Few things are as annoying as watching your clothes, flooring, and precious household items being plagued with rust and rust spots. While it may not always be possible to prevent rust formation, there are several methods to help you get rid of these unsightly stains for good. However, commercial rust removers may not always be the right choice. A store-bought, chemical-laden rust stain remover may end up doing more harm than good in the long run. But do not despair! We can help you get rid of these dreaded orange stains without using harsh chemicals.

Before we come to that, let’s find out what causes rust and rust stains on various surfaces.

What Causes Rust & Rust Spots?

You must already know that rust forms when iron or iron alloys are exposed to oxygen and moisture. But then how do you end up with rust stains on non-metal surfaces like clothes, carpets, concrete/marble floors or ceramic sinks? Well, that’s mainly because when a rusted object comes into contact with other surfaces, it may leave behind a nasty stain! 

1. Rust Stains On Clothes

One of the main reasons behind rust stains on clothes is hanging washed clothes on iron lines. Rust stains may also appear when damp clothes are hung on iron hangers. In some cases, your clothes may end up looking yellowish after a few washes. This might be a sign of high iron content in the water used for washing the clothes. 

2. Rust Stains On Tiles, Countertops And Carpets

Rust stains on ceramic tiles, countertops, carpets, flooring, upholstery and similar surfaces are usually transferred from metal furniture, decor items, utensils and LPG cylinders. 

3. Rust Stain On Sinks And Tubs

You can end up with rusty sinks and tubs owing to rust particles from deteriorating water fixtures and pipes that are then carried through your water supply. The high iron content of water entering your home may also lead to rust spots forming in areas that often have standing water (like toilet bowls). 

4. Rust On Kitchenware

Your stainless steel kitchenware may also end up rusty and discoloured if not washed and stored properly. When you store your metal cutlery, knives and cookware without properly washing and drying them after use, they become susceptible to rust and rust spots. Also, make sure you don’t let the utensils sit in the sink for too long.

Unfortunately, just soap and water are not very effective in getting rid of rust stains. Want to know how to remove iron stains without the help of harsh chemical-based cleaners? We can help! 

10 Effective Home Hacks To Get Rid Of Rust Stains 

Wondering how to remove rust from bathroom fixtures, tiles, kitchenware, flooring and clothes? Follow these simple DIY iron stain remover remedies to keep unsightly rust spots at bay. 

1. Potato And Dish Soap

One of the best ways to remove small and less stubborn rust stains from various surfaces is potato and dish soap. Potatoes contain oxalic acid, which is commonly used in cleaning products. This method might be a little messy, but the quick and effective results make it worth your time. You can use this remedy to get rid of rust stains from kitchen appliances, metal items and clothes. Here’s how to remove rust stains with the help of potato and dish soap. 

You Will Need:

  • 1 potato 
  • Dish soap

Method: 

  1. Cut the potato in half. 
  2. Cover the open end of the potato with dish soap. 
  3. Use the potato as a scouring pad and rub it over the rust stain until you see it fading away. 
  4. Wash off or wipe off the excess soap from the cleaned item/surface. 

Tip: You can also sprinkle a little salt or baking soda over the half potato to boost its effectiveness. These ingredients act like a mild abrasive and can help in scraping off the stain as it dissolves. 

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is widely used in DIY cleaning remedies. But did you know it works well on rust stains too? Baking soda works like a charm for removing less severe rust stains from thin metals, baking pans, clothes, floor and other surfaces. Here is how you can use this ingredient as a rust stain remover for metal items, pans and clothes. 

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Steel wool/metal brush/scouring pad

Method 

  1. Rinse the metal item and shake dry. 
  2. Sprinkle the baking soda over the item. The powder will stick to the damp metal item. Make sure you cover all the rust stains. 
  3. Let it sit for about an hour. 
  4. Scour the item with steel wool or metal brush. Use a scouring pad for cleaning pots and pans. 
  5. Rinse the item and wipe off the water with a towel. 

To remove rust from clothes:

You Will Need:

  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • A soft bristle toothbrush
  • A bucket full of cold water

Method:

  1. Brush off the excess rust with the help of a soft-bristle toothbrush.
  2. Rinse the rust stain under cold water to help dilute it. Higher water pressure will help remove excess stains. 
  3. Now add the baking soda to the bucket of water. 
  4. Soak the garment in this solution for about 30 minutes. 
  5. Take the garment out of the baking soda solution and wring out the excess water. 
  6. Wash your garment using a gentle detergent. 

3. Vinegar

A vinegar bath is a very effective iron stain remover for rusty tools and other steel items. This method works because the acidic nature of vinegar effectively breaks down the rust. 

The only thing you need to keep in mind is that vinegar may prove to be damaging on certain finishes. It is always better to do a patch test before submerging your item into the vinegar solution. Avoid using vinegar on aluminium or delicate items. Read on to find out how to remove rust saints from steel items, metal tools, carpet and upholstery.

You Will Need:

  • White vinegar
  • Steel wool or metal brush

Method:

  1. Pour undiluted white vinegar into a dish. 
  2. Submerge the rusted item into white vinegar. 
  3. Let it sit for a couple of hours or overnight. 
  4. Scrape the rust stains with a metal brush or wool. 
  5. Wash and dry the item. 

Here is how you can get rid of rust stains from items that cannot be submerged in vinegar. Simply soak rags in white vinegar and wrap them around the rusted area for a couple of hours. Remove the rags and wipe off the excess vinegar. 

For cleaning rust stains on carpet and upholstery:

You Will Need:

  • Salt
  • White Vinegar

Method:

  1. Sprinkle some salt on the stain. 
  2. Soak a cloth in white vinegar. Wring out the vinegar. 
  3. Now place this cloth on the stain. 
  4. Let it sit for 15 minutes. 
  5. Remove the cloth. 
  6. Now place a clean cloth on the stain. 
  7. Continue until the stain begins to disappear. 
  8. Dust off the excess salt. 

4. Salt And Lemon

Talk about natural cleaning solutions and lemon is one of the first ingredients that pop into our minds. Since lemon juice is acidic in nature, it can help in loosening rust. Salt, on the other hand, acts as a mild abrasive that’ll work to remove the stain without damaging the surface. This method is completely natural and safe and works well to clean rust stains from metal items, knives, countertops and clothes. 

You Will Need:

  • Salt 
  • Lemon (cut in half)

Method:

  1. Coat the rust stain in a layer of salt. 
  2. Squeeze lemon juice over the salt. 
  3. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes. 
  4. Now use the lemon rind to scrub the rust away. 
  5. Repeat the procedure if required. 
  6. Leave the salt and lemon juice on the stain for another hour. 
  7. Rinse the item and dry. 

To remove rust from clothes:

You Will Need: 

  • Lemon juice
  • Salt

Method: 

  1. Mix lemon juice and salt. 
  2. Apply the mixture to the stain and leave it for some time. 
  3. Keep moistening the rust stain with the lemon-salt mixture from time to time. 
  4. Continue until you see the stain disappear. 
  5. Wash or wipe off the solution from the cloth. 
  6. Wash the garment as usual. 

5. Kerosene

Here’s how to remove rust stains from tiles! Kerosene works similarly to vinegar but is more powerful and gives quicker results. This makes it the perfect ingredient to get rid of tough rust stains. Kerosene can be used to remove rust stains from floor tiles to make them sparkly clean. 

Here’s how to remove rust stains from tiles and other surfaces.

You Will Need: 

  • 2 tablespoons of kerosene
  • Cotton rag
  • Water or paper towel

Method:

  1. Pour the kerosene over the rust stains. 
  2. Leave it for 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Rub the surface using the cotton rag. 
  4. Let the solution stay on the surface for another 5 minutes. 
  5. Use water or a paper towel to clean the surface. 

Tip: Kerosene gives out a strong odour. Make sure not to leave it on the surface for too long. 

6. Citric Acid

If you are wondering how to remove rust stains from metal tools, this remedy can help! Citric acid can be used to clean up old metal tools and other accessories. It can easily remove significant rust stains. This safe and mildly abrasive cleaning ingredient is commonly used in biodegradable cleaners. 

You Will Need:

  • 2-3 tablespoons of citric acid
  • Hot water
  • Brush

Method:

  1. Fill up a dish with hot water. 
  2. Put the citric acid into the hot water. 
  3. Submerge the rust-stained item into this citric acid solution. 
  4. Let it sit overnight. 
  5. The next morning, take out the item from the solution. Use the brush to scrub the stain to remove lingering rust flecks. 
  6. Rinse and dry the item. 

Tip: Citric acid may affect the integrity of a few surfaces and coatings. Do not submerge painted items into the citric acid solution. 

7. Toothpaste

Toothpaste acts as a mild cleaning agent to remove scuffs and stains. Non-gel kinds of toothpaste with baking soda work best for cleaning purposes. You can add some baking powder for extra power. You can use this ingredient to clean ceramic or porcelain sinks, tools, silverware, clothes and more. 

You Will Need: 

  • Toothpaste
  • Baking soda

Method:

  1. Clean the sink using warm water and a cleaner. Make sure the cleaner does not have bleach. 
  2. Use a towel to dry the sink. 
  3. Now mix one part of toothpaste and one part of baking soda to make a thick solution. 
  4. Apply this paste to the stain. Leave it for 10 minutes. 
  5. Use a toothbrush or scrub pad to scrub off the rust stains. Continue till the rust starts to loosen.
  6. Rinse the sink with cold water. 
  7. Reapply the paste and rub some more if required. 

Here’s how to remove iron stain from clothes using toothpaste:

You Will Need:

  • Toothpaste. 
  • Damp cloth

Method:

  1. Apply toothpaste to the stain. 
  2. Use a damp cloth to rub the stain. 
  3. Rinse off the toothpaste and wash the garment as usual.

8. Coca-cola

Yes, that’s right! Your favourite beverage can also double up as a cleaning agent to remove rust stains. Being a carbonated drink, coke can effectively dissolve with metal oxides and cut down rust on various metals and alloys. Coca-cola’s citric acid and phosphoric acid also add to its rust busting power.

Wondering how to remove rust stains from steel, metal hardware, nuts, bolts and chrome? Just follow this simple method! 

You Will Need:

  • Coca-cola

Method:

  1. Pour coca-cola into a dish. 
  2. Submerge the rusty item in coke for a couple of hours.
  3. Take out the item and scrub the rust stains. 
  4. Rinse and dry the item. 
  5. For items that cannot be submerged, simply pour some coke over the stains. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before scrubbing the stains. 

9. Salt

Removing iron stains from clothes cannot get easier than this! Salt is often used with ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice to boost deodorizing and cleaning action. However, it can also be used on its own as it can effectively cut down and remove rust stains on fabrics. 

Here’s your answer to how to remove iron stains from clothes. 

You Will Need:

  • A pinch of salt
  • A bucket of water

Method:

  1. Add the salt to the water. 
  2. Soak the rust-stained garment in this solution for a few seconds. 
  3. Take out the garment from the solution and wash as usual. 

Do not leave your clothes in saltwater for too long as this may hamper the colour of your fabrics. 

10. Ketchup

Another household item that can be used for returning your steel items to their former sparkling glory is ketchup! The acetic acid content in your favourite condiment makes it an effective solution for getting rid of unpleasant rust spots. To make this remedy more effective, spray the stain with washing soda and water solution before slathering it with ketchup. 

You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Washing soda
  • Ketchup

Method:

  1. Create a solution by mixing washing soda and water. Fill this solution in a spray bottle. 
  2. Vigorously shake the bottle and then generously spray the rust stain with this solution.
  3. Now apply some ketchup over the stain. 
  4. Let it sit for about 2 hours.
  5. After two hours, rinse the item with water and wipe dry. 

Tips To Prevent And Remove Rust Stains 

Now that you know how to remove iron stains from various surfaces, here are a few things you need to keep in mind. These effective tips can help you keep your belongings free of rust and rust stains. 

  • The best offence is defence! Prevent rust by caring for your items. Oil garden tools before storing them. Avoid putting knives and cutlery into the dishwasher. Protect your items from the weather by storing them properly. Make sure they are dry before being kept away
  • Dry sinks and tubs with a towel after use to avoid rust formation
  • Act fast! The quicker you work on a stain, the easier it will be to remove it
  • Items soaked in lemon juice or vinegar may appear black at first. However, they will return to their original colour once they have been rinsed
  • These home hacks are the perfect answer to how to remove rust stains from steel. However, you need to practice some caution while using them. A few of these remedies used mild acids and abrasives to get rid of rust stains. Be careful when cleaning expensive items or antiques
  • A few of these remedies can be quite messy. Work over the sink or cover the area under the rust stain with newspaper or paper towels to catch the spills. This will make the cleanup easier
  • Using abrasive scrubbing brushes and steel on painted surfaces may lead to scratches. Use a toothbrush or a non-abrasive brush on more delicate surfaces
  • After removing rust from a metal item, make sure you store it in a cool and dry place. Consider wrapping the item in paper if it is not being used frequently
  • Before using a remedy on delicate surfaces, it is best to carry out a patch test on an inconspicuous section
  • Some fabrics might not be suitable for trying out stain removal remedies. Read the care instructions carefully. It is recommended to take delicate fabrics straight to the dry cleaners 
  • Do not scrub fabrics too rigorously. This may lead to fading and abraded fibres
  • Do not use chlorine bleach to remove rust stains. It is an oxidising agent and will end up accelerating the rusting process

The best way to avoid rust stains is to take care of your belongings and avoid rust in the first place! But if you do end up with nasty rust stains, these safe and natural remedies are just what you need! There are several household ingredients that can be used for getting rid of those pesky orange spots! However, not all of these remedies are suitable for more delicate surfaces. Make sure you do a spot test before applying the DIY cleaning solution to the spot. Happy cleaning!

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