How to remove rust

Rust stains are unsightly and can be difficult to get rid of. Fortunately, removing rust is simple with these tips on the best techniques & products to use.

Updated

Where there are iron furnishings and water in close proximity, there will be rust formation. This is especially true of kitchens and bathrooms, where both of these things are present in high quantities. Removing rust stains from countertop areas and other surfaces can be a challenge for any homeowner, but this guide will offer some strategies for reducing the visibility of these unsightly marks.

Ideally, any rust treatment should take place after you’ve given the surface a good clean. This will help you differentiate between dirt marks and rust stains, making it easier to target rust removal.

Fine steel wool can also be used for rust treatment in the most extreme cases. Beware though: steel wool may also remove paint or polish, and can scratch surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. Make sure to test any cleaning product or method on a small, inconspicuous area first.

How to Remove Rust Stains from Countertops & Floors Made of Linoleum

  1. First, scrub at the rust with a cloth and a solution of warm water and liquid detergent. Rinse the area well once you’ve finished, and let it dry.
  2. If rust still remains on your lino, then it is time to move to a more powerful rust stain remover. When using any new store-bought cleaning products for the first time, be sure to read their labels carefully and wear appropriate protection over your hands and face. Rust removers contain powerful chemical agents – they should be handled with care, in a well-ventilated area, and rinsed off completely after they’ve done their job.
  3. Alternatively, a homemade rust stain remover can be created using cream of tartar (one tablespoon) and water (two tablespoons) to form a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area, scrub in well, and then rinse off with water.

How to Remove Rust from Iron

If you’re removing rust from iron, or wondering how to remove rust from metal surfaces of an unknown composition, try this trick:

  1. Apply white vinegar to the rust stain, and leave it to soak in for 30 minutes.
  2. Use an abrasive sponge or scrap of aluminium to work off the mark, and rinse thoroughly with water before drying.
  3. When the vinegar has entirely gone, follow up with a quality commercial kitchen cleaner to get rid of the smell – vinegar and bleach make a toxic gas when combined, so rinsing first is vital.

The most effective rust removal technique for chrome surfaces is to rub the stain with a small piece of aluminium foil that has been dipped in water or vinegar. This works by transferring electrons between the two metals, which will reverse the rusting process.

How to Get Rust Stains out of Kitchen Sink Basins: Ceramic and Porcelain

If your sink or surface isn’t metal, but ceramic or porcelain affected by rust from another object, try this method:

  1. First, use a wet pumice stone to rub at the rust stains.
  2. After the area has dried, use a rust stain remover.
  3. Alternatively, try another homemade rust remover: mix some lemon with Borax or cream of tartar to make a paste, and apply to the rust. After leaving the paste for five minutes, scrub it in with an old toothbrush. For the best results you should then add more lemon juice and cover the application with salt. This can then be left for a few hours to dry before scrubbing it off.
  4. Then, rinse the area with warm water to remove all traces of rust remover, and use your usual kitchen cleaner to finish.

Originally published