Removing the reddish-brown rust marks from tools, devices, and especially clothes is a tedious task.

At times, people tend to frantically scrub away the stains with abrasive cleaners and steel wool pads but to no avail.

These aggressive methods of cleaning, on the contrary, prove to be more damaging than helpful.


Thus, the key to getting rid of these nasty stains lies in the use of the right procedures and ingredients required for cleaning.

Rust is a common compound called iron oxide that forms when iron combines with oxygen. Therefore, most metal objects, particularly those made of iron and steel (an alloy of iron) are prone to rust, especially when exposed to air and water.

This usually happens due to an electrochemical process of corrosion. Furthermore, factors like exposure to hard water, sea water, and salt water speed up the process of rusting.

Here are a few suggestions to get rid of rust.

Cleaning Rust Stains from Clothing
Removing rust stains from clothes is extremely difficult because they do not dissolve readily in water. Moreover, the rust particles tend to attach themselves firmly on natural fibers.

Nevertheless, you can use the lemon juice and table salt trick to eliminate this problem. You need to saturate the stain in freshly squeezed lemon juice and sprinkle salt over it. Leave the solution on the spot for at least half an hour and then, blot it (do not rub) with a clean white towel.
rust stain cloth1

If the stain is still there, place the lemon and salt treated garment in direct sunlight for half to one hour. Finally, wash the clothing thoroughly, either by hand or in a washing machine.
rust stain cloth2

For stubborn stains, you may use a solution of two liters of hot water and six teaspoons of cream of tartar. Soak the stain in this liquid for a couple of hours. A solution of four cups of water mixed with two teaspoons of ammonia is also considered useful in this regard.

Besides, you can try a fabric-safe rust remover. However, when dealing with rust stains on delicate fabrics such as silk, wool, triacetate, etc., it is better to get the cloth cleaned by a professional cleaner.

Cleaning Rust Stains from Tools
To remove rust spots from tools and equipment, soak the affected area in lemon juice for a few minutes and then wash it. Being acidic, it helps loosen up the rust particles, thereby making it easier to scrub them away.
rust stain knive1

Lemon juice also removes black oxidation marks from silverware. Non-stainless steel items, like nonstainless carbon steel knives, though may get a patina when treated with lemon juice or lime juice.
rust stain knife 2

Besides, you can buff out the stains by scrubbing them with an aluminum or tin foil. For tough stains, apply a mixture of one part of hydrogen peroxide and three parts of cream of tartar on the affected area. Allow it to dry for some time before wiping it off with a damp cloth.

Furthermore, you can soak equipment like garden tools in white vinegar overnight and clean them the next day. Similarly, for rusted screws, nuts, bolts, etc., consider spraying vinegar on them or wrapping them in a rag soaked in vinegar.
rust stain tool3

Some other remedies for removing rust, particularly from stainless steel items include club soda, a mixture of one tablespoon cream of tartar and a few drops of lemon juice, and a combination of lemon juice and baking soda.

Cleaning Rust Stains from Cast Iron Skillet
Remove rust and iron stains from a cast iron skillet by rubbing it with a dishcloth soaked in canola oil.
rust stain skillet2f
If the stain is hard to get rid of, you may use fine-grade sandpaper or a steel wool pad.
rust stain skillet
Finally, re-season the pan by coating it with oil or shortening and then heating it at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-60 minutes.

Cleaning Rust Stains from Your Sink
To clean rust stains from a stainless steel sink, you can use rubbing alcohol. Soak a piece of soft, cleaning cloth or sponge in rubbing alcohol and rub it on the rust marks to make them disappear.
rust stain sink

Besides, you may use white vinegar, too, as it can remove the rust marks and water spots. Plus, it can make your sink bright and shiny.

Cleaning Rust Stains from Tiles
Clean rust stains from ceramic tiles and porcelain fixtures by applying a paste of equal parts of lemon juice and borax on the affected area and letting it dry before rinsing it off.
rust stain tiles

Another remedy involves applying lemon juice on the stain for about five minutes and then scrubbing it off with an old toothbrush. To make this procedure more effective, sprinkle some salt on the lemon juice and then rub.

Moreover, you can scrub the stains gently with a pumice stone. In case of linoleum flooring and tiles, you may remove the stain with rubbing alcohol or a paste of one tablespoon cream of tartar and two tablespoons water.

Alternately,  sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and rub it with a rag soaked in vinegar.

Cleaning Rust Stains from Concrete
Application of lemon juice or white vinegar, followed by scrubbing with a hard bristle brush can help remove iron stains from concrete. Plus, you may use muriatic acid or commercial rust removers (containing oxalic acid).
rust stain concrete

Moreover, you can remove tough rust stains from granite, brick, or concrete surface using a poultice prepared from seven parts of glycerin (lime-free), six parts of warm water, one part of sodium citrate, and sufficient powdered chalk (calcium carbonate) to form a thick paste.

Spread it on the rust stain and allow it to harden before washing it off. If it is difficult to remove then try to scrape it off with a wooden scraper.

Additional Tips

  • To prevent rust stains on knives, coat them in olive oil or clove oil before storing them. Depending on the types of tools and devices you have, you can also consider getting a coat of paint or polymer on metal objects as a protective barrier to keep the metals from reacting with moisture and oxygen in the environment.
  • Clothing plagued with rust spots should not be washed with hot water or put in a dryer as it is likely to set the stain. Plus, do not try to remove the stains with chlorine bleach; it shall oxidize the rust further and hence, intensify the discoloration.
  • To avoid rust marks on your sink, do not leave rubber mats or wet sponges in your kitchen and bathroom sinks.
  • When using harsh chemicals to remove iron stains, make sure you wear your household plastic gloves.