How to Remove Rust Stains from Concrete

Posted by
John Woodard on April 19, 2024

If you have ever witnessed unsightly brown stains on a deck, fence, slab of concrete, vinyl siding, or other outdoor surface, you know the effects rusting can have on the beauty of a home. While rusting is a natural process, there are multiple methods to remove rust stains from a home and preventing them from popping up in the future. In this article, you can learn about why concrete rusts, how to remove rust stains from your home’s concrete, and how to prevent rust stains in the future.

What causes rust stains on concrete?

Rust builds up on surfaces when the iron inside them is exposed to moisture. When patio furniture, tools, or other metallic objects are left on concrete with no sealer, the metal from these items can seep into the concrete’s pores, causing a stain when exposed to the elements. When iron-rich water from a lawn irrigation system contacts concrete and other surfaces, it can cause rust stains to form over time. These stains seeps deep into the concrete, making them can be difficult to clean once the stain sets in. This highlights the importance of quality concrete sealant, eliminating the risk of metals seeping into the pores. It also stresses the importance of treating the water used in your sprinkler system.

Learn more: How to remove iron from well water

home sprinkler system

What is the best concrete rust cleaner?

Rid O’ Rust® Stain Remover by American Hydro is an excellent rust stain remover for exterior surfaces. To remove rust from concrete or other outside areas, simply add the product to a trigger or pump sprayer and spray over the stained area. Once the area has been properly covered, rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water. Rid O’ Rust® Stain Remover works on a wide variety of exterior surfaces, including concrete, decks, fences, vinyl siding, and bricks. No matter the cause or severity of rust buildup outside your home, this stain remover will restore color and cleanliness to your exterior surfaces.

Does soap remove rust stains?

Common household soaps, such as dish soap, may be able to combat small rust stains, but they are far less effective than commercial rust stain removers. Before applying a rust stain remover, you can scrub the area with soap and water to ensure proper absorption, but the soap itself will not be effective on moderate to severe stains. Common DIY methods to removing rust stains include lemon juice and white vinegar, but they are also not as effective as commercial rust cleaner.

How to remove rust stains from concrete

To effectively remove rust stains from concrete, you will need a rust stain remover, a pump or trigger sprayer, and a hose attached to a water outlet. The below steps apply to the Rid O’ Rust® Stain Remover. Instructions for other cleaners may differ.

  1. Add the rust stain remover to your sprayer. Rid O’ Rust® Stain Remover is a ready-to-use formula that does not require diluting.
  2. Spray a small area to test. If the stain remover is effective in this small area, continue to the next step.
  3. Cover the entire stained area. Coat the entire area generously until the rust stains disappear. No scrubbing is required.
  4. Rinse thoroughly. Do not let the stain preventer air dry.
  5. Take steps to prevent future rust stains. For more information on preventing rust stains, continue reading below.

How to prevent rust stains in concrete

If you have already dealt with the rust stains plaguing your concrete, you can protect the surface from future rust stains by adding a rust preventer, applying fresh sealant, or removing metallic objects from the concrete.

Add a rust preventer

A rust preventer, such as Rid O’ Rust® Rust Preventer, treats your exterior surfaces via your home’s irrigation system. To find the correct amount of rust preventer to use, you must first know the iron levels in your water. From there, follow the dosage chart on the bottle to fill the sprinkler system’s tank with the appropriate ratios of rust preventer and water. Rust preventers neutralize iron in water, even the high levels of iron found in well water. Rid O’ Rust® Rust Preventer is also safe for animals, plants, and humans when used as directed. Utilizing a rust preventer alongside a proper concrete sealant ensures that your concrete is protected from all kinds of elements, not just rust.

Apply fresh sealant

Rust stains stem from the metal in patio furniture, tools, or other objects seeping into the concrete’s pores. Sealant covers these pores, effectively preventing foreign materials from infiltrating the concrete. Not only does sealant protect from rust stains, but it also protects concrete from damage caused by water, salt, oil, UV rays, and other elements. In cold areas, water is particularly harmful to concrete as it seeps down. When water inside the concrete expands, it can cause cracks and structural damage.

How long does concrete sealant last?

Concrete sealant can last anywhere from 5 years to the lifespan on the concrete. The type of sealer used determines how long it will last. Below are the typical lifespans of common concrete sealer types.

  • Acrylic – 1-3 years
  • Epoxy – 5-10 years
  • Urethane – 5-10 years
  • Silicate – 10 years to lifetime of concrete

Penetrating silicate sealers form a chemical bond with concrete. As a result, the seal can last as long as the concrete. In some cases, the substrate surface breaks down, compromising the seal. The sealer can then be reapplied and will last an additional 10+ years.

Remove metallic objects

While sealing is the most effective way to prevent rust stains from blemishing your concrete surfaces, you can remove metallic objects from your concrete to prevent rust stains as well. This is particularly important in the moments leading up to applying sealant to your concrete. You should avoid placing metal on your concrete between the time of removing rust stains and the time of sealing.


If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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