Can Kettlebells Rust & How To Prevent This?

When it comes to home fitness equipment, kettlebells are a popular choice due to their versatility and effectiveness in workouts. However, one aspect of kettlebell ownership that often goes overlooked is the potential for rust. Understanding whether kettlebells can rust and how to prevent it is crucial for maintaining the longevity and safety of your fitness equipment.

Cast iron kettlebells have the potential to rust if the protective coating is damaged or worn off. It’s fairly easy to prevent this with some simple maintenance. A rusty kettlebell is usually easy to revive with some rust removal and a fresh coat of paint.

Let’s dive into when kettlebells rust, if you should be worried about it, and what you can do to prevent this.

Can Kettlebels Rust?

A box full of old, rusty kettlebells.

Most kettlebells are made from cast iron and it should be no surprise that cast iron can rust. However, most kettlebells are protected against corrosion to some degree and they won’t turn into a red ball of rust after a week.

Let’s take a look at the factors that impact how quickly a kettlebell corrodes.


If your kettlebells are made out of cast iron or another type of metal, they can rust. Cast iron does have the tendency to rust quicker than most other types of steel. Almost any type of metal can corrode and since I’ve never seen stainless steel kettlebells, it’s a safe bet that yours can rust.

There are some kettlebells that are made from cement/concrete and covered by plastic. Those obviously can’t rust although they aren’t necessarily more durable than iron kettlebells.

Most new kettlebells won’t rust quickly though. That’s because they are coated with something that protects them


How the metal is protected has a very big impact on if and how quickly it will rust. There are several types of coating on kettlebells that have varying degrees of durability and corrosion protection.

  • Paint: The most basic coating is paint. Usually, they’ll use something strong like Hammertone on kettlebells so it’s more durable. It protects well against corrosion but this type of coating can wear off pretty quickly.
  • Enamel: Enamel is powdered glass that is fused with the iron kettlebell to create a hard, shiny layer that protects against corrosion. It’s quite durable and hard-wearing but can chip through impacts on hard surfaces.
  • Powder coating: Powder coating is tougher and harder than paint and enamel and is the most durable coating for kettlebells. It can still wear and chip over time but if the powder coating is high quality this will take a long time to occur.

All the coatings are effective at preventing rust but enamel and powder coating are more durable. On the flipside, paint is much easier to redo yourself.

Vinyl or neoprene covers don’t do much to prevent rust directly. The metal underneath is still susceptible to corrosion. However, usually cast iron kettlebells will still have paint or enamel under the vinyl cover. The vinyl or neoprene then helps protect that coating so indirectly, they still help.

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Image of two vinyl covered kettlebells.
A vinyl or neoprene coating indirectly helps against corrosion.

Rust Prevention For Kettlebells

There are a few things you can do to stop or at least dramatically reduce the speed at which your kettlebells rust. Here are the most important ones;

  • Wipe down after use: After you’re done, wipe down the kettlebell with a dry cloth. Pay special attention to the surfaces you touch. This is by far the most important thing you can do to prevent rust and it’s easy.
  • Keep humidity low: Store the kettlebells in a space where the humidity isn’t too high. Once the coating wears off, high humidity can start corrosion on a cast iron kettlebell. Storing kettlebells in badly ventilated areas can also increase the risk of rust.
  • Reapply coatings: Paint your kettlebells when you see the coat starting to wear off. This is the easiest with kettlebells that were originally painted and not enameled or powder coated.
  • Layer of oil: Applying a thin layer of oil (WD-40 or 3-in-1 are good) on the kettlebell leaves a layer that doesn’t let oxygen through and thus prevents corrosion. Avoid applying oil on the handle though.

In the end, a little bit of surface corrosion on a kettlebell isn’t the end of the world but you should do something about it before it gets bad. Rust on a kettlebell doesn’t make it better to use and can feel nasty.

How To Remove Rust From Kettlebells?

If you see some rust forming on your kettlebell, what can you do?


Start with the mildest option. Scrubbing the rusty parts will remove any loose rust. It won’t remove any material that hasn’t come loose yet as long as you don’t scrub too hard.

Metal wire brushes will damage the coating that is still on the kettlebell so be careful. You can try a hard plastic brush first and see how far you can get.

Image of a kettlebell with hole rusted in the body.
This one is too far gone…


If the corrosion is deep, the next step is sanding. 40-80 grit sandpaper works well for removing rust. be aware that you’re removing material so you’re effectively making the kettlebell lighter. If you want a nice paint finish after removing the rust, it’s a good idea to sand the affected area with 200 and 400 grit sandpaper for a smoother finish.

Chemical rust removers

Chemical rust removers are an option if you don’t want to use any abrasives. Rust removers have to be sprayed onto the affected surface, left for about 30 minutes, and then wiped off. If the rust isn’t too deep, that will take care of it. You’ll still have to reapply a coating to protect it from further rusting though.

Reapply coating

After getting rid of the corrosion, it’s important to protect your kettlebell’s metal. Otherwise, you’ll be going through this process again in no time.

Don’t just paint over rust because that will just fall off in no time. Remove the rust first before painting. Alternatively, you can use a paint like Hamerite Direct To Rust. this can be painted over surface rust and it will bond and protect the surface.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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