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Iron Remover

08/18/2021 9:37 PM

I have a product I use called Adams Iron Remover. It's a detailing product (for cars) - it's made to remove fallout and iron particles picked up from brakes and the road. https://adamspolishes.com/products/adam-s-iron-remover

Iron gets imbed into the paint of your car - rub your hand over your washed car and you'll feel spots of debris - it's not glassy smooth. There are a few ways to remove the fall out - the easiest and most thorough is an iron remover.

I first wash the car to make sure all loose contaminants are off. Then I feel the paint and if it needs Iron Remover, I spray it on the paint and let it turn purple and run. I then use a jet spray and I remove the product and most of the fall out. I then clay the car to get a glass smooth finish and most times I'll hit the car with either a hard or medium cut compound with a hard foam pad on my DA. Then finish with wax!

Back to the Iron Remover. When the product hits a piece of iron, it changes the iron by chemical reaction - it oxidizes the iron, which shrinks it a little and then the iron can be pulled from the paint. Prior to the Iron Remover being sprayed on, the piece of iron is stuck in the paint. If I try to remove it using clay, it shears off the top part of the iron piece and the other part is stuck in the paint.

They say it's pH neutral? I thought it was an acidic product, based on how it oxidizes iron, but it isn't. Here's the SDS for a competitors product. https://www.detailking.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/SDS-Iron_Remover-US-en.pdf

Can someone explain a few things about an iron removal product.

1. How does it work, chemically.

2. Why is it so expensive? Process to make? Ingredients? Transport? OSHA?

3. Is there a way to improve the product? Mix with something else? I got a tip from another detailer - to use the product as a clay lubricant (leave it on after it does the iron remover thing) vs cleaning it off, then spraying my own clay lube on.

Someone also mentioned hydrofluoric acid, but unless someone has a great tip on how to safely use it (don't damage the paint or metal), I'll stick with Adams.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Iron Remover

08/19/2021 12:00 AM

Wow, that's impressive!

You know, this stuff doesn't smell too good. It reminds me of the stuff my sister used for her hair coloring.

I should try using hair dye on one of the junker trade ins I get. Maybe a light color dye if it's a light colored car or dark dye on a dark colored car!

I will say, you research things very quickly and thoroughly. I'm impressed!

And yes, that big bottle of Adams is what I use. I pour it in a spray bottle and then I coat the panel with Adams. It has an orangy smell, but it has that hair color smell underneath - it's pretty stinky!

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Iron Remover

08/19/2021 12:59 AM

Yeah it's used in permanent wave and straightening hair....

https://www.beautyanswered.com/what-is-ammonium-thioglycolate.htm

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#4

Re: Iron Remover

08/19/2021 10:31 AM

I have doubts about the idea of metallic iron becoming lodged in the paint and then being removed because oxidation causes it to shrink.

Oxidation of metallic iron is going to cause expansion. Iron on the road is also likely to be already partially oxidized.

Probably what is happening: I suspect the formulation keeps the pH alkaline to avoid attacking metallic iron, and the iron ions from the oxidation react with the thiol groups to form soluble compounds....this way any exposed metallic sheet metal is not attacked but any rust particles are loosened sufficiently.

Care should be taken to rinse thoroughly and then something should be done to prevent excessive new oxidation should any spots like chips in the paint have resulted in body paned metal being exposed now with the former protective oxidation layer dissolved away. At the very minimum, thorough drying and some form of sealant to slow oxygen interaction.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Iron Remover

08/19/2021 2:01 PM

The pH is neutral...

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Iron Remover

08/21/2021 6:37 AM

Neutral as per advertisement? To what pH range does that translate, if it is 7 on the nose then this product is likely to attack base metals.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Iron Remover

08/21/2021 1:21 PM

7 is the middle of the Ph range,generally considered neutral.

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Iron Remover

09/04/2021 1:36 AM

Of course a pH of exactly 7 is considered neutral. But being pedantic doesn't help. If you happen to have a solution especially one that you're washing your car with it happens to be exactly 7 on the nose oh, it's not going to stay that walk that way for long. A neutral pH generally refers to a range and what I'm saying is if this range is right around 7 because in advertising neutral pH could mean a lot of different things but if it is around you're likely to see base metal attack

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#8

Re: Iron Remover

08/24/2021 11:39 PM

I....

Might be able to help.

I spent close to 2 decades playing around with chemicals (still do, in fact). Manufacturing, formulating and all the other fun stuff that goes with it. Primarily what is called HI&I products- household, institutional and industrial- with a major focus on janitorial and car care products.

One of those was a fallout remover. Another was a clay lubricant. And also ammonium biflouride based rim cleaners among other things.

First thing about fallout- it's not just iron, but iron is the primary culprit because there is a lot of it and of course it turns that lovely orange colour as it rusts, leaving tiny orange stains that gradually become more visible as it bites further into your beautiful paint job. This is from brakes and also rail dust- you'd be surprised how much of a problem this can be on brand new cars!- as well as fly ash and a handful of other things of lesser note.

What happens is that the reduced iron particles land on the surface. To be clear, we are talking microscopic to barely visible in most cases, larger particles will wash of more easily. With time and moisture they oxidize through the ferrous to ferric stages, moving slightly and growing in size as they oxidize and bind moisture to form the typical ferric hydrate compounds of rust. As this happens they also work their way farther down into the paint surface, doing permanent damage.

Now from a chemical point of view! First off let me address your last comment, namely using hydroflouric acid. I have a very good safety tip for using it, as well as ammonium biflouride based products!

Don't.

Just don't.

I don't care what anyone else on here says or thinks when it comes to this. I personally manufactured many thousand gallons of commercial products and oversaw far more than that, including ammonium biflouride based rim cleaners as mentioned. Even so, I would have to complete a 2 day course before my suppliers could sell me concentrated HF, if I was interested in buying it. If you are interested in possible amputations of digits or limbs, gangrene and decalcified bones then try it. For me, the reason my avatar has nitroglycerine is because I'm too scared to use HF!!

Back to your main question. As a thioglycolate- the link you provide says it has a high percentage of sodium thioglycolate- it does NOT primarily oxidize the iron. First off, iron cannot be practically oxidized beyond the ferric (Fe3) stage in normal life so the only thing it can do is oxidize remaining ferrous material to ferric. Second, thio just about anything tend to be reductants to most thing. Third, as another poster points out generally oxidation tends to expand not shrink things. In the case of fallout the major reason for this is the expansion of water of hydration.

What happens is that the sodium (a spectator ion, having little or no activity in this process) helps to reduce the nasty smell you get with the raw acid. When you spray it on it reacts with the iron in a displacement reaction, forming iron thioglycolate- that's what gives you the red or purplish colour.

This is somewhat water soluble, so it can be washed off as well as providing visual indicators that marketing people love! The agitation and chemical dissolution of the surface of the iron help to loosen the iron from the surface and allow it to be washed away. This is part of the reason for the other components of these products, such as glycol ethers and surfactants to help lower surface and interfacial tensions, increasing wetting and removing particulate through detergent action.

The products we made for this were acidic- it just works better and faster!- but based on organic acids and chelating agents, not thioglycolates. This provides a product that is relatively safe to the vehicle, acting as chelation ligands (this means the product forms an ionically oriented linkage that can solubilize and suspend the metal, as opposed to an acid/base reaction) to remove the iron.

As far as cost goes, it is a bit of a specialty item and you are paying for this. Plus the fact that it typically has a far higher percentage of active ingredients, and someone has to pay for the marketing campaign, the company owner's boat....

Ultimately a professional product is the best option, but it's still a slow process if you don't want to risk damaging the surface. And I would not recommend using it as a clay lubricant. They have one purpose only- to make the clay glide. The clay is to pick up the surface contaminants, and absorb them into itself as you use and work it. The lubricant makes it so these do not scratch the surface as you do this, and these products will not do anything for fly ash and anything other than just the iron.

Hope this helps!

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Iron Remover

08/28/2021 12:56 AM

Wow, this is much more than I was expecting, thank you!

I have seen brand new vehicles come to my office with a large amount of fallout. My thought was that it was coming from the factory, grinding steel, which would fly out the window and imbed into the soft new paint. I was also told that the fallout comes from the transport on trains.

I've heard that fallout from brakes can happen to cars as they're driven. Not only from the brakes on the car, but also brakes from other cars on the road (semi metallic brake pads?).

I've owned many cars, but it seems like white cars show fallout the most; rust color spots on the paint (white paint). Though black paint shows fallout in that the paint isn't like a mirror finish.

I've been using Adams Iron Remover, but it's not cheap and I use a lot of it on each panel. I do like the purple streaks, which tells me that it's removing iron. At times, I've also left it on the paint as I clayed the car vs rinsing it off and spraying clay lube. Clay lube isn't very expensive, so I'll take your advice and not do this anymore.

You mention that you worked on Clay lube products. I have a dedicated Clay lube I like using (by Pinnacle). Great stuff, but it's specifically a Clay lube and nothing else. I've also used Instant Detailer spray as a Clay lube - I got the idea from the boxed Mothers Clay Bar/Instant Detailer product. Since Mothers is a good brand, I felt that the ID would be okay as a Clay lube. Another detailer told me not to use it if I wanted to lay down a graphene or SiO2 protectant - he said I need a super clean surface and the ID has silicone and wax in it. What do you think?

Thanks again for the information! Phenomenal!

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#14
In reply to #9

Re: Iron Remover

09/20/2021 5:06 PM

Fallout can happen from anything on the road or the rails. White Audi's used to be the worst! It generally seems to be a transit issue, not so much as from the factory. I'm not really familiar with the Mother's product but most instant details have low molecular weight silicones or polyols in them. These do wash off easily, so a good car wash- or better yet a couple! would often be good enough to clean it down.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Iron Remover

09/20/2021 4:42 PM

How fortunate to find an expert in iron removal.

Is there anything that can remove iron rust stains from concrete,or is that a lost cause?

Thanks in advance for your time and efforts on this matter.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Iron Remover

09/20/2021 4:49 PM

Yes there is!

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Iron Remover

09/20/2021 5:01 PM

In all seriousness, it depends how bad the rust stains are, the quality and finish of the concrete, and how much damage you are willing to accept to the finish.

Something like muriatic acid will do a good job, and also do a good job on the finish...

Any chelating acid such as EDTA will also work, unfortunately they also tend to like the calcium in the concrete. I can look at some disproportionation curves later, but off the top of my head I'd say try one of these rust removers, or else a saturated solution of citric acid that has been adjusted to pH 6.0 with ammonia. Will still require some elbow grease!

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