How to remove rust stains from non-washable fabrics, clothing, carpets and metals using different natural cleaning methods.
Rust is something that happens to most metal items that we own, especially if it gets wet at some point in time. Rust isn’t particularly great for our health, so we should clean it as soon as we notice it’s presence.
Your favourite knife that was left in the sink can show rust spots quickly, the bathtub can rust if not cared for properly and even fabrics that have metal rust stains on them from the transfer of leaking rust can be culprits in your home.
While rust is always there and is pretty prominent where oxygen, metal and water are involved, there are ways to naturally clean and get rid of rust, even if the rust has been on the item for a long while.
I’ve tested some rust removing methods and love the natural ways of removing rust, so I wanted to share with you how you can also save some of your affected rusty items with a little bit of elbow grease and some natural products.
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How to remove rust stains from clothing and washable fabrics
Rust can get onto clothing or blankets from a piece of metal that was left on the fabric and then the rust ran onto the fabric. Is your beloved white shirt soiled with rust? You can blame it on a rusted laundry machine drum, a brush that came into contact with a rusted handrail, or sloughed off rust deposits within ancient pipes that flow into your laundry room sink.
Whatever the reason, the most basic method for eliminating rust spots from white clothing is a couple of fridge staples that are harsh on rust but soft on cotton, polyester, and other generally durable fabrics: lemon and salt.
You’ll want to set up a cleaning area where you can lay your fabric nice and flat, especially where the rust stain is.
- Rub a sliced lemon half against the stain until saturated to release the rust-removing citric and ascorbic acid from the fruit.
- To assist pull out the stain, sprinkle a dab of table salt over the stain and massage it into the fabric fibres with a soft cloth.
- Allow the garment to sit in direct sunlight (treated side up) for two to three hours to completely fade the stain.
- Finally, machine wash and dry it as usual to get rid of the lemon-salt residue and reveal rust-free, like-new threads!
Please keep in mind that if you’re using this approach on fragile fabrics like chiffon, you should test the lemon juice on a tiny, inconspicuous section of the garment before applying it to any stains on exposed areas of the garment.
Also, because lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent, this method is best reserved for your white duds that need to be restored to their original hue.
How to remove rust stains from carpet or furnishings
Rust forms on metal, no matter what kind of item it may be and metal furniture is no exception. Rust stains can be transferred to carpet easily, but you can wash out these stains easily.
The first thing you’ll want to do is soak a cloth in vinegar and wring it out and then sprinkle some salt onto the rust stain on your carpet or furniture. Lay the soaked cloth over the top of the salt and leave for 30 minutes. If the stain is gone, vacuum up the salt that’s leftover and your furniture or carpet should be stain free. If the stain is still there, repeat the process until it’s gone.
You may be tempted to use bleach on the rust stain, but the bleach will oxidate the rust, even more, making it much harder to clean and maybe even more prominent.
How to remove rust stains from non-washable fabrics
Some fabrics simply cannot be thrown into the washing machine or washed by hand. You can take these fabrics to your local dry cleaner, or try this rust stain removal home remedy at home.
Use salt and lemon juice and mix together a thick mixture, so it’s like a paste. You’ll want to make sure that the mixture will not affect the fabric in a negative way so it’s a good idea to test this mixture on an area of the fabric that is not seen regularly before treating your rust stain.
Once you’ve tested your fabric and ensured that it will be safe from further ruin, apply the salt and lemon juice paste to your rust stain.
Keep applying until you see the stain slowly disappear. If the stain is extra stubborn, place your fabric in the sun for sunning. the sun reacts with the lemon juice and becomes a natural bleach.
How To Remove Rust Stains From Metal
- Baking Soda
- Potato and Dish Soap
- Citric Acid
- Lemon and Salt
To use the baking soda method when removing rust from metal, rinse the metal item with cold water and dry it off. Sprinkle baking soda all over the rusted metal and leave the item to sit with the baking soda for an hour or more. Grab a steel wool cloth or a scouring pad and scrub the rusty metal after the hour of waiting is up. Rinse off with cold water and make sure to dry it off really well to prevent further rust from appearing. This will take time and a lot of elbow grease, but it can do the trick if done well.
To use the vinegar method, fill a bucket with white vinegar and leave your rusty item in it overnight. If you cannot submerge your item in a bucket of vinegar, wrap vinegar-soaked towels around your item and leave it overnight. You may have to use a scouring pad to brush off the remaining rust off your item the next day, but a lot of the time, the rust should fall right off without any scrubbing.
The crazy-sounding method of potato and dish soap works well on smaller, less prominent rust stains such as kitchen knives or garage tools. Simply cut a potato in half and cover the end of it with dish soap. Use the potato-like a scouring pad on the rust stain and watch the stain disappear like magic. It’s not conventional but it works well, and most people have potatoes and dish soap in their pantries which makes this a practical solution.
You may also try using citric acid to remove your rust stains, especially if they are stubborn ones. Citric acid is sold at many health food stores. Simply add a few tablespoons of citric acid to a bowl of warm water and let your metal, rusty item sit in the bowl overnight. Use a scouring pad or an old cleaning toothbrush to rub off the rust. You shouldn’t require a lot of elbow grease to get the job done.
Just like the potato method, you can use lemon and salt as a great rust removing power team. Simply cut a lemon in half and sprinkle the open end with salt. Rub the lemon onto the rusty metal area and watch the rust fall off. Be sure to rinse well, and pat the metal dry to avoid having to deal with rust on that item again. This method works well, but mostly on stains that aren’t too rough and tough.
How To Remove Rust From Concrete
Minor Rust Stains On Concrete
If you don’t have any paint on your concrete you can clean the surface with soap and water and this will wash away a lot of minor stains on the concrete. Dawn dish soap does wonders for any surface, and it works well on concrete too.
Once you have washed the surface, pour pure lemon juice onto the stain. Try not to use the diluted stuff as that will be less effective. Let the juice sit on the stain for 15 minutes and then use a brush to further remove the stain. Sponges and nylon brushes will not be as effective as wire brushes, but if you are worried about ruining the concrete, then go ahead and try the nylon brush route.
Rinse off your lemon juice and let the area dry. Your rust stain should be completely gone.
Major Rust Stains On Concrete
If your stain is major, then you may need a commercial rust remover that contains oxalic acid or trisodium phosphate. The only issue with these chemicals is that if you leave it on too long, the concrete could turn blue. Mix your commercial cleaner with water if you want to avoid blue concrete.
Be sure to read the safety label and always wear gloves and eye protection as well as long sleeved shirts and pants when dealing with acids. You need to protect your skin.
To use your commercial cleaner, just wash the concrete with soap and water and pour the cleaner onto the stain. Use a wire brush to clean the concrete and rinse it away. Using a pressure washer can help remove the chemical better than a regular hose, but you should always use what you already have.
Follow the proper care instructions and safety precautions that the product label contains to keep you and your family safe from harsh chemicals.
Rust Removal Fun Facts
Dealing with a rust stain can be easy, but the quicker you deal with it, the easier it will be.
whatever solution you use to remove your stain, test an area that is hard to see first to make sure it doesn’t ruin your item.
Cold water is best when rinsing out a stain. Warm water can help the stain set in, and make it harder to remove it later.
Don’t mix cleaning chemicals together as that can trigger a bad chemical reaction and could potentially be dangerous.
Sometimes it’s better to let dry cleaners do the tough job of rust stain removal on clothing, especially if you really want to ensure that the garment does not get ruined.
Always follow products labels when using commercial detergents for stain removal.
Try to refrain from rubbing fabric too rough when trying to remove the stain as this can damage the fabric.
Tips for Preventing Rust
To prevent rust from forming in the first place, you’ll want to ensure that your metal items such as tools and knives are away from moist areas. A lot of people invest in tool chests to ensure their tools stay dry and clean.
Dust can also cause your metal items to rust so it is important to keep proper cleaning procedures in place, usually on a weekly basis is fine, to keep your precious items dust free.
Try to keep your metal items free of any sort of cracks or scratches as those damaged areas tend to grow rust fast because they cannot eliminate water out of their crevices as quick as smooth surfaces.
you can also dip your metal items into a bluing solution of water, sodium hydroxide, and potassium nitrate which will help seal the products and keep them rust free.
Last but not least, you should scrape off the rust at the first sign of its appearance. It is much easier to deal with at the early stages rather than the late stages. Sometimes you may need to apply a new coat of paint to the rusty area to prevent further oxidation.
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