Unilever logo
Cleanipedia ZA logo

How To Remove Rust Stains

Rust stains are always unsightly, and especially annoying on surfaces in the home. Find out how to remove rust stains from a variety of materials below.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

how to clean remove rust

Rust is a reddish brown layer of iron oxide that forms when an object containing iron is exposed to oxygen and water, like moisture in the air. In humid climates and near the ocean, rust is likely to form on tools, door hinges, and even metal clasps and fittings. Here are several easy tips on removing rust stains and rust itself from your household objects and clothing.

Removing rust can be difficult, but there are specialised commercial rust removers available to buy. Alternatively, you can use household items to tackle rust in different places in your home and garden. For example: vinegar will help to dissolve rust on metal. Just be sure to test any cleaning product on a small area first to make sure there is no damage.

How to Remove Rust & Rust Stains

With all the tips below, test any products you use on a small area of your surface or material first, and always read product labels to ensure that you are using them properly. Remember to rinse your object or cloth with clean water after you’ve removed the rust and allow it to dry fully.

Commercial rust removers

There are a number of commercial rust remover products and they often work differently, so be sure to read the instructions carefully. These products can be very powerful, so you will most likely need to wear gloves and use them in a well-ventilated space, as the fumes can be dangerous.

White vinegar and salt

This is one of the most popular solutions, the idea being that vinegar will dissolve the rust off the metal.

  • To remove rust from small objects, soak them in a bowl of white vinegar for up to 24 hours.

  • When dealing with larger objects, pour a layer of vinegar over the rust and then add a layer of salt, or dip aluminum foil in vinegar and use it like a brush to scrub off the rust.

  • To remove rust stains on fabric, saturate the stain completely with white vinegar, cover it in a layer of salt, and then gently rub the salt in. Let the stain soak for a few hours and then blot or rinse the rust away.

The Poll

What’s most important to you when it comes to cleaning?

0 Votes

Lemon or lime juice and salt

A simple recipe that’s not as harsh as vinegar.

  • Cover the rust or rust stain in salt, then fully saturate it with lemon or lime juice. Mix the juice and the salt together, and let it soak for a few hours.

  • To clean white clothing, lay the fabric out in direct sunlight for up to 60 minutes, which should remove the stain.

  • With metal objects, use the rind of the lemon or lime to scrub away the rust afterward.

clean remove rust

DON’T use bleach. Bleach does not remove rust! Whatever you do, don’t apply chlorine bleach to the rust or the rust stain – it may react with the rust and worsen the discoloration.DO scrub it off – if the rust is only superficial, you can scrub it off before you apply any rust removal solutions. This should be done only on tools, dishes, and metal fittings that you don’t mind getting a bit scratched. Don’t try this on clothing. Use steel wool, sandpaper, a wire brush, or even a crumpled ball of tin foil to scrub the rust away.

Baking soda paste

This relies on the abrasive quality of baking soda to remove the stain.

  • Mix baking soda with water into a paste, then spread it on the metal or the rust stain. Allow the paste to soak into the rust, and then scrub it off using an old toothbrush, a wire brush, or steel wool. You may need to repeat this a few times.

You are now armed with four easy solutions for removing rust in your home and garden. With just a little work, those reddish brown marks will be history – give it a try!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best rust dissolver?

When removing rust, you can buy commercial products at your local store to get rid of rust. Or you can use household products that you have in your pantry cupboard to get rid of rust naturally like white vinegar and salt, lemon juice and salt, or baking soda.

Can rust be completely removed?

Yes, it can. We recommend trying an at-home remedy first. If that doesn’t dissolve the rust completely, try a commercial rust removing product.

How do you get rust off of metal?

The best natural remedy for removing rust is good old vinegar! Soak your rusted objects in a bowl of white vinegar for a full day. You can add a few teaspoons of salt for really tough rust and gentle rub the salt in.

How to remove rust stains on clothes?

When it comes to clothes, we recommend using a less harsh product. Use a lemon or a lime and rub the juice into the fabric with a little bit of salt. Leave to soak in for a few minutes and then wash as normal in the washing machine.

What is the best home remedy to remove rust?

As we’ve said, there are a few great at-home remedies that you can use. Read the full article above for all you need to know on how to remove rust at home.

Originally published