How do I get Rid of Rust Stains?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2018
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Just about everyone has dealt with rust stains on clothing or upholstery at some point. Fortunately, there are several home remedies that are effective in removing the stains, making it possible to restore the appearance of the material. Most of these remedies use household items that are found in most pantries and storage areas around the home. Citric acid, vinegar, baking soda, and cream of tartar may all help remove rust stains.

One way to remove stains caused by rust is to use citric acid. Keep in mind that the concentration of the acid must be somewhat high, so you may want to look for a cleaner that contains citric acid as a main ingredient. Most supermarkets and pharmacies will have at least a few household cleaners that contain this ingredient.

In order to test for colorfastness on the garment, apply the product to an inconspicuous place, such as a shirttail. If the citric acid does not cause the color to fade, apply some of the product to the stains, allowing it to set for a moment, then use a dry cloth to pat the area dry. Repeat until the rust is lifted.


An alternative is to use white vinegar, since its acidic content can lift rust stains with relative ease. Moisten a cotton ball with the vinegar and dab the stain, being careful to not rub it into the fabric. As you dab the stains, you will notice the rust transferring to the cotton. When most of the rust is gone, rinse the area thoroughly. If you see any remnants, repeat the process.

Another home remedy for treating rust stains involves combining white vinegar with baking soda. This approach is sometimes helpful when the stain has set for some time. Apply a liberal amount of baking soda to the rust, then use an eyedropper to slowly add vinegar. The combination will begin to foam. Using a clean damp cloth, begin to gently but firmly dab the area until the rust is lifted.

Cream of tartar can also help remove rust from clothing. Mix the product with a small amount of water, creating a paste, apply it liberally to the stain, and allow it to set for a few moments. Using damp washcloth or sponge, gently rub the stained area, then rinse with clear water. The stain should be lifted after one or two applications.

Keep in mind that rust stains will not come out of some types of fabric, especially the more delicate fiber blends. When you suspect this may be the case, it is better to take the garment to a professional cleaning service. Attempting to remove rust from fine clothing using home remedies is likely to ruin any chances you may have of salvaging the garment.

It is important to wash and dry the fabric after using any type of stain removal product. For upholstery, use a clean dry cloth to soak up any remaining moisture, then vacuum the area where the stain was.


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Post 8

I used to have problems getting rust stains out of the toilet. I finally found a product at the supermarket that comes in a bright green bottle. The active ingredient in this is phosphoric acid.

If the rust ring is really stubborn it may take a bit of scrubbing and I usually let it soak for awhile first, but it gets the job done. I know there are several home remedies telling you how to get rid of rust stains, but this one worked for me.

This product works especially well if you are trying to clean a toilet that hasn't been used for awhile. The rust is actually lime deposits from the hard water, and most of your regular toilet bowl cleaners won't get this out.

Post 7

I have had the best results getting rust stains out of clothing using a combination of white vinegar and baking soda. The vinegar will do a fairly good job by itself, but by combining it with the baking soda, it is like super charging the vinegar.

It is amazing all the different uses you can use baking soda for other than baking. I will use it when I wash my light colored clothes to give an extra boost to my regular laundry detergent.

This home remedy has saved more than one item of clothing for me. When I first started using this I would spot test on an inconspicuous area first. I don't even do that any more because it has always worked for me without doing any damage to the clothing.

Post 6

I found that soaking silverware in a glass with some water and lemon juice gets rid of the rust stains I get on my silverware. I am sure there are rust stain remover products someone can buy specifically for this purpose, but it is a lot cheaper to use some lemon juice.

There are a lot of home remedies like this that really work and can save you money. Most of the time something like this can be taken care of with something you already have on hand so it doesn't cost you a thing.

Post 5

@anon66185-- I use any kind of wire cleaning pad to get rust off of glass. If the rust is in a hard to reach spot, I will use an old toothbrush and try to scrub the spot with the toothbrush and SOS pad at the same time. This has always done the trick for me.

Post 3

Brillo has always worked for me.

Post 2

How do I get rust off the neck of a glass jar?

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