If you have rust on concrete around your home, be it your driveway, garage floor, patio, or around a pool, it can be unsightly. Rust stains can appear easy, yet they are tricky to get rid of and could have you reaching for a commercial rust remover the next time you head off for supplies.
However, many homeowners have found how to remove rust stains from around the home using natural materials and a simple application process. The sooner you deal with rust stain removal, the better, as it just stains the upper layer of concrete.
Rust is iron oxide, and when you know what causes rust stains on concrete, it can help you avoid them in the future after you have gotten rid of them.
In our guide, you can learn the best ways to deal with rust on concrete before you start scrubbing. By the end, you’ll be armed with the best tools and techniques on how to use your specifically formulated DIY rust cleaner to deal with the most stubborn stains without running to toxic chemical cleaners. (Learn How To Remove Rust From Chrome)
What Is The Best Rust Remover For Concrete?
Anyone who has left metal furniture or old garden tools on a driveway knows the unattractive brownish-orange stains these may leave behind.
Wet metal rusts and rust can migrate to concrete surfaces. Homes that have well water are prone to rust stains because of the high iron content.
The longer the rust stain is on your concrete, the harder it is to remove. Here, you can find the best ways of dealing with rust stains on a concrete floor if they are minor stains or, worse, major stains.
Minor Rust Stains
Consider if your concrete is painted or sensitive before you start. If so, dilute the following solutions with water and use a paint-safe brush.
Clean the surface with soap and water, regardless of the rust stain level. This will wash away any surface grease or dirt that may hinder the acids from working efficiently. Liquid dish soap should work fine.
Because most rust removers use acid to lift the discoloration, lemon juice is an excellent option for a gentler, more natural solution, thanks to the high concentration of citric acid.
- Spray lemon juice over all the stain.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Clean the stain with a stiff brush. Note: Instead of using a wire brush, use a nylon brush to remove rust from smooth or painted concrete. Metal bristles can scratch and ruin the surface.
- Wash your concrete floor with cold water.
- Repeat the operation once the concrete has dried if needed.
If lemon juice isn’t working and you don’t want to use commercial rust removers, try white vinegar to remove somewhat harsher stains.
- Again, spray vinegar on the rusty area.
- Wait a few minutes before scrubbing. Scrub in small circles for the best effects.
- Wash with cold water
- Repeat as needed.
Note: To avoid damaging the finish on delicate or painted surfaces, dilute your vinegar and scrub using a sponge with warm water. It’s also recommended to test the vinegar in a small corner to ensure the paint won’t peel.
Major Rust Stains
For larger or more persistent stains, you may need to use harsher commercial cleaners.
Look for a rust remover that contains oxalic acid. Other useful acids include trisodium phosphate mixed with water or hydrochloric acid. To avoid turning concrete blue, add two parts acid to one part water.
These items should be used in a well-ventilated area, and you need to wear gloves, eye protection, and long-sleeved shirts and pants for skin protection. Like the lemon juice approach, add the rust remover or acid (as directed on the bottle), let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then scrape and rinse. (Learn How To Remove Rust Stains From Clothing)
Use a concrete-safe brush to avoid damaging it. For tough stains, use a pressure washer to remove the acid.
- Oxalic acid-based cleaners are widely used to remove rust stains. They are usually liquid or powder form.
- Using a spray bottle, spray or sprinkle the product on the afflicted area, then add water to powdered cleansers as directed.
- Permit it to sit for a few minutes, scrub gently in small circles with a stiff nylon brush, and rinse with cold water.
- Removing all the product can prevent discoloration if left on too long.
Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is another professional cleaning chemical from the home improvement store that works well for removing stubborn rust stains from concrete.
- While wearing protective gloves, pour half a cup of TSP into a gallon of boiling water and let it sit on the rusted surface for up to 20 minutes.
- Scrub in circles with a stiff-bristled nylon brush as before, then finish by pressure washing the area to remove any product from your concrete.
Hydrochloric acid is an extremely effective cure for difficult rust stains, but it must be used utmost caution. To avoid a chemical reaction, always combine it with one cup of water for every two cups of acid.
- Apply the diluted acid to the stain and let it fully penetrate the surface for 10 minutes before washing away the rust and thoroughly rinsing.
- The acid can color concrete blue if left on too long, so be ready to act quickly.
- Repeat until the stain is gone.
A pressure washer is great for eliminating tough stains or spots that are hard to reach. Use a pressure washer to rinse away your cleaning agent while lifting the stain from the concrete surface using a concentrated force. (Find the Best Pressure Washer For Home Use)
Does Coke Remove Rust From Concrete?
Rust stains are difficult to avoid, and if not properly removed, can rapidly become unsightly.
Natural products are one of the cheapest and most effective ways to remove rust stains from concrete. You may not have all the elements and need a quick remedy to remove rust stains from concrete.
Here are a couple more ways to deal with concrete rust stains using things around the home if you are short on white vinegar or enough lemon juice.
How to Remove Rust Stains from Concrete Garage Floor
From dirt and oil to grease and rust, garage floors are infamous for gathering oil stains, and beneath these, you can find stubborn rust stains.
Removing rust from your garage floor and concrete has a quick and easy cure.
- Make a mixture using laundry detergent and baking soda for removing rust stains from your concrete garage floor.
- Combine the components and apply to the rust stain on the floor’s surface.
- Allow the baking soda paste to sit on the stain for about an hour, keeping it moist to prevent it from drying out.
- Scrub the area well with a firm brush before rinsing with clean water.
How to Remove Rust Stains from Concrete Patio
Rust stains on outdoor furniture and your concrete patio are much easier to remove than you might imagine. To remove rust stains from your concrete patio, dissolve the iron oxide with an acid.
This approach can remove rust from the bolts and other hardware that keeps your deck together. Acids are high in ionic hydrogen, which, when coupled with oxygen, helps to dissolve rust. (Learn How To Remove A Rusted Screw)
Strong acids, such as hydrochloric acid, should be used with caution because they can harm your concrete. To eliminate rust without damaging your concrete, use Coke, vinegar, lemon juice, water, and some elbow grease.
The best ways of preventing rust stains include:
- Immediately rinse away any granular fertilizers that touch the concrete. When exposed to moisture, metals in fertilizer can rust in as little as a day.
- Remove any non-coated or painted metal objects from the concrete.
- Protect metal patio furniture, decorations, and hardware against rust by painting or coating them.