rustoleum rust reformer remover

Rustoleum Rust Reformer Review

Metals are known to suffer the devastation that naturally comes with age and time. This is normal as we humans also suffer a similar fate.

If you don’t care for your equipment that is made of metals, they will take a quick chemical change.

They will develop rust as soon as they come in contact with water or air, and that’s not a palatable thing. If they develop rust, basic rust removal techniques may not be adequate. You need the touch of a good rust converter such as Rustoleum Rust Remover to tackle this.

In this Rustoleum Rust Reformer review, you’ll find out what this powerful rust converter can help you achieve, including its PROS and CONS.

I promise not to leave anything out.

Rustoleum Rust Reformer Review

Rustoleum is a household name in the rust converter industry. The company calls its rust converter “rust reformer.”

The Rust Reformer is a water-based primer, and it contains two essential ingredients – tannic acid and organic polymer (2-Butoxyethano).

Tannic acid reacts with rust (iron oxide) and changes it to iron tannate. Tannins are natural products that are extracted from trees, fruits, and grasses.

On the other hand, 2-Butoxyethano provides a robust protective layer, thus preventing water and air from coming in touch with your metals.

Ultimately Rustoleum Rust Reformer bonds perfectly with rusted metals, leaving them with a paintable surface. Rustoleum Rust Reformer is odorless and soluble in water.

Applying this product on rusted metals doesn’t require the use of specialized safety equipment. It works very well with oil-based industrial paints and lacquer.

How Rustoleum Rust Reformer Works

rustoleum rust reformer remover

Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer is a rust converter that chemically treats rust on metals via what scientists call “chelation.”

Chelation can be described as the chemical reaction involving certain acids and rust at the molecular level. This reaction gives birth to the ion that suspends in any solution.

Recall that Rustoleum Rust Reformer contains tannic acid that chemically bonds with the rusted metals to create a durable and impenetrable surface.

It is this tannic acid that bonds with rusted metal and changes the surface to a paintable surface. This product can work on frames, exhaust manifolds, chassis components, bumper mounts, as well as axles.

Rustoleum Rust Reformer Vs. Other Rust Converters [Scientific Analysis]

From 1987 to 1992, the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) carried out a study, comparing lots of different new rust converting products.

CCI puts some steel plates outside in different locations in Canada, including “Halifax” on the Atlantic coast. When the steel plates had rusted enough, an assortment of nine different rust converters was tested by the CCI, and they discovered that three of them stood above the rest.

One of the rust converters used was Rust-Oleum Rust Converter, the predecessor of Rust Reformer – the second treatment is not available anymore – and the third chemical is known as Conquest from Eco-Lab, also called “Chemsearch” in Canada. Rust Reformer is far more affordable than Conquest.

Personally, I think that the major weakness of Conquest is that it’s formulated with a high concentration of sodium hydroxide, which is insanely caustic and needs severe protection including a respirator as well as a one-piece chemical suit that covers the face, eyes, head, and hands.

Interestingly, this is not the only study to confirm the efficacy of Rust Reformer. The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) recently conducted a study (based on the earlier CCI study), comparing Rustoleum Rust Reformer with four other similar products.

After the accelerated weathering, NCPTT confirmed that:

It was only the samples that were treated with Rustoleum Rust Reformer that showed little to no active corrosion and signs of failure.

With all these studies, and from personal experience, I can boldly tell you that Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer is indeed a great product, and I highly recommend it.

Rustoleum Rust Remover Directions

rustoleum rust reformer review

When using Rustoleum Rust Reformer, there are so many considerations you need to keep in mind.

There is another class of rust converter popularly known as “rust encapsulators.” It is important not to confuse Rustoleum Rust Reformer with the former.

Rustoleum Rust Reformer ensures that oxygen and water don’t get to the metal. The following are the directions for using this product:

  • Before using contents, stir it properly
  • Pour some of the contents into a non-metallic container
  • Brush the rusted areas evenly
  • Apply the rust reformer using a brush or a spray gun
  • The reformer will dry in less than 20 minutes
  • Do not return unused rust reformer to the container; otherwise, you will contaminate the remaining content and thus reduce its effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you required to remove rust before painting with Rustoleum Rust Reformer?

You just have to prepare the rusty surface before applying Rust-Oleum. This is will help the paint or primer to adhere to it properly. The paint and primer also help to protect the metal from further rusting.

Does Rustoleum stop rust?

Yes! Rust-Oleum is a trusted leader in rust prevention and protection. It’ll also provide a durable finish to your project.

What does Rust Reformer do?

Rustoleum Rust Reformer will bond with rust and instantly transform it to a flat-black, non-rusting paintable surface, preventing future rust. It’ll save you the effort and time of sanding rust down to the bare metal.

How long does it take Rust Reformer to dry?

Rust Reformer will dry to the touch in about 20 minutes. And applying a second coating will also help to ensure proper rust conversion.
Rust Reformer protects the surface of metals from the negative effect of oxidation

  • Drying time is very fast
  • It produces a durable and impenetrable surface
  • It is odorless
  • It is easy and straightforward to use
  • It is non-corrosive and non-flammable
  • Can be used on household and industrial applications
  • It can prime metals
  • Rustoleum Rust Reformer is not compatible with automotive paints.

Here’s how to paint rusted surfaces:

Does rustoleum Rust Reformer stop rusting?

Rust-Oleum® Stops Rust® Rust Reformer® instantly bonds with rust and transforms it to a non-rusting, flat-black paintable surface as well as preventing future rust. It saves you the effort of sanding rust all the way down to bare metal. Rust Reformer is odorless, water soluble, completely safe and easy to apply.

Do you have to paint over rustoleum Rust Reformer?

Is it necessary to paint over Rust Converter? Although it’s not required, if your surface is exposed to the outdoor elements, we highly recommend applying two coats of a quality oil-based paint over Rust Converter.

How long does it take for rustoleum Rust Reformer to dry?


Dries to the touch in 20-40 minutes, to handle in 1 hour and can be topcoated in 3 hours with an oil-based paint. Allow 3 days before top coating with a lacquer or aerosol.

Do I need to prime over Rust Reformer?

A: While Rust Reformer is designed to turn rust black and make the metal paintable, it is not designed as a primer. Use the Rust Reformer, which contains oxalic acid, to spot paint over rust spots, then prime the whole door with an oil-based exterior primer and finish with an oil-based house paint.

Do you need primer after Rust Reformer?

It’s water-based and uses tannic acids to convert rust into a stable surface. I suggest using an oil-based primer and paint after using the Rust Reformer. Rust-Oleum suggests at least two light coats of the Rust Reformer before priming and letting the object dry for 24 hours between coats.

Does rust converter really work?

Heavy, flaky rust – Rust converter works best on rust that is HEAVY. This would be scaly rust that has begun pitting the surface and has covered all of the metal. In fact virgin, clean metal could actually flash rust if rust converter is applied and left on it.

How do you remove rust from a reformer?


Remove all dirt, grease, oil, salt and chemical contaminants by washing the surface with a commercial detergent, or other suitable cleaning method. Rinse with fresh water and allow to thoroughly dry. Scrape and wire brush or power tool clean to remove loose rust, scale, and deteriorated coatings.

What can I spray on rust Reformer?

Stop rust in its tracks with Rust-Oleum® Stops Rust® Rust Reformer. A layer of this flat-black coating bonds with rusty metal and instantly transforms it into a non-rusting surface. No need to sand down to bare metal, simply spray directly onto rust.

What is the best rust converter product?

  1. Editor’s Choice: Evapo-Rust Original.
  2. Rust-Oleum Automotive Rust Reformer.
  3. JENOLITE Rust Converter.
  4. Loctite Extend Rust Neutralizer.
  5. Rust Converter ULTRA – Pro Grade Rust Repair.
  6. Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter.
  7. VHT Rust Convertor Can.
  8. Rust Kutter- Rust Converter.

Can I paint over rust Reformer?

For spots that are very badly rusted or too delicate or detailed to clean thoroughly, use a product like Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer, which soaks into the rust and changes it into a non-rusting, paintable surface (Photo 3). Once done, you can paint over rust.


One effective way to treat rust is to have the best rust converter. Thankfully, Rustoleum Rust Reformer does an excellent job in this regard. With this product, the problem of corrosion and rust is a thing of the past.

What’s your experience with this product? Share your thoughts with us using the comment box below.