What is the Difference Between a Rust Converter and a Rust Remover?

There are a number of key differences between rust removers and rust converters. These differences can be seen in how they work on a chemical level as well as on a practical level.

Let’s take a look at each of them and compare the differences. This will hopefully help you make an informed decision on which one is better suited to your needs.

What is a Rust Converter?

A rust converter works by chemically converting rust to a non-reacting or inert compound. This serves as a chemical barrier to prevent rust from developing further or reoccurring. It is important to consider the quality of ingredients when selecting a rust converter as they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some contain harmful and ineffective acids.

Most commonly, phosphoric acid is also present in many of these converters to speed up the chemical reaction. This reacts with the rust (iron oxide) to produce ferric phosphate. Ferric phosphate is the typical black coating that develops when using a rust converter.

Neutrarust 661, classified as non-hazardous, is a unique rust converter system developed for use on rusted ferrous metal services, is a white organic copolymer latex that dries on rusted surfaces and chemically converts rust to a ready to paint, non-tacky layer, in just 30 minutes. It offers complete protection to the treated surface and the black layer it creates can serve as a primer for standard or synthetic resin lacquers, oil-based paints, two-component lacquers or bitumastic and oil tar-based finished including micaceous iron-oxide paints. It is completely non-toxic and does not contain phosphoric acid or lead.

What is a Rust Remover?

Grinding and sandblasting are two physical methods of removing rust. However, the term “rust remover” typically applies to chemicals that do this. These are concentrated acids that “eat” away at rust.

Essentially, you soak or brush the rusted item with the solution before rinsing it off. This process requires taking a bit of care as you do not want to expose the actual metal to the acid for too long as it can cause corrosion and damage the metal. Then after the rust has been removed, the rusting process immediately starts again. Priming and painting is immediately required.

Also, you need to take great care when using some rust removers as they can be dangerous to your health. Make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions.

The Difference Explained

Both rust removers and rust converters react with rust to change its chemical composition in a way that eliminates it. Rust converters chemically react with rust, changing it into a different, inert compound still on the object. Rust removers react with the rust to convert it into other compounds, which then separate from the object. This is the first fundamental difference.

Next, there are differences in practical use. Rust removers essentially strip metals of rust, which leaves you with a bare, metal surface. Rust converters leave you with a hardy coating of ferric phosphate.

The result of a rust remover provides a bare metal surface that will require further process treatments. The result of a rust converter is best used for corrosion control and things that you may want to eventually paint – think boats, car bodies and fences.

Rust removers are sometimes used in conjunction with a physical method like sandblasting or grinding. They also typically require multiple treatments to completely remove rust. Rust converters are easy to apply and allow you to apply extra barriers, such as paint and topcoats, on top.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, both rust removers and rust converters have their benefits. It’s up to you to decide which method better suits your needs. For many, a rust converter, such as the unique Neutrarust 661, is the easiest, safest, and most economical option to go with.