As I was writing an article on my electric water heater and thinking about the rust and corrosion, I realized it was my fault. I know how to remove rust from metal surfaces and control corrosion.
I’ve known since 1974 or 1975. That’s when one of my older brothers (David) bought a used 1966 AMC Rambler sedan. What he used to remove the rust was called “naval jelly”.
You can remove rust easily with naval jelly. It only took David a couple of hours to remove all the rust spots on his Rambler. From what I understand, naval jelly doesn’t actually remove rust. It changes the chemical composition of rust to something else. It really doesn’t matter what happens because the rust still disappears.
While I was in the Marine Corps and staying on a United States Navy ship, I watched (on occasion) corrosion control teams doing pretty much the same thing when they found rust spots on the ship.
First, they’d use naval jelly to remove rust, then something else to clean up the residue, and then they’d apply a coat of Navy gray paint over it. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Navy ships don’t show corrosion above the water line and why they can last for decades before being mothballed.
In the United States, you can find a commercial version of naval jelly called, you guessed it, “Naval Jelly”. It’s available in a lot of hardware stores, including Lowes and Home Depot. I don’t know where to find it in the Philippines.
An article I read, “Naval Jelly, the #1 Rust Remover”, said it’s been around for over 25 years. It’s been around for over 40 years, in one brand name or another and United States Navy has probably had their own version around for a lot longer than that.
My washing machine has rust on it. It’s too late to remove rust and save my electric water heater, but not too late to remove rust and save my washing machine. Naval jelly isn’t just for appliances, automobiles and ships. It can be used on pipe fittings and anything else made of metal you need to remove rust from. I’ve already replaced a sink, some sink fittings and some ball valves due to corrosion.
The main ingredient in naval jelly is phosphoric acid and it’s caustic. With all the children living in my compound (and childlike adults), I’ll need a storage room or shed to store chemicals in, along with the tools I’ve accumulated before I can keep any around. That is, when I find some.
I don’t think building a small shed would be too expensive or too much work. I just have to be able to keep the local neighborhood thieves from being able to get into it when everyone’s asleep at night.
Originally published in February of 2016.