How to remove rust stains from concrete with vinegar


Rust stains on cement can be a common issue for homeowners, especially those who use well water, since it usually contains high levels of iron. These stains are hard to prevent and eventually end up as an eyesore if not removed correctly. Although you might not be able to entirely eliminate stains that have set for years, you can diminish their appearance. Read further to learn how to remove rust stains from concrete with vinegar.

Minor rust stains: Steps on how to remove rust stains from concrete with vinegar

For minor rust stains on concrete, let’s take a look at the steps to remove rust stains from concrete with vinegar.

  • Wash the concrete with water and soap. After cleaning the surface from dirt and debris, allow it to dry.
  • Pour or spritz lemon juice on the stained surface. The high strength of citric acid in pure lemon juice can lift the stain. Let it sit for up to 10 minutes before scrubbing the site with a wire brush.
  • Pour or spritz white vinegar on the site for stubborn stains. Allow the vinegar to soak for several minutes before brushing the area with a wire brush. Rinse the rust away with cold water and repeat if the stain lingers. 
  • Rinse the concrete surface with cool water. 
  • Allow the surface to dry. 

For sensitive or painted surfaces, you can use a sponge and diluted vinegar. 

How to deal with major rust stains

In case you are dealing with major rust stains that cannot be removed with vinegar or lemon juice, it might be time to use the heavy-duty cleaners. 

  • Rinse the concrete and allow it to dry before using any of the heavy-duty cleaners. Don’t forget to wear gloves and eye protection, as well as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Use a cleaner that contains oxalic acid. Sprinkle or spray the cleaner on the stained area. Allow the agent to sit for several minutes. Another option is trisodium phosphate (TSP) that you should mix with hot water. Let this mixture sit on the surface for 15-20 minutes. Scrub the surface with a stiff-bristled nylon brush, ideally in circles to lift the stain. Rinse the site thoroughly.
  • Hydrochloric acid is also an effective agent that can remove rust stains but can cause discoloration if left too long on the concrete. Dilute it with water and let it sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes. Scrub the site and rinse thoroughly with water. 

A pressure washer can be used for hard to reach or tough stains. In case you have a hard time reaching a stain or cannot scrub harder anymore, leave the acid on the stain for up to 10 minutes, and set up the pressure water. The high-powered stream not only rinses away all the acid but also places concentrated force on the stain to lift it away easily.

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How do you get a vinegar stain out of a concrete floor?

Once you see vinegar stains on the concrete floor, you can get rid of them properly. Simply follow these steps:

  • Prepare a solution by mixing washing soda or detergent with warm water.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to scrub the site.
  • Rinse the area thoroughly with water
  • Allow the site to dry.

What can I use to clean concrete?

Concrete surfaces are durable, practical and affordable. With proper care and maintenance, they can stay beautiful for a long time. You can clean the concrete using a few products that you have at home.

  • Remove all furniture from the area you will clean. Use a broom or leaf blower to eliminate any loose debris. Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to dampen the concrete.
  • In a bucket or bowl, pour a cup of baking soda. Steadily add 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. The mixture will foam up but settle if you will mix it slowly. Remember that the consistency should be similar to cream soup – it must be thick enough to stick to the surface, but not too thick to spread. Distribute the mixture over the concrete surface using a sponge mop. 
  • Let the mixture sit on the concrete for up to 30 minutes. Use a nylon-bristled brush to clean the surface. 
  • Wash away the cleaning solution. Spray clean water on any grass or shrubs next to the concrete that might be splattered with the solution. Leave the concrete to air dry before returning any furniture. 

Will WD40 remove rust from concrete?

When you want to remove rust from concrete, another option you can try is WD40 and some effort on your part. It is important to note that WD40 is specially formulated to be a penetrant. Once it is applied or sprayed on a rusted surface, it can work its magic by penetrating deep under the rust so that it can be removed. 

Final thoughts

It is simple to deal with rust stains on concrete. An simple ingredient you can use to effectively remove the stains is none other than vinegar. With the steps discussed on how to remove rust stains from concrete with vinegar, you can readily restore the pristine appearance of your concrete. 

teammichael

Michael René, consultant, is the leading stain removal expert in Denmark. Read about him and the rest of the team here

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