powder on it. How do I get rid of it?
Occasionally, a white powder will adhere to the surface of cast-iron part treated with Rustbeeter™. Simply put the part back in the Rustbeeter™ slurry and then, without rinsing, submerge it in a small container of clean tapwater. The diluted solution will remove the white powder. The part is then ready to be rinsed and to be applied with a surface treatment.
How long will Rustbeeter™ take to de-rust metal, especially heavily scaled parts?
The heavier the rust, the longer the soaking time. An average piece of metal with average rust will be cleaned within three to seven days. Heavily scaled rust will take longer, perhaps several weeks. Knock off loose scale with a hammer and then keep soaking the part in Rustbeeter™ as long as it takes to remove all the rust.
There are two types of rust. Red rust is common and easy to remove. Black rust, however, is very hard and dense, can be quite difficult to remove and might require longer soaking times. It might also be necessary to mechanically remove the black rust. Heavily scaled parts will sometimes contain black rust.
Can I leave the part in Rustbeeter™ too long?
No. Rustbeeter™ does not affect the base metal, regardless of the length of soaking time. Once the rust is removed, the part can sit in the solution indefinitely without harm to the surface.
I've removed the rust; what is the next step?
Because Rustbeeter™ is a food byproduct, the part can simply be washed or hosed off with tapwater and then treated with a surface finish. Dish soap also is an excellent solution to aid the washing process.
What should I do if I get Rustbeeter™ on my hands?
Just rinse them off. Rustbeeter™ is a natural food product and is safe to handle and use. There are no health issues associated with using Rustbeeter™.
If I am not going to use Rustbeeter™ for a long period of time, how should I store it?
Mix the product with enough water to maintain a slurry-like consistency and seal the top with a tight-fitting cover. Store in a cool place. Rustbeeter is not affected by freezing.
How long can I store Rustbeeter™?
Rustbeeter™ can be stored dry indefinitely. It will not lose its potency.
If Rustbeeter™ is mixed with water and not stirred occasionally, it might grow mold. The container should be covered with a loose-fitting lid during use so the water will not evaporate as readily.
If the container is not covered, the water will evaporate and the product will deteriorate.
Why does mold grow on the top of Rustbeeter™ and what should I do to prevent mold growth?
Rustbeeter™ is a food product and contains complex sugars. Thus, it is an ideal mold-growing environment. However, when properly mixed in a loose slurry, enough acid will be produced to prevent mold growth.
If mold does occur, simply scrape it off. To prevent mold growth, find a more suitable location for storage and make sure the Rustbeeter™ solution is covered.
What is the best environment for using Rustbeeter™?
Ideal conditions call for being stored in an area above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but not too hot. A basement, garage or workshop works well.
How long will a 5-gallon pail of Rustbeeter™ last?
A 5-gallon pail is expected to last about two years. It should treat about 200 pounds of average metal parts with average rust.
Can I add new Rustbeeter™ to a used solution?
Yes, but it would be best if you just started with a fresh pail of Rustbeeter™.
How do I dispose of Rustbeeter™ after it is spent?
Rustbeeter™ is a food byproduct and can be disposed of safely. However, because it might become contaminated with lead paint or automotive chemicals from the soaking process, it is recommended that Rustbeeter™ be disposed of in a sanitary landfill.
How does Rustbeeter™ compare to other rust removers, such as acids (muratic acid, phosphorus acid or vinegar) and caustics (toilet bowl cleaner or lye)?
Since Rustbeeter™ is a food byproduct, it is safe to use, handle and dispose of, unlike acids and caustics. In addition, once the rust is removed, it will not etch into the base metal, like acids and caustics do.
How does using Rustbeeter™ compare to abrasive processes such as sandblasting, bead blasting or wire brushing?
Rustbeeter removes only rust and does not damage the base metal. All abrasive processes, such as sandblasting, bead blasting and wire brushing negatively affect the surface of the metal.
How does Rustbeeter™ compare to soda blasting?
Soda blasting has a "light touch" that is good for removing paint. However, it will not remove rust because the soda media is too soft to affect the hard iron oxides.
Some blasters might use abrasive sand mixed with soda or other media for rust removal. That practice can warp the metal and damage the surface of the part.
How can Rustbeeter™ save time, labor and money?
The small amount of soaking time it takes Rustbeeter™ to work is made up by the fact that it saves time, labor, and money.
Not only is Rustbeeter™ inexpensive when compared to other rust-removal products and virtually labor free when compared to sandblasting and wire brushing, but it also retains a part's original patina and, thus, its value.