Cleaning Tips: Removing Rust From Concrete

Use these helpful tips and suggestions for removing unsightly rust stains from concrete surfaces such as foundations, patios, sidewalks, driveways, and porches.

Rust stains on concrete are all too common for those having well water. It is near impossible to prevent rust build-up on concrete foundations, driveways, porches, patios, and sidewalks. When watering plants and bushes, the rust builds up over time, and leaves behind unsightly orange marks. These marks can turn a beautiful home into an eyesore.

If well water is the source of the problem, when watering bushes and plants around the foundation and other concrete areas of your home, use a spray nozzle that allows for better control. Although it isn't easy, make every effort to avoid spraying concrete with well water that contains high levels of iron.

Rust stains can also occur on patios, sidewalks, and porches when metal furniture begins to rust. These marks often go unnoticed until furniture is moved. Maintaining a coat of paint on old metal furniture can prevent this problem.

If your metal furniture has begun peeling and rusting, remove as much of the old paint as possible using a wire brush. When refinishing the furniture, apply top-quality metal primer as the base coat, and follow label directions on rust-preventative paint for the topcoat. Not only will your metal furniture look brand new, but also there won't be any future rust stains to worry about.

To remove existing rust stains from concrete there are several methods to try. Lemon juice, which contains acid, is a natural remedy for removing rust stains from concrete and other hard surfaces. Pour or squeeze undiluted lemon juice on rust stains, and let it sit for several minutes. If the stains are on the side of a concrete foundation, put lemon juice in a spray bottle, and spray the rust-covered surface. Use a sturdy bristle brush to scrub the area, and then rinse the lemon juice away along with the stain.

Another natural solution for rust removal is ordinary household vinegar. Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar both contain acid. Use either one to aid in the removal of unsightly rust stains. Either pour or spray undiluted vinegar on the stains, and allow it to set for several minutes. Scrub the area with a sturdy bristle brush, and rinse the vinegar and stains away.

Both vinegar and lemon juice can kill or damage foliage. Use caution when using these products around plants and bushes. After using these products for rust removal, be sure to rinse the area thoroughly with a hose. The vinegar or lemon juice will be diluted, and it should not cause any damage to surrounding bushes or plants.

If your rust problem is a difficult one, you should try using a commercial rust remover containing oxalic acid. It usually comes in powder form, and it is toxic. Follow label directions, and exercise caution when using it around children, pets, and foliage.

Sometimes stains on concrete foundations are caused by exposed metal rebar that has rusted. Rebar is the metal rod that reinforces poured concrete foundations. Many times portions of these metal rods are exposed. When these rods rust, they also become weak. Over time, the rust becomes an eyesore, and the weakening metal rods become a hazard to your foundation. After removing stains on your foundation that are caused by rusted rebar, you should seal the concrete to prevent any further rust or damage. Concrete sealer is available in most home improvement stores, and it is well worth the cost and time involved in application.

Rust on concrete surfaces is a problem for many, but it doesn't have to be a permanent one. Use these solutions and methods to remove and prevent rust, and your concrete will look like it did when it was new.

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