How to Remove Rust from Concrete: 10 Best Ways

How to Remove Rust from Concrete: 10 Best Ways

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If you got some rust stains on your concrete driveway, patio, or garage floor, you probably want to remove those stains. After all, they certainly don’t look very nice. That said, removing rust from concrete can be difficult, but thankfully there are quite a few ways of doing so.

Today, we want to take a look at the ten best ways to remove rust from concrete. Yes, there are many products or substances that will work for this purpose, but which one you use will depend on various circumstances.

How to Remove Rust From Concrete: 10 Best Ways

Right now, we want to take a look at the 10 best ways to remove rust stains from concrete, using both regular household substances and more specialized products.

1. Using CLR

CLR One of the best ways to remove rust stains from concrete is by using CLR, otherwise known as Calcium Lime Rust. This is a specialized cleaning product designed to dissolve and remove the three substances indicated in its name. The acids contained in CLR are very effective at dissolving and removing rust from a variety of surfaces, and yes, it is safe to use on concrete.

Moreover, this product is safer than some of the much harsher chemicals out there. However, you do want to spot test it first, as it may stain concrete, and it also shouldn’t be used on tinted, sealed, coated, stamped, or colored concrete. Additionally, this substance should not be used on concrete that is less than one year old.

To learn more about how to remove rust from concrete using CLR, read this article.

2. Using WD-40

WD-40 Specialist Rust Remover WD-40 is another option at your disposal, a very common product designed primarily for lubrication and rust prevention, although it can also remove small quantities of existing rust.

Just beware that WD-40 is a lubricant that contains petroleum, so it is greasy, which means that you will need a degreaser to remove this substance from the concrete once the rust has been removed.

If you want a stronger version, go for WD-40 Specialist Rust Remover, a product designed specifically to remove rust. Also, be aware that this product is certainly not the most eco-friendly around, mainly because of all that petroleum it contains.

To learn more about how to remove rust from concrete using WD-40, read this article.

3. Using Muriatic Acid

Muriatic Acid If you need something super powerful that will be able to dissolve and remove virtually all rust stains, no matter how large or severe, muriatic acid may be a good option to consider. This substance is very strong, so it will make quick work out of rust no matter the situation.

That said, this acid is also very dangerous. It can cause severe chemical burns to the skin, and damage the eyes and other mucus membranes, and should also not be inhaled, as it can cause respiratory damage too. You’ll also need to dilute this muriatic acid with ten parts water for every one part acid.

However, this solution will take just ten minutes to dissolve rust, although if you let it sit for longer, it may stain the concrete. You’ll also need to use some baking soda to neutralize the acid once the rust has been removed.

To learn more about how to remove rust from concrete using muriatic acid, read this article.

4. Using a Pressure Washer

Pressure Washer If the rust stains on your concrete are not too severe, you may be able to remove them with some pressure washing. Now, the benefit of this method is of course that it is safe and eco-friendly, as no harsh chemicals are needed.

Moreover, if you already happen to have a pressure washer, then this method is also very cost-effective, as you’ll just be paying for the water you use. That said, we wouldn’t recommend buying a whole new pressure washer if this is the only purpose you plan on using it for, as that certainly wouldn’t be very financially wise.

Although pressure washing will do fine for most circumstances, if the rust stains are deep and severe, you may want to pretreat them using any of the other methods being discussed here today.

To learn more about how to remove rust from concrete using pressure washer, read this article.

5. Using Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice If the rust stains aren’t too severe, you can always try using some lemon juice to dissolve them. Remember, acid is what you need to dissolve and remove rust, and yes, lemon juice contains plenty of acid.

Now, citric acid obviously isn’t the strongest solution out there, so this method is only ideal for minor rust stains on concrete.

That said, lemon juice is totally safe to use around pets and kids, it’s eco-friendly, and cheap too. However, this is probably one of the least effective methods on the list today when compared to the others we’ve talked about so far.

6. Using Vinegar

Vinegar Along with the lemon juice mentioned above, white vinegar is another great option that is environmentally friendly, as well as safe to use around kids and pets.

The acid contained in vinegar is substantially stronger than the acid contained in lemon juice, so if lemon juice fails you, and you don’t want to go out and spend a ton of cash on a professional product, then vinegar is your next best option.

That said, just like with lemon juice, this method isn’t all that powerful, at least not when compared to some of the other products or substances featured here today. It’s fine for small and light rust spots, but nothing too heavy.

7. Using Baking Soda and Laundry Detergent

Baking Soda If you want to use items that you probably have around the house already, then using a combination of baking soda and laundry detergent is always an option to consider.

Here, you’re going to make a thick paste out of these two substances. Next, apply it to the affected area, let it sit for about an hour, and spray it with water about every ten minutes to stop it from drying out. After an hour, use a brush to scrub, then rinse it all away.

The baking soda will dissolve the rust and the laundry detergent will absorb it. Now, this method is also only ideal for lightweight stains, but these substances are both fairly eco-friendly, affordable, and safe to use around pets and kids.

8. Using Coca-Cola

Coca Cola You might not think that something as simple as a can of soda could effectively dissolve and remove rust from concrete, but it does actually work. Remember, you need acid to dissolve rust, and yes, Coca-Cola, and various other types of soda, all contain great amounts of it. You can always try pouring a few cans of soda onto the rust stain, let it sit for about an hour, and then try scrubbing it all off.

It’s not the most powerful option around, so it’s best used for light stains, but it is a cost-effective and safe method to try. All of that said, if Coke is strong enough to dissolve rust on concrete, just imagine what that sugary acid water is doing to your insides. It really makes you think twice about enjoying a nice refreshing beverage.

9. Using Oxalic Acid

Oxalic Acid If you want to go with a classic and proven method for removing rust stains from concrete, then oxalic acid is the way to go. Now, this substance is not very cheap, and it can be hard to find as well. You might be able to find it in paint or home improvement stores.

Although it’s more expensive, this method is very effective. This is a super powerful acid that will dissolve rust in just five minutes. Just make sure that you don’t let the area dry before the rust has been removed.

It’s generally safe to use on all types of concrete without fear of staining, but beware that this is a powerful substance. Make sure to use acid-resistant containers and to wear adequate protective gear, especially as far as your eyes and skin are concerned.

10. Using Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) The tenth and final method for removing rust from concrete is by using trisodium phosphate, which funny enough is commonly used as a food additive. However, it can also be found at home improvement stores and may be used for cleaning a variety of surfaces before painting.

Yes, it is quite strong and is more than able to dissolve and remove rust from concrete. You only need a half cup of it mixed with a gallon of hot water. Pour this mixture on the affected area, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then scrub and rinse. Although it’s not overly cheap, it does work well and should be safe for all types of concrete.

What Is the Best Way to Get Rust Off Concrete?

If you are looking for the most effective ways to remove rust stains from concrete, using muriatic acid, trisodium phosphate, and CLR will all work the best. The stronger the acid or substance, the better the result will be.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Let’s go over a few tricks to make this process as successful as possible:

  • Always wear rubber gloves and eye protection when working with any of these substances.
  • When using strong acids, be sure to neutralize them with baking soda when you are done.
  • If you are using weak acids, such as vinegar, lemon juice, or Coca-Cola, the quantity you use will play a role.
  • While there might be other methods than the above, bleach will not remove rust from concrete.


There you have it folks, the ten best ways to remove rust stains from concrete. Which of the above methods you choose will depend on the severity of the rust stains and how much money you are willing to spend to get that concrete looking like new.

Before leaving, you might also want to learn about how to remove paint from concrete.