How to Clean Rust Stains off Concrete

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How to clean rust stains off concreteCleaning rust stains off concrete isn’t that hard. Most of the time those reddish-brown spots on your driveways, porches, patios, and other concrete surfaces can be removed with cleaners you can find at home, such as vinegar and lemon juice. This said, occasionally you will run into stains that are so stubborn that you will need professional assistance.

However, before we get to the cleaning part, let’s clear a few terms. Rust is different from rust stains.

Rust vs. Rust Stains

Rust vs. Rust stains

That reddish-brown layer hiding your concrete floor is rust. It’s a slim layer, barely a few millimeters thick. Luckily, it is not even glued to your concrete floor. You can clean rust off your concrete rather quickly and effectively with a simple scrubber.

Scrub the area, collect the debris, and throw them in a dustbin. Rust will be history after this simple process.

But if rust had been sitting on your concrete for a long time, more likely than not it will leave a mark behind; not a pretty sight, especially if your flooring is new or if you are planning to sell your home.

To make matters worse, rust stains are more difficult to get rid of that rust. You need chemicals, readily available at your home or not, and sometimes expert assistance. That’s not always easy. And that brings us to the first method to keep your concrete free of rust stains.

Prevent Stains from OccurringConcrete cleaning

Rust stains can appear on your concrete for several possible reasons. A lot of the time, it is iron sulfide particles that are at fault. But it is not the only reason.

What Causes Rust Stains on Concrete?

1. Reinforced Bars

Loose iron or steel particles can prove troublesome. Or, reinforcing bars close to a concrete surface can leave behind marks of their presence. The latter scenario becomes more likely when the bars are not protected against corrosion. Incorrectly positioned reinforced bars can be a source, and so do bars that often come in contact with water and concrete.

2. Water Flow

Your concrete patio, driveway, or porch can develop rust stains if it comes in frequent contact with water flowing out of natural stone, or water rich in minerals. The minerals can accumulate, get oxidized, and turn reddish-brown.

3. Abandoned Furniture

A radiator leak or a metal tool that was left out in the rain are perfect ingredients. If left in contact with concrete, they can cause discoloration.

How Can You Prevent Rust Stains?

1. Bars

Positioning the bars at least a few inches away from concrete, polishing them with the erosion-resistant material, and seeing to it that water does not come into frequent contact with the bars will prove handy.

2. Water

Some regions in the U.S. have naturally high concentrations of metal in them. If that is the situation you find yourself in, you can negate the harmful effects of excessive metal by saturating your water with baking soda, or another chemical base with a high pH value.

3. Furniture

Keep your patio clean. Remove all metal tools, especially the wet ones, as soon as you notice them.

Try Rust Stain Cleaners

This subject alone deserves a blog of its own. There are so many options available in any supermarket that you will be hard-pressed to decide which one to choose. Some cleaners, like those containing trisodium phosphate or oxalic acid, are effective. But they are so powerful that you will need to cover yourself before using them; the fumes are toxic. It’s virtually impossible to use them in enclosed spaces, and when you have pets or children around.

Other chemical cleaners are safe to use, but they happen to be low on force. Even with the most advanced scrubbing brush, they will fail to clean rust. Essentially, you will be wasting time and money on them.

Do your research, or speak to a plumber, before buying a chemical cleaner.

Hire an Expert

Safe wash assurance santa cruz ca

For rust stains on concrete, that refuse to go away, no matter what you do, consult the experts from Pacific Exterior.

They provide immediate results that last many times longer than traditional cleaning methods, and will not damage your property.

With pressure washing that does not damage your concrete, the experts at Pacific Exterior can eradicate rust stains rather quickly. Calling them is especially handy if you are a commercial organization. They will remove the rust stains from concrete without obstructing your day-to-day operations.

Residential property owners love them because they do their job quickly, and the results are far superior to anything a typical homeowner can do themselves.


The best way to clean rust off concrete is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. In case that has already happened, you can try removing them with natural or chemical cleaners. And for those who just want the rust stains off their concrete quickly, hiring an expert from Pacific Exterior is the best option.

Published: Sep 29, 2017

Updated: July 25, 2022

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Avatar for Eric Schnaible

Eric Schnaible

As a passionate Entrepreneur and Innovator, I have over 18 years of hands-on experience as a Commercial and Residential Building Contractor leading operations at E.S.Builders and Pacific Exterior.

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