Despite its name and caustic sounding purpose, Evapo-Rust seems to be safer than you might think.

Evapo-Rust MSDS linked here:

Scrolling Instagram reels and I came across a popular video showing a craftsman who goes by @HighCaliberCraftsmanBuilds sticking a large, bulbous piece of rusted metal in a bucket of EVAPO-RUST with his bare hands.

Think rust remover and caustic cleaners like CLR and industrial grade chemicals come to mind so, sticking your hand in EVAPO-RUST can’t be good, right?

Other Instagram users in the comments even sounded off, saying what he’s doing is not the best idea and is detrimental to long term health.

“I Don’t think you’re supposed to stick your hand in their like that!,” @BMXBiker466 commented.

“Wear gloves, my dudes. Bladder cancer sucks,” @EatDirtFartDust added.

“Bare handed is next level crazy,” @RonnyOriginal87 replied.

However, there were many in the comments who said using EVAPO-RUST like that is safe.

Who am I to believe?

If you missed it, I linked EVAPO-RUST’s MSDS above, and you can find it linked here, too.

Here’s the composition and Physical and chemical properties of Evapo-Rust.

And, here’s the Toxicological information and safety measures CRC recommends if exposed.

As you can see, EVAPO-RUST is 80+ percent water. The stuff that makes it eat rust is a “proprietary nonhazardous chelating agent and nonhazardous detergent.”

If you read the First Aid safety measures, EVAPO-RUST is not expected to cause respiratory, skin, or eye irritation.

And, if you drank the stuff, all they say will happen is you’ll get an upset stomach. That’s all!

Evapo-rust backs up their MSDS claiming that,

” It is safe on skin and eyes. It requires no special equipment, such as gloves or protective eyewear. You can dip your hand in Evapo-Rust. Even if Evapo-Rust splashed in your eyes, you wouldn’t notice any more than if water splashed your face.”

I can hear the skeptic in you shouting at your smartphone telling me, “dude, of course the company’s going to say it’s safe.”

Which, to that, I say, “Yes, I hear what you’re saying.”

What you need to be concerned with is that active ingredient.

What is it?

Well, it’s proprietary, so, except if someone’s tested the EVAPO-RUST to find out its exact composition, no one really knows.

There have been some good-educated guesses, though.

What’s the chelating agent in Evapo-rust?

In the simplest terms, a chelating agent is a substance that binds with metal ions, particularly iron ions involved in making rust.

By binding to these ions, a chelating agent prevents or slows rust formation, protecting the metal from corrosion.

There have been many educated guesses what’s the exact chelating agent in Evapo-rust.

According to a bike enthusiast on Schwinn Bike Forum,

“Many people believe the main ingredient is ethylenediaminetetraacetate or EDTA “.

EDTA is commonly used in medicine, food preservation, water treatment and as a stabilizing agent in various chemical reactions.

EDTA is generally recognized as safe when used within specified limits. Regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have established guidelines and acceptable daily intake levels for EDTA in food and other consumer products like Evapo-Rust.

A Redditor believes the active ingredient in Evapo-Rust is some kind of tannic acid.

“Evaporust uses tannic acid IIUC. Yes, an acid, extremely weak, but it acts directly on the rust and not the metal. Food safe. Doesn’t require gloves,/u/bulwynkl commented.

Tannic acid is a type of polyphenol found in various plants, including fruits, vegetables, and tea. It is also commonly used in certain food and beverage products, as well as in traditional medicine and industrial applications.

Further still, a more nuanced and scientific discussion on what’s the active ingredient of Evapo-Rust took place on /r/HomeChemistry with various educated guesses thrown out.

” The chelating agent might be etidronic acid, or amino acids from a biological source such as agave juice,” /u/Edevo commented.

“(It’s) a sulfur based organic component (enzyme or catalyst) is probably the secret ingredient,” /u/littlegreenrock added.

Whatever the exact chelating agent might be, it seems to be properly diluted and weak enough to not actually be dangerous in it’s literally watered down form.

What’s the detergent in Evapo-Rust?

Detergents, like household and laundry detergents, help remove oily and greasy substances.

In Evapo-Rust, detergents help clean the surface of the metal helping the active ingredient (whatever it is) reach and interact with the rusted area, facilitating the breakdown and removal of rust stains. The detergent also assists in lifting and suspending the loosened rust particles, making it easier to rinse them away.

According to a poster on The Naked Scientists,

“The detergent could be something like choline (cationic) or a deprotonated fatty acid, like laurate (anionic) or betaine (neutral, zwitterionic).”

In general, detergents are safe when used as directed and in accordance with recommended guidelines.


According to the company’s MSDS and possible chemicals the chelating agent and detergent can be, Evapo-Rust seems to be pretty safe, even if you touch and drink the stuff.

Regardless, I’d treat Evapo-Rust like all chemicals and take proper precautions. Don’t spill it, ingest it, or splash it in your eyes.

When using it, wear proper protective clothing and eye protection, just in case.

And, even if you touch the stuff or accidentally get it in your mouth, now knowing what you know, I wouldn’t freak out about it.

I’d just wash it off as normal, rinse my mouth, and drink some water to dilute it.

All in all, Evapo-rust is pretty safe.


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