Will a Pressure Washer Remove Rust from Concrete? (Yes & Here’s How)

Will a Pressure Washer Remove Rust from Concrete? (Yes & Here’s How)

Handyman's World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

There’s nothing worse than leaving a bunch of metal sitting on your concrete for too long, just to move it and realize that it has caused a massive rust stain on your driveway, walkway, or garage floor.

If you are at a loss as to how to remove that rust stain, you might want to try using a pressure washer.

A pressure washer may be able to remove rust stains from concrete on its own, and if not, then it certainly will with the assistance of a rust remover. Let’s determine how to remove rust from concrete by pressure washing.

What Is a Pressure Washer and Will It Remove Rust Stains From Concrete?

A pressure washer is a special type of cleaning tool that utilizes high-pressure streams of water to physically blast away dirt, debris, and stains from a wide variety of surfaces.

A pressure washer features a water inlet for your garden hose, combined with a pump and a holding tank where pressure is built up, and a hose and nozzle at the front through which that high-pressure stream of water comes out at several thousand PSI.

In other words, although we are talking about nothing more than pressurized water, that physical force is often more than enough to remove light rust stains from concrete.

Now, do keep in mind that if the rust stains are very severe, pressure washing alone might not be enough, in which case you may want to do a preemptive strike using one of many substances or professional products that have the ability to penetrate, loosen, and remove rust.

Is Using a Pressure Washer the Best Way to Remove Rust from Concrete?

If you are looking for a fast and easy way to remove rust from concrete without having to perform any physical labor, such as scrubbing, then yes, using a pressure washer is more than ideal. It makes quick work out of rust stains on concrete, especially if the stains are fairly light.

If you already happen to own a pressure washer, then it’s also cost-effective, because, besides the water that you are using for pressure washing, you won’t really need to spend any money. Of course, using nothing but water to remove rust is also non-toxic and eco-friendly.

With all of that being said, if the rust stains are super heavy and deep, then a stream of pressurized water might not be enough. If this is the case, using baking soda with laundry detergent, vinegar and lemon juice, CLR, WD-40, special concrete rust remover, or various other acids may be necessary. You can always combine pressure washing with a rust remover for the best results.

You might also want to read my article about how to remove rust from concrete which dives into details on some of the other methods.

Pros of Using a Pressure Washer for Removing Rust From Concrete

Let’s take a look at why using a pressure washer for removing rust stains from concrete is a good idea.

1. It’s Safe and Eco-Friendly

Seeing as you are using nothing more than water to clean the rust from the concrete, it’s totally non-toxic, safe for people, plants, and pets, and is totally eco-friendly too. You really can’t get more eco-friendly than using just water for cleaning. You don’t have to worry about hurting the environment by using toxic rust-removing chemicals.

2. It Works in Most Cases

One of the best things about using a pressure washer to remove rust from concrete is that it should work just fine in the vast majority of cases. Unless the rust buildup on the concrete is extremely severe, the pressure washer should be able to remove it without issue.

3. It’s Cost-Effective

Okay, so yes, you do need to have a pressure washer to perform this task, but if you already have one, you won’t have to spend any money on cleaning chemicals. As long as you maintain your pressure washer, besides the water cost, you don’t have to pay anything to keep using it.

4. No Physical Labor Required

The other big benefit here is that you just have to point and shoot with the pressure washer. You generally don’t have to do any scrubbing or perform physical labor of any kind.

Cons of Using a Pressure Washer for Removing Rust From Concrete

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why using a pressure washer for removing rust from concrete might not be the best option.

1. You May Require Rust Remover

If the rust buildup is very heavy, pressure washing alone might not be enough. If this is the case, you’ll need some kind of rust remover to loosen things up before going at it with the pressure washer.

2. You Need a Pressure Washer

Of course, you will need a pressure washer to perform this task. These can easily cost several hundred dollars for the initial purchase, although it is a good long-term investment, a tool that can be used for more than just cleaning concrete.

3. It Requires a Lot of Water

If you are worried about wasting water, then pressure washing may not be the best option, as it does use a lot of water.

4. It May Damage Concrete

If your concrete is already crumbling a little bit, then that high-pressure water may further damage the concrete.

How to Remove Rust From Concrete with a Pressure Washer

Let’s quickly talk about how to remove rust from concrete with a pressure washer.

Step 1: Pre-Treat (Optional)

If the rust stain is very severe, to make life easier, you may want to pre-treat it using a rust-removing substance. CLR, WD-40, baking soda and laundry detergent, vinegar and lemon juice, and oxalic acid all make good options.

Step 2: Prepare the Pressure Washer

Hook your pressure washer up to the water connection, set the nozzle to the highest pressure you can, and make sure everything is in working order.

Step 3: Wash The Concrete

Hold the spray nozzle at a 45-degree angle to the concrete and proceed to wash it using that pressurized water until all rust has been removed.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Let’s go over some quick tips to help make this process easier for you.

  • Don’t hold the nozzle vertically, as you will end up soaking your own feet with water.
  • If there is a gradient, work downhill so that the water flows away from you.
  • Using hot water as opposed to cold water will work better.

Summary

You should now know exactly how to use a pressure washer to remove rust from concrete. Just remember that you might need to pre-treat the affected area first.