How To Remove Rust Stains From Plastic Cooler [Explained]

Your plastic cooler might get rust stains sooner than you expect. As impossible as it sounds it can happen. And when it does, you feel super annoyed. 

Now, how to remove rust stains from plastic cooler?

Rust stains on the plastic cooler can be removed. There are some items that can be used to eliminate rust stains. Detergent, WD-40, vinegar, baking Soda, lemon Juice, coca-cola, and ketchup can be used individually. You have to maintain some steps to use them properly. 

Easy right? But you will need more than this information to remove rust stains properly. We have provided the details you need here.

So, let’s jump into the article.

The Cause Of Rust Stain On A Plastic Cooler

rust stain remover on a plastic cooler

Plastic usually doesn’t rust. So, how’s it possible that your cooler has rust stains?

Well, it’s possible that your plastic cooler has rust stains due to another rusting metal. Not understanding clearly?

Let us explain it to you-

Simply put, the cooler might have come into contact with rusting metal. That metal has affected the cooler, which is why it has rust stains. 

How To Remove Rust Stains From Plastic Cooler

how to remove rust stains from plastic cooler

How Can You Get Rust Stains Out Of A Plastic Cooler?

There are numerous methods for removing rust stain. However, you must select the appropriate item for the job.

Let’s begin with the gentlest cleaning approach. Then work our way up to more powerful ones for plastic. Here’s a list of resources to assist you on how to clean white plastic cooler-



For really mild rust stains, a simple wipe with a cloth and detergent is enough. To get the best results, check out the steps we’ve provided-

Step 1 of 1: Mix Water With Detergent

Water Detergent

First, simply make warm soapy water. You can accomplish this by combining some detergent with water.

Step 2 of 2: Rub The Rusted Spot


Then you can use a rough sponge or a towel. Dip either of them into the detergent mixture. Then rub on the rust spot.

This will only work for the lightest and brand-new rust stains. Because they haven’t had enough time to completely ruin the plastic of your cooler.

There are numerous detergents available on the market. But we are suggesting you the best three- 

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Gain Laundry Detergent Liquid Plus Aroma Boost. 
Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent Soap. 
Gain flings Laundry Detergent Soap Pacs. 

Any of these detergents will help you to remove the rusted stains.

Lubricating Oil

Lubricating Oil

Lubricating oil is one of those strange items that are quite effective. They can eliminate rust stains from plastic in a short period of time.

For the best results, follow the instructions outlined below-

Step 1 of 2: Use A Spray Bottle

You will need a spray bottle to use lubricant oil. So, get the bottle first. Fill the bottle with the lubricant oil. Then apply it to the stains.

Step 2 of 2: Spray & Wipe Off The Stain

Now, simply spray some lubricating oil into the rust stains. Wait for a minute. After that, clean with a somewhat abrasive sponge.

The rust will begin to dissolve immediately. When you’re finished, it will be rust-free and as good as new.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Now, you might want to know: does baking soda remove rust? 

To answer that, yes. Baking soda is effective on things with minor rust stains. It is also effective on thin metal objects.

Step 1 of 2: Combine Water And Baking Soda

Make a thick mixture of water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. And rub it all over the metal. 

Don’t have baking soda? 

Well, here are a few suggestions-

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. 
Milliard 5lbs Baking Soda. 

Grab them so you can start working!

Now, when correctly blended, the baking soda mixture should become a thick paste. This mixture is a great rust stain remover.

When the mixture is complete, it is time to apply it. Make sure to cover any rusty places. 

Step 2 of 2: Leave On the Rusted Area

Allow the paste to settle on the object for about an hour. Within this time, the paste will start soaking up the rust stain.

Then clean the moldy places with warm water and bleach. After that, set aside for 10 minutes. Rinse the cooler with the hose once more. If required, repeat the procedure.

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice 1

Lemon juice, which is obviously quite acidic. You can just wipe the lemon juice onto the rust stain. 

Rust is iron oxide. So, it will dissolve in an acidic solution no matter how weak the acidic solution is. 

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Now the steps-

Step 1 of 2: Squeeze Some Lemon Juice

We prefer to squeeze the lemon and leave a puddle to soak over the rust discoloration. Rust stains should be left to soak for 20-30 minutes or more.

Step 2 of 2: Use A Sponge To Remove The Rust Stains

Remove the rust stains using an abrasive sponge. It will remove the majority of rust stains. Your cooler will also smell lemony fresh after this. 

By the way, you can even buy lemon juice in a bottle. This may be less expensive than buying and utilizing real lemons. To help you out, here are some recommendations-

Lucy’s Family Owned. 
Iberia 100% Lemon Juice. 

Get any of these to quickly remove the rust!


WD 40 remove rust

People might ask Does WD-40 remove rust? 

WD-40 protects metal against rust and corrosion. It can penetrate stuck parts, displaces moisture, and lubricates nearly anything. It also eliminates grease, grime, and other contaminants from most surfaces.

Anyway, let’s check out the cleaning process on how to remove rust from metal cooler-

Step 1 of 1: Apply Directly On The Rust Stains

You can buy any WD-40 from your local store. Then you can apply it straight to the rust stains.

Step 2 of 2: Use A Sponge Or Cloth

Wipe it away with a towel or a sponge. However, don’t be too aggressive. Keep on wiping the area till the stains are gone. This is how rusted stains can be removed. 


Coca Cola

Coca-Cola is both acidic and includes phosphoric acid. This acid eats away at rust and makes it easier to wipe away. 

But there is an issue with using coke to wipe the rust off a cooler. Using coca-cola can be an efficient technique for eliminating rust. But the rust really needs to soak in the coca-cola for it to be successfully removed. 

Step 1 of 1: Soak The Cooler Into Coca-Cola

If the rust is in the cooler’s bottom. Then you’ll need a large bottle of Coca-Cola. Dump the coke into the cooler’s rusted stains and let it soak.

Step 2 of 2: Scrub The Rusted Area With A Cloth or Brush

In this step, you have to scrub the rusted place with a cloth or brush. This is how you can remove the rust from your plastic cooler. 

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However, the rust could be on the inside or outside of your cooler. You won’t be able to properly soak it in coca-cola in such a situation.

We wouldn’t recommend coke in that case. Use one of the other solutions provided above instead. Or you can pick ketchup as described below.


ketchup remove rust stains

How does ketchup remove rust stains? This might sound silly. But it truly works.

Because ketchup is thick and sticky. It also does not dry as quickly as vinegar. It can be used to treat rust stains on your cooler’s walls.

Step 1 of 1: Apply The Ketchup With Brush

Take a scrubbing brush. Put ketchup on it. A few drops of ketchup will be enough. 

Step 2 of 2: Scrub With A Brush

Scrub the rusty area with the brush. If the stain is particularly strong, leave the ketchup for 30-60 minutes. Then scrub the area. 

After that, you will see the result by yourself. 

These are the 7 items with steps you can follow. Choose wisely before applying it. This is how you get rid of the rust. 


Question: How quickly does wd40 work?

Answer: It works approximately in fifteen minutes. When it comes to choosing a penetrating lubricant, WD-40 is a good item to utilize. All you have to do is spray the screw with WD-40 Penetrant. And then wait for around fifteen minutes and let it work its magic.

Question: Is toothpaste effective at removing rust?

Answer: Yes, it also works as a rust stain remover. The white, non-gel type is the most effective. Just rub the toothpaste onto rust spots. Then wait for 10 minutes and wash it away. 

Question: How do you clean an old cooler with baking soda?

Answer: Wrap the baking soda combination in plastic cling wrap. So that it may soak the rusted area without the vinegar evaporating. After soaking, scrub it well with an abrasive sponge. After that, it should be rust-free. Before spraying with vinegar, apply baking soda to the rust stains. This chemical reaction also aids in the removal of rust stains.

Bottom Line

By now we believe you know how to remove rust stains from plastic cooler. Hopefully, now you can easily remove the rust stains.

By the way, mix lemon juice and baking soda for an even stronger effect. Nevertheless, if you have any more queries on how to remove rust from plastic containers, do leave a comment. 

Good Luck!

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