How to Remove Rust Stains

Rusting is characterized by the formation of a red or brown oxide coating on iron or steel due to the presence of oxygen and moisture. This article provides tips for removing rust stains.
Rust stained concrete wall as background
The term 'corrosion' refers to the degradation of a metal due to a chemical reaction. Rust refers to flaky, corroded fragments of iron or its oxides that form due to a reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of moisture or water. It is reddish brown in color. Removing rust stains from fabrics and concrete can be a tedious task, but it's not impossible. One just needs to use the right products and follow the right method. One must refrain from rubbing on the stained area.

Methods for Cleaning

From Clothing

Rust stains appear on clothes if the fabric comes in contact with a rusted surface. Mild stains can be easily washed off, but tough stains may persist even after thorough washing. Do not use a dryer to dry clothes, as doing so may cause permanent discoloration. Rhubarb stalks have been identified as a cleansing agent against tough stains. Take a few stalks of rhubarb and boil them in water for 20 - 30 minutes. Strain the stalks from the water and then soak the fabric or clothes in a vessel containing this water for few hours. This will lighten the stains. Let the clothes dry in the sun for a few minutes. Wash the clothes with a detergent.

From Concrete

When a concrete surface is stained by rust deposit, it may be treated with muriatic acid. Pour two cups of water and one-fourth cup of the acid in a plastic container. Don't pour the acid first as it could be dangerous. Pour a small amount of the prepared acid solution on the affected area. Small bubbles will form at the surface due to the reaction. Let the acid soak into stained surface. Scrub the stain with the help of a floor brush. If you find some residue, reapply the acid solution all over again. Once the blot is gone, thoroughly wash the concrete surface, so that there are no traces of the acid. Muriatic acid is harmful when it comes in contact with the skin, so it is advisable to wear adequate protective gear when using it.

From Carpet

For removing a stain on a carpet due to rust, you can use a paste made from the cream of tartar and water. Prepare a thick paste of tartar by mixing water into the cream of tartar. Apply the paste as a thick layer on the affected surface and let it settle for half an hour. Then, blot out the paste with a damp paper towel or a piece of cloth. Do not rub the surface, as rubbing can harm the fabric of the carpet. You can also use vinegar. Just pour some vinegar on the stain and allow it to seep for a few hours. Then, dab the surface with a damp cloth to remove the vinegar. Let the area dry up and then use regular carpet cleaning methods to wash off the carpet.

From Fabric

A common remedy would be application of lemon extract on the surface. For this, you will require a half-cut lemon or some bottled lemon juice. Place the fabric on a pile of white paper towels. Apply lemon juice on the fabric till the spot thoroughly absorbs the poured juice. Dry the fabric under the sun with the paper towels underlying it. Once it is dried, wash it off in the usual manner.

If you spot rust stains on fabrics or elsewhere, use the aforementioned methods at the earliest. Delaying it would make the removal tiresome.