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How to Remove Old and New Rust Stains From Concrete

Reviewed by Professional Cleaner Jennifer L. Betts
Rusty stain on concrete wall

Knowing how to remove rust stains from concrete can save you time and money. Explore each way to remove old and new rust on your driveway or patio before deciding which one to use.

What Removes Rust Stains From Concrete?

Special commerical cleaners are typically used to get rid of rust stains. You can learn how to remove rust stains from concrete with these products. These applications are specifically formulated just for removing concrete rust stains. However, for old rust stains, you may want to try natural products such as white vinegar and/or lemon juice.

How to Use White Vinegar and Lemon Juice to Remove Rust

Natural products are safer to use than harsh chemical products. You can use either vinegar or lemon juice to provide an acidic reaction that can dissolve rust. For a stubborn rust stain, you can combine white vinegar and lemon juice. If you opt to combine the two liquids, do so on a 1:1 ratio for best results. Do not dilute.

Supplies needed include:

  • White vinegar and/or lemon juice
  • Water for rinsing
  • Hard-bristle brush
Vinegar and lemon juice by brush

Steps for removing rust on concrete:

  1. Pour the lemon juice and/or white vinegar directly onto the stain.
  2. If combining both liquids, use a 1:1 ratio.
  3. Leave the solution on the concrete from 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Vigorously brush the rust stain with the hard-bristle brush.
  5. Rinse the area with clean, cold water.
  6. Repeat process if necessary.

Will Baking Soda Remove Rust From Concrete?

Some people have great results using baking soda mixed with laundry detergent for removing rust stains from concrete. Use a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and laundry detergent.

Supplies you'll need include:

  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Water enough to create paste
  • Large spoon for mixing
  • Paint brush
  • Hard bristle brush
Baking soda by brush

Steps for removing rust on concrete:

  1. Fill the spray bottle with water.
  2. Mix baking soda and laundry detergent in a 1:1 ratio.
  3. Add enough cold water to create a paste consistency.
  4. Stir dry ingredients and water together to form a paste.
  5. Use a paint brush to spread the paste mixture over the rust stain.
  6. Completely cover the rust stain with the paste mixture.
  7. Leave the paste on the rust stain for approximately one hour.
  8. Keep the paste moist by spraying with water to prevent the paste for hardening.
  9. After an hour, add water to the paste and scrub vigorously with the stiff-bristle brush.
  10. Rinse with water and repeat if necessary.

Will WD 40 Remove Rust From Concrete?

According to the WD 40 website, WD 40 removes rust from concrete. Others have touted WD-40 Specialist Rust Remover Soak also as a successful treatment for concrete rust removal. This WD 40 product is formulated to remove rust from metal, specifically tools. However, it won't hurt your concrete if you already have a can and wish to try it.

Spraying WD 40 on rust

Will CLR Remove Rust From Concrete?

Products like CLR® Calcium, Lime, & Rust Remover don't contain phosphates. This and similar products are considered safer chemical choices by the EPA. CLR and similar products can be used to remove rust on concrete. However, be wary of using this method on colored concrete. Spot test an area first with straight product to ensure their isn't any issues. You can then spray the product on and leave it for several hours before rinsing.

rust stain on a garage floor

Will Bleach or Pressure Washing Remove Rust From Concrete?

Two things people often ask if they will remove rust from concrete are bleach and pressure washing. Neither of these cleaning methods is powerful enough to remove the rust stain.

Cleaning with power pressure system

Best Concrete Rust Remover for Older Stains

Older rust stains have set in the concrete, unlike newer stains. For this type of stain, you need a more powerful acid than you can get with white vinegar and lemon juice. A commercial rust remover will lift stubborn rust stains in concrete and is what most professional cleaners use. You may want to try products like, RustAid or Krud Kutter.

Commercial Rust Removal Treatment

You want to follow the manufacturer's directions that usually require leaving the rust removal solution on the stain between 15 to 30 minutes. After the treatment, you'll use a hose to wash away the residue. For deeper and more stubborn rust stains, you may need to repeat the process.

Protection Necessary When Using Chemical Cleaners

Wear protective gear before undertaking any chemical treatment to remove rust stains. Some chemical fumes are so powerful they are toxic if inhaled. You also need appropriate protection for your eyes and hands. Most commercial chemical cleaner manufacturers advise against using in closed areas. Make sure you read all of the manufacturer's directions before undertaking any project.

Effective Ways to Remove Rust Stains From Concrete

There are several effective methods for removing rust stains from concrete. You can try the one that best fits your personal cleaning style.

How to Remove Old and New Rust Stains From Concrete