Remove Rust Stains

by Amy Gordon
(last updated October 10, 2016)

Rust stains from iron left on your driveway, or rust stains on your bathroom fixtures, can be removed with a variety of products. Smaller rust stains on clothes or fixtures can be removed with household remedies, while more severe stains may need chemical remedies.

For a small rust mark on clothing, if the clothing is machine washable or hand washable and can be washed in hot water, boil the clothing in a large pot of water with about a quarter cup of cream of tartar. This should break the rust stain down and wash it away. Rinse the garment well.

If the garment cannot be washed in hot water, or the cream of tartar doesn't work completely, apply a paste of lemon juice and salt to the stain. Press the paste into the stain, and rinse thoroughly. Reapply the paste before the garment has dried, then wash the garment normally in the washing machine.

For carpet stains, try a stain remover that contains oxalic acid. Spray the stain with water, then dab at the stain with a clean cloth or cotton ball that has some stain remover on it. Press the stain with a dry cloth, and then sponge a small amount of water onto the stain. Dab the stain again with the stain remover. Once you've lifted the stain, rinse the stained area with water. Sponge water onto the stain with a fresh sponge or cloth, and use dry towels to soak up the water. Press the wet area with a towel or paper towel to dry the stain as much as possible. Be careful not to let the carpet backing get wet. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda onto the carpet and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up.

For fixtures, if the stain is small, you can try scrubbing at the stain with a paste of lemon juice and salt. Use a strong scrub brush, but a wire-based brush may scratch the finish of the fixture, so you may wish to avoid wire or steel wool. You may use a stain remover that contains oxalic acid to remove rust stains from fixtures as well. Sprinkle or spray the stain remover onto the fixture and let it sit. Avoid scrubbing your fixtures with abrasive cleaners—you may, however, need to scrub a little bit with a rag or the rough side of a sponge. Wear rubber gloves while using oxalic acid products.

If you have a rust stain on concrete, try a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water. Mix about a spoonful of TSP into a bucketful of water. Pour the mixture onto the rust stain and scrub it with a scrub brush.

There are also many products you can buy to remove iron from your furniture, clothes, and sidewalk. You may wish to look at installing an iron filter on your water supply if the iron on your fixtures is coming from your water.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

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