Rust Remover for Bikes

This bicycle chain is too rusty to be saved.

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The best rust remover for bikes would be one that works relatively quick and easy without using any elbow grease. Rust removal is a constant problem for anybody who works on older bikes. Find out what rust remover and methods work best.

Rust removal methods run the gamut from rubbing parts with steel wool or aluminum foil to using old tried and true rust removal chemicals such as Naval Jelly. Some even insist that Coca Cola is the best rust remover bar none. While all of these methods work to an extent I’ve settled on using something else for rust removal.

Using Steel Wool or Aluminum Foil

If you don’t mind using a little (or a lot) of elbow grease, steel wool or aluminum foil will work. You can make chrome parts look presentable again. However all your work may be for naught. Even though the rust on the surface of the metal is gone, you can’t remove the rust that is in the pores of the metal with steel wool or aluminum foil. The parts will begin to rust again, and fairly quickly if you live in a wet or humid environment.

Using Naval Jelly, Coke, or Other Corrosive Chemicals

Naval Jelly has been used as a rust remover almost as long as rust has been around. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration but for as long as I can remember it has been the standard for rust removal. It does an amazing job on rust. Coca Cola does a pretty good job on rust too – keep that in mind the next time you open that can of Coke and drink it.

The problem with using corrosive chemicals for rust removal is they can etch the metal if the parts are exposed too long. The recommendation for Naval Jelly is to use a brush to apply it and only let it sit for 20-30 minutes, not hours.

My Go-To Rust Remover for Bikes

I’ve used, and still use,the above methods for removing rust on bikes. That said, my go-to rust remover these days is Evapo-Rust. Unlike Naval Jelly it isn’t corrosive. Since it’s PH neutral it can be dumped down the drain when you are finished using it.

Immerse your rusty bike parts in Evapo-Rust and leave it sit for a few hours before checking them. It doesn’t work as fast as Naval Jelly. You may have to leave some parts overnight or longer. The Evapo-Rust will get down into the pores of the metal and remove that rust as well.

If you have really scaly, heavily rusted parts you can speed the process along by using steel wool before immersing them. Evapo-Rust also makes Evapo-Rust Gel that you apply like Naval Jelly. I’ve never used the gel so I can’t say how well it works.

Soaking parts in Evapo-Rust is the best method I’ve used so far. It may take a little longer to remove rust, but at least you stand a better chance of making sure it won’t return as fast as you removed it.

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About Greg Dickerson

I got my first 10-speed bike at the age of 14 and have been addicted to cycling ever since. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I've ridden the Seattle to Portland (STP) and Providence Bridge Pedal rides several times.  Due to having a traveling job, I've had the opportunity to ride in several states when away from home as well.

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