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Removing Rust Stains - suggestions?

1397 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  rizzilient
The guy who built my aluminum fishing arch suggested that I use steel wool to improve the finish if ever it becomes dull or to remove small nicks, pockmarks, scratches, etc…. I spent a number of hours this past winter giving my fishing arch a new finish it desperately need. Looks like new. Problem is, I didn’t think to remove all the steel wool dust particles that fell to the deck resulting from the job. I figured I was putting the boat in the water in a few weeks anyway and would clean it then. That was a mistake; the steel wool dust quickly rusted (practically overnight) and stained the fiberglass deck. I tried scrubbing it with minimal results but it still looks terrible. Any suggestion on how to remove the rust from the deck?
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Rust stains

Rizz, there's a product sold in marine stores called On/Off. Put some on a rag and wipe the rust away. It will remove the rust immediately. Be careful though. This is powerful stuff. Don't get it on your clothes. It will eat away at it. I use it all the time for rust and for those algae/growth stains along the waterline. You might want to follow-up with a marine/fiberglass polish after the On/Off. good luck

Bleach works pretty good also. I've used FSR (fiberglass stain remover) from west marine ... and I think the bleach worked just as well if not better.

Big 10-4 go with the on/off,and a scrub brush, Be Careful it is an acid.I suggest trying bronze wool instead of steelwool
Thanks for the replies

I tried using bleach to no avail - thanks anyway boatnblues. I'll try the On/Off. Sounds like it might be good stuff to have around anyway.

AHHH.... bronze wool. Good Idea!

Someone also suggested I use a product called CLR(Calcium, Lime and Rust remover). I may give that a shot too.

Thanks for the quick responses,
I just used the On-Off on some rust on mine last week. It works GREAT! Just be very carefull, and make sure you have a long sleeve shirt, and Rubber Gloves. I went thru aobut three pair doing mine.
It takes your skin off as easily as it takes off rust, or any other stains on the fiberglass. I did wash it off when I was done, and I put wax on the area.
I used a product called softscrub
on my stainless, and rust stains on has a small amount of bleach in it,works great
you get in grocery store and pretty inxpensive.
Rust ' Soft Scrub

Dan, I use soft scrub on the whole boat except for those rust stains and along the waterline. You need too much elbow grease to try to get those off. On/Off works like a charm. Give it a shot. I agree though, for everyday cleanup, soft scrub is really good.

Fatal Attraction
Toilet bowl cleaner will work well. I would be very hesitant to use soft scrb as it contains abrasives and will scratch any shinny gelcoat.
Another good product is Hull Cleaner, works well on a variety of tough stains but again be carefull as it is also an acid.
Re: Removing Stains

I would definitely use ON/OFF. It is made by Mary Kate and the company is based right here on Long Island. This product works wonders. Use the hull cleaner as they have many products. Word to the wise, make sure that you wear gloves cause it is powerful stuff. I used it for the growth on the water line and on occassions to clean the deck. They also claim that it is safe for the environment. Good Luck!

never used it on rust, but TILE-X works on an awful lot of stuff. Get it at the grocery store-give it a try-if it doesn't work the old lady can use it.

P.S. it's great on fenders, hatches and chairs! Spray it on-hose it off!
The best rust remover for my boat I've ever used is a bathroom bowl cleaning product called "Sno Bowl". Meant specifically for rust stains in areas that have hard water (water smells like sulphur/rotten eggs) like in the South or upstate. I believe Wal Mart carries it locally or buy some in a grocery store next time youre in an area where people use water softeners for their drinking water. Price is much more reasonable than marine products, non-abrasive and it works.
The verdict is in….

I first tried a product called CLR that I mentioned above. Primary because the person that recommended it, had it, which meant I didn't have to buy it and I could save a couple of bucks. It didn't work at all. So I went to Fred Chall Marine Supply with every intention of purchasing ON/OFF. With my hand on the bottle, a sales person asked me if I need any help. I explained that I need to remove some rust stains from my deck and was told this is the way to go. The sales person explained that ON/OFF was designed to be used on the hull and that I should use a product by Starbrite called "Rust Stain Remover". The Starbrite was $5 cheaper than ON/OFF so I new the guy was giving me honest advice. Also the Starbrite stuff came in a spray bottle which would make it easier to use. Turns out the salesman was right. Sprayed the stuff on the rust stains, waited a few minutes, wiped it off and it was gone. Man that was simple. Some spots needed a little scrubbing with a green scrubby but it all came up. Again, thanks for all your advice.
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