At Home DIY Rust Removal Treatment – Better Than Malibu in a Salon

hair rust removal diy

Many years ago, a hair dresser told me to use Kool-Aid Lemonade on my hair to remove the rust buildup. Living in the country and having well water, my hair gets to looking quite rusty sometimes.

The treatment is really very simple and VERY affordable too!

What I use is:

  • 2 packs of Kool-Aid Lemonade (yellow, not pink)
  • About 2 Tablespoons of conditioner (the same one I use daily)
  • About 2 ounces of water

Once I have all ingredients mixed well, I apply it to slightly damp hair. I wrap my hair in a plastic bag and then wrap a towel around my head to help contain body heat. Containing body heat helps the treatment process better and deeper.

Leave the treatment on your hair for 30 minutes (I leave it for 30 minutes because my hair is VERY rusty)

Here are the results I had just this morning.


The difference is HUGE.

Do you have problems with rust buildup in your hair? Do you have an “at home” treatment you use? I’d love to hear.

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28 Responses to “At Home DIY Rust Removal Treatment – Better Than Malibu in a Salon”

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  1. Michelle Hoyer Heath says:

    Thanks, I'll give this a try. Just had a malibu treatment at a salon and still have rust stained hair.

  2. Louise Smith says:

    I used to do this when lived on farm. Works good..

  3. Monica says:

    Going to the store to buy some kool-aid, can’t wait to try this. Been all over the web, looking for a inexpensive treatment for my hair. This is the best homemade treatment i found so far. Hope it works for me, like it did for you!

  4. Windy says:

    I have hard well water and my uncle whos a barber suggested i crush a couple vitamin c tablet ( buy a bottle from the dollar store he said ) disolve it in a spoon of hot water and mix into my shampoo. Then rinse and condition as usual.

  5. Shonda Edgerle says:


    • Gayla says:

      Good to know. I am more of a medium blonde. I can imagine this would be a problem for platinum blondes.

    • xtina says:

      It’s possible you need another go at it, or leave in longer… orange (rust) will fade to yellow first then to the palest blonde. My hair ends were awful orange from rust but I tried one at home treatment but only left it in for a few minutes and they’re now yellow. So, that tells me I can do it again, maybe only spot treat the ends that need it.

  6. Jodie says:

    I just tried this treatment tonight. It feel lighter and softer. Thank you

  7. Nikki says:

    I did this treatment and it worked great!!!

  8. Cathy says:

    OMG! MIND BLOWN! This actually worked! I am shocked at how well, actually. I used a shower cap and blasted it with a hot dryer for a few minutes a couple of times and wrapped it back up in the towel. I can’t wait for people to notice so I can tell them how I did it! Thank you!

    • Gayla says:

      I am SO glad it worked for you too! I have sworn by this treatment for several years. You’ll have to let me know if people take notice and what they say. I love seeing the faces of people when I tell them my little DIY tricks 🙂

  9. Janelle Ferguson says:

    I have Crystal Light packets? Do you think that will do the job or should you only use Kool-Aid?

    • Gayla says:

      I have only used Koolaid packets. It’s just the plain, unsweetened kind. I usually purchase a handful of packets at a time and keep them on hand.

  10. Janelle Ferguson says:

    I have Crystal Light packets, do you think that will do the job?

  11. Colleen says:

    I’m going to try this, can I color my hair after doing this treatment? I need to color, but I’ve been afraid to seal in the rust!

    • Gayla says:

      After doing this treatment, I always wait a day at least before coloring and make sure to condition my hair well prior. I’d love to hear how it works for you. Be sure to take before and after pics – even if for yourself so you can see the change. 🙂

  12. Sarah says:

    Does it work with brown hair?

    • Gayla says:

      I apologize for the late response, I just saw this comment. Actually I would think it would be fine on brown hair simply because brown hair is thicker and a bit more course than blonde.

  13. Kayla says:

    I moved from the city to the country, 4 months ago and I had platinum hair, and when I showed up to my best hair appointment my hair was brown from rust buildup from our well water, after professional treatments (3 of them, from 3 different salons) I was told nothing could be done. I did this treatment this morning & I would say 75% of the rust is gone! I may do another treatment in a few days. How often do you do your treatments? Thank you so much!!

    • Gayla says:

      That’s awesome to hear! Youre the first I’ve heard using it on platinum hair. As long as you use a great conditioner, I would think doing a couple of treatments a few days apart would be fine. I’m no hairdresser by any means – I’m just a frugle person with blonde hair and well water 🙂 I have done two treatments in a week before – after we’ve returned from the lakes. I like to follow up my shampooing and treatment with a good coating of Nexus Humectress. I always apply it after shampooing as a leave in conditioner anyway – but after a treatment, I go a little heavier.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Giving it a try now…fingers crossed 🤞🏼

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