EM (Effective Microorganisms) was originally formulated for agriculture, but it didn’t take long to figure out that it has an incredibly diverse array of uses.

This is the first in a series of newsletters I will write on some of these alternative uses. And this first trial was not entirely successful…

EM for Rust Removal

I had read that EM can remove rust. This is apparently due to its very high antioxidative properties, as rust is generally caused by oxidation. (EM is not only used because of the microbes – these antioxidants are highly beneficial, especially for humans).

I put the end of a crowbar and the end of a putty knife into a container with activated EM (any kind of EM will do). After about a month, the EM had evaporated. There was a small improvement, but I decided to wait longer. I put in more EM and this time I was smart enough to cover it with a plastic bag, which greatly reduced the evaporation.

The crowbar was rusty and the putty knife was covered in a yellow substance that was very difficult to get off. Below are the pictures from before, after 1 month, and after 3 months.



After 1 month:

After 3 months:

As you can see, the EM definitely had an effect on the crowbar, and it looks  all of the rust was removed. It actually looks as though the EM consumed part of the crowbar, perhaps the parts that were rusted right into the steel.

Putty Knife


After 1 month:

After 3 months:

The yellow substance on the putty knife was definitely removed. It “re-stuck” to the upper part of the knife that didn’t spend much time in the EM, as the EM evaporated up top and remained only in the lower section.

Razor Blades

On that same website, I read that keeping your razor immersed in EM whenever you are not using it will greatly prolong the life of the blades, and even keep them sharp.

After a couple of years, I finally decided to try it. As the photo below shows, it actually worked a little too well.

One day while I was shaving, 2 of the blades fell right out of their holder. I suppose the EM had softened (or consumed) some of the plastic.

These microbes are certainly powerful.


It looks to me like EM is quite good at removing rust and other substances, without the use of any harsh chemicals, especially after a few months of immersion.

It is important to keep the whole object immersed in the EM to avoid the substance from “re-sticking”, and you can save a lot of EM by covering the container with plastic to decrease evaporation.

The razor experiment didn’t work out particularly well for me, but I encourage you to try it for yourself.