How to remove rust stains from different surfaces

How to remove rust stains from different surfaces. Photo: Pexels
How to remove rust stains from different surfaces. Photo: Pexels

Rust appears in a reddish-brown color when iron and oxygen react in the presence of moisture to form iron oxide.

+ Learn how to clean the pool to enjoy the warmer days!
+ Discover the Benefits of Vegetable Oils for Skin Health

As rust spreads and the volume of iron oxides becomes larger than the original metal, the structure or integrity of the material can be damaged, often irreparably.
That’s why so many iron objects are coated with rust-resistant alloys such as stainless steel, zinc-galvanized, or aluminum or coated with paint or varnish to prevent or slow down oxidation. However, with normal wear and tear and exposure to the elements, these impediments can be considerably reduced and rust will begin.

Iron oxide easily reaches other surfaces, from fabrics to stone countertops and metal itself!
We are going to share with you the best ways to remove rust safely and without much effort.

How rust removers work

There are three types of rust removers: chemical, chelating, or converters.

  • Chemical

Acids: Regardless of whether you use commercial or natural products, a key ingredient is acid. Citric acid (lemon juice), acetic acid (distilled white vinegar), tartaric acid (cream of tartar), and stronger acids such as hydrochloric and sulfuric, react with rust to help loosen its bond with other surfaces.
Petroleum-based solvents: Not as toxic as acids, these solvents, like WD-40, work much more slowly to loosen rust.
Sodium hydrosulfite: found in commercial powder rust removers, this salt compound works well on fabrics, stone, and worked surfaces, like porcelain.

  • Chelating

Non-toxic and eco-friendly, chelates use a chemical reaction to wrap around iron oxide particles and break their bond with the underlying surface. They take longer to work and may require immersion for up to eight hours.

  • Converters

For a highly rusted item, converters use tannic acid and an organic primer to stabilize rust and stop damage to the underlying surface. They also act as a base for painting the item. Although ineffective on some metals (aluminum, copper, stainless steel, or galvanized metal), they work well on iron or steel surfaces such as fences or grills.
Now that you know a bit about rust removers, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! Let’s go!

How to remove rust from garden tools

Use a petroleum solvent
Rust on garden tools can affect the integrity of the metal and cause the moving parts to malfunction. Regular cleaning with a petroleum solvent like WD-40 or coating with a rust converter will prolong their durability for many years.

How to remove rust from metal furniture

Take preventative measures
Wrought iron furniture is beautiful but will eventually rust unless protected with paint or lacquer.

Resolve small rust spots immediately

For small areas of rust on indoor or outdoor aluminum or stainless steel furniture, use a commercial rust remover or make a paste of baking soda and a few drops of water. Apply generously and let it act for at least 10 minutes. Rub with a microfiber cloth and rinse. Repeat until the rust disappears.

How to remove rust from stainless steel appliances and utensils

Make a homemade paste
If your favorite stainless steel frying pan or spatula begins to rust, make a paste of cream of tartar and a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Apply the paste to the rusted area and cover with plastic wrap. Wait at least 30 minutes and wipe everything off with a microfiber cloth. Rinse well and voila! This same paste works well on stainless steel countertops and appliances.

How to remove rust stains from fabrics and carpets

Home products
Homemade products like a paste of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar and salt and the ultraviolet rays of the sun can do wonders to remove rust stains from fabrics. Just be patient and often repeat the procedure.

Keep bleach away from any stain on fabric or on any surface that looks like rust. Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is an oxidizing agent that reacts with iron particles and will make the stain permanently bound to the surface.

How to remove rust stains from concrete floors

Use distilled white vinegar
If the rust stains are not very dark on the concrete, pour white vinegar directly on the stains and let it act for at least 30 minutes. Scrub with a hard brush and rinse. If the stains are large and dark, use a commercial rust remover containing oxalic acid.

Tips to prevent rust stains

• Apply oil or paste wax to iron surfaces.
• Avoid scratches on coatings and keep the metal clean.
• Paint the metal.
• Store metal items properly and avoid prolonged exposure to moisture.
• Choose coated or galvanized metals.

Back to top